Mixology Monday Roundup: Tiki!


Well, Mixology Monday LXIV is in the books. I happily hijacked it this time around in search of more content for of my annual Tiki blog-a-palooza, and boy did the internet deliver. There were 35 blog posts, with five more contributions over on the eGullet forums as well. I asked for more than just drinks, and got some molecular mixology, some food, some garnish, vessels, and some good old Tiki memories. But mostly, as it should be, I got drinks. There were classics, riffs on classics, and originals. As for contributors, the usual suspects were in, as well as a raft of new and up and coming bloggers. A few old silverbacks even reared up on their hind legs and let their Tiki roar.

Without further ado, here we go!

I’m going to lead with Rowley’s Whiskey Forge, because his post on Jellied Mai Tais made me call my wife to tell her to pick up Knox gelatin right that moment. I wonder what Don and Vic would have thought of molecular mixology. My suspicion is that they both would have secretly hated it, but would both also have become masters of it, each claiming they invented it.

There was a strong international contingent this time around, as probing the appeal of Tiki transcends all boundaries. We all love our pagan Polynesian citrus-rum-spice-everything-else goodness.

Danish blogger Andrea writes three blogs, a food blog and a cocktail blog in Danish, and Gin Hound in English. It is there that she forgoes her love of gin to craft the herbal school original offering, Weeping Ukulele.


Louis-Florian Tatsuhito is a Franco-japanese musician and sound artist who is documenting his cocktail explorations at Le Trou d’Argent. He offers us a passionfruit treat that certainly fills the faux-Polynesian bill, but also couldn’t be more, um, French/Japanese if he tried: 膣 : Vagina.


Polish cocktail blogger, Tarasco Bar first rolls out the classic Blue Hawaiian, then fiddles with the color (and flavor) balance to produce a tarter and more even-sounding version, the Red Hawaiian. He blogs in Polish, but always provides an English translation that is annoyingly better written than lots of English language blogs of all sorts.


Speaking of “furriners” who write English better than they have any right to, my Tiki idol Tiare, of A Mountain of Crushed Ice, brings us two drinks. The the first is a Beachbum Berry drink, the Tiki Revival. It is presented in the flat-out awesome Tiki mug you see above. She follows it up with the muskily delicious sounding coffee-based original she calls the Tiki Torch.


François Monti, of the french-language blog Bottoms Up, discusses the Molokai Mule, one of the better examples of later, juice-heavy Tiki recipes. (A Google translation, with some charm all its own can be read here.)


My good buddy Tony Harion of Mixing Bar in Brazil begins with a discussion of Brazil’s belated warming to the Tiki phenomenon. He then focuses on the greatest of Tiki drinks, the Mai Tai (sorry, Zombie guys), while engaging in some magnificent Rule 2. He then does what all Tiki-philes eventually do, and riffs on said Mai Tai, offering up the Uai Tai, a Mai Tai with some Cachaça. You can also read his post in the original Portuguese.

Next up, we have three Canadian posts. Here is where I would on principle make some joke about how they are really Americans and not foreign at all, but the Canadians have heard it all already, most Americans don’t realize that it’s a joke, and other international types think we are both weird anyway. So here we go.

Bitter monger Janice Mansfield of House Spirits (the company and the blog) had her own festival similar to Tiki Month in January. She pledged to drink Fernet Branca every day. This worked out so well that she has carried the spirit into Mixology Monday. She takes some of her acquired Fernet wisdom and produces The Misfits, an herbal-school Tiki original that I’m sure Don the Beachcomber would have appreciated.


Mackenzie Wheeler of The Spirit of Imbibing produced the delicious looking and sounding Terror on the High Seas. This one uses one of the more delicious but pain-in-the-ass ingredients for home mixology, Port.

My buddy Dagreb of Nihil Utopia is on the wagon or something. (Is there anything sadder than a booze-blogger taking the Cure?) The upside for us is that after a round of his own Rule 2, he offers up some Tiki tots for the Designated Driver or those who need to extend their stay a bit before driving home. Pictured above is the Jamaique Fleur Café, and he follows that with the Falooklyn, a… I dunno what it is. Read about it.

Back to America The United States (Happy, Canadians?), homeland of Tiki (and cocktails over all, for that matter). Specifically, we head to South Florida, where something must be in the water, or maybe the rum, because both entrants from that region work on the same Tiki icon: The hollowed out pineapple drinking vessel. {Flips a coin}

Joe Garcia of Basic Civilization does the Chief Lapu Lapu as his offering. He intros it with an amusing take on the history behind the name (Spoiler: Magellan dies), and natters on upon his usual hobby horse of buying everything on eBay. (Gimme a break, Joe. I’m Episcopalian. There are fewer of us every day, but somebody’s gotta pay retail.) After that he goes step by step in making both the vessel and the drink.


The Atomic Grog blog’s Hurricane Hayward also namechecks the cranky old Polynesian chief who told Magellan to “get off my lawn” as intro to his hollowed out pineapple. Both use the same tool, but Hurricane uses the top as a lid, then offers us to other classic recipes for pineapple potation: The Pineapple Paradise and the Pineapple Surprise.

Guys, I’ll indulge myself in a little flashback to Tiki Month 2010, when I posted this about Ohio bartender Zak Renzetti-Voit’s turning the whole pineapple drinking vessel thing on its head… literally.


The eGullet crowd came up with a ton of cocktails to try, and a delicious-looking Tiki shrimp dish as well. The thread where they all went up over there is here, or if internet forums scare you, I digested them in a separate post right here on the Pegu Blog. Thanks to Frog Princesse, Zachary, Dan Perrigan, Katie Loeb, Kerry Beal, and another foreign entrant, Australian contributor Haresfur, who used the International Date Line to enter late and still be on time.


Very new blog The Mix Lab makes it into its first Mixology Monday with two of the richest-sounding cocktails of this MxMo. The first is an Improved Rum Fizz that shows egg whites can be Tiki too. The second is a coffee-infused number by the name of Starbuck. (To the lawyers of a certain barista mega-employer, I bear no responsibility for this name, I only report!) The garnish on this one is particularly cool and Tiki.

The next group of posts are all what I feel like calling “Donnish Drinks”. I haven’t made many of them, so I’m not sure, but they have the feel of the Beachcomber’s style of Tiki.

Rowen of San Francisco’s Fogged in Lounge offers the original Rongorongo, a spicy, dark, rummy concoction, as well as a look at his impressive collection of Moai Tiki mugs.


First time MxMo participant Tri2Cook wanders off the eGullet reservation to blog the original Crackin’ Jenny’s Teacup. The drink is also suitable for International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Read his post to see why.


Colonel Tiki is one of my original Tiki Muses, the Board of Tiki Idols, and also one of those silverback cocktail bloggers I alluded to at the start of all this. He presents the Rio Tonga, an amazing amalgamation of spices, cachaça, bitters, and just enough fruit. The dim, mysterious photo above is typical, by the by, of all the Colonel’s pix. I think they capture the Tiki vibe perfectly.


Chicago Craft (and occasionally Tiki) bar, The Whistler gives us the fabulously garnished Free Rider. Given that it combines Lemon Hart 151, Benedictine, and Fernet Branca, I think that delicate orchid in the garnish is damn near false advertising!


Portland Oregon’s leading (only?) Libertarian, Jacob Grier of Liquidity Preference trots out a drink to salve the savage heart of his 49ers lovin’ boss, calling it the Bitter End. Another Fernet Branca run at Tiki, the only thing about this drink that bothers me is that Jacob has access to better paper umbrellas than I do.


Wordsmithing Pantagruel’s Ed features Chartreuse in his creation. A riff off the Improved Chartreuse Swizzle, the Gilligan’s Ginger Swizzle is a frosty, frosty glass of high-octane Tiki funk. Ed also includes two other Tiki-fitting creations he’s produced during his recent blog hiatus, the Tornadiki and the Einbahnstraße.


Speaking of elusive silverbacks of the Cocktailosphere, Rumdood himself (who is not a Tiki blogger) appears from the mist to give us an update and improvement on an earlier creation of his, the Absinthe-Minded Professor. With a full ounce of absinthe, some maraschino, some Smitty, and more, this learned instructor seems not to be trifled with. Quick, go read Matt’s post before he slips back into the obscuring jungle.


Paul Willenberg of, um, Portland (he’s the only guy in town without a blog) brings this wowser: The Kahlua Pork Old-fashioned. This one is worth a read, let me say. I do have one question, Paul. Do the pig ears lend flavor to the falernum, or are they there to collagen up the texture?


I’ll finish the Donnish Drinks section with my own post on the Missionary’s Downfall. I’m pretty sure this one belongs in this section because Don created it. With mint, rum, honey, and fruit brandy, this light concoction has a big, mysterious flavor. Since it’s written by me, I’m sure you’ll read every magnificent word….


Zach the Venture Mixologist just got back from Hawaii itself, America’s Polynesian frontier. He brought with him that most elusive of Tiki ingredients, a bottle of Okolehao, the unique spirit of Maui. He uses it to lend some of the dreaded authenticity to his Polynesian pop, the Shaka.


At Shake, Strain, and Sip, Scott Diaz does an Almost Tiki Month in a Post, with four fully fleshed out and beautifully photographed cocktails. It took some doing to decide on a picture to use here, but I settled on the Castaway. Surrounding it is a short history of Tiki, as well as a classic Mai Tai, Don’s Navy Grog, and a Pimm’s Plantation.


Speaking of Navy Grog, my nephew and family cocktail apprentice Duncan also comes in for his first ever cocktail blog post with a run down of his Super (punch)Bowl edition of Vic’s Navy Grog. Read this post. Duncan is one of them genuine Disney Imagineers and is learning his cocktail-fu fast. You’ll want to be able to say you read him back when.


The Hardest Working Man in the Cocktailosphere™, Fred Yarm the Cocktail Virgin leads off the group of what I’ll of course call the “Vic-like drinks”. That said, his drink is Don’s Beach Planter, by the Beachcomber, not the Trader. I may be way off since I haven’t made this one yet, but this Zombie variant just looks more like one of Vic’s sour/sweet citrusy efforts than most stuff Don ran off.


DJ Hawaiianshirt splices the Main Brace over at Spirited Remix. He spends four interesting paragraphs exploring the meaning of this piece of nautical jargon before claiming he’s avoided nautical jargon. The drink employs a hearty amount of red burgundy wine and is the only alcoholic Tiki drink I’ve seen this year that doesn’t use any hard spirit at all.


Jordan of Chemistry of the Cocktail goes with his Ahau’s Dram. This one also has roots as a Beachcomber original, but the changes seem to make for a more Vicish result.


Half of Scofflaw’s Den (Marshall) loves me and posts on a find from Remixed, the Ankle Breaker. I intend to try this one, maybe tonight. The other half of Scofflaw’s Den is dead to me, and I hope the Tiki Gods fill his bed with molten lava.

So, SeanMike’s made the list?
We’re on it….


Marc of A Drinker’s Peace focuses on dangerous garnishes, a hallmark of Tiki. His Flaming Boats Don’t Float is a how-to on giving your insurance agent a heart-attack. This is a helluva fun post, but Marc needs to go back and put in the proportions to actually make the drink in which to present your pyrotechnics!


Bartender-blogger Brian Thomas of Bottle of Swan posts on his neighbor’s dog, Tiki. Wait… what? Oh, he gets around to a drink too. First, he carves a gorgeous Tiki mug out of a young coconut, which he then eats instead of drinking out of, before finally giving us the Monkey Business.


The final Viclike cocktail comes from Mixology Monday Supreme High King, Paul Clarke of the Cocktail Chronicles. He declares he has now become as lazy as Beachbum Berry lies about being, and so went looking for the ultimate Tiki drink for the mixer who has no Tiki setup at hand and no time to assemble it. The result is the simple and elegant Trade Wind Cocktail, which demonstrates that the right name can take certain classic-style concoctions and turn them into a ticket to the Polynesia that never was.

Now, after my comments earlier on Mai Tai supremacy, you Zombie-philes get your turn.

Dennis of Rock & Rye gives us a short history of the grandpappy drink of the entire Tiki movement, then offers Ted Haigh’s version of the iconic Zombie, and ruminates on the why of so many Zombie variations, since even the bartenders who first made them didn’t know what the recipe was!


Ian Lauer of Tempered Spirits rounds out the drink offerings this Mixology Monday with more history on the George Romero of Tiki, Don the Beachcomber. He then gives us three versions of the Zombie, all claimed by Don. Finally, he gives more places to look for other variations, and touches on some good music selections for when you drink them all. (But not in the same seating. Only 2 per customer!)


Pittsburgh columnist Hal Klein, who blogs also at This Man’s Kitchen, heads us home with Tiki Memories of great faux Polynesian haunts of his halcyon days of youth like the Tonga Room and the Tiki Ti. These are the places that bridged the end of the Golden Age with today’s revival.

The last word of all goes to The Old Town Alchemy Company. Jon missed the deadline for a full post, but prompts us all to watch this Public Service Announcement about the effects of Zombie consumption from British comedian Bill Connolly. I shamelessly steal the video to embed here so that you will be sure to watch it and be forewarned!

That’s it folks! Thanks for joining us and see you all soon. If MxMo has gotten you in the Tiki mood, please stick around here for the rest of this and every February, when this old joint goes from classic cocktails to all Tiki, all the time.

And one last thing: Paul Clarke Wants You! … for MxMo host. Paul’s schedule has been hectic lately, and as several posters this month have mentioned, a few months have been Mixology Monday-less of late. If you are an established blogger who’d enjoy a tremendous amount of extra work but lots of luscious content, contact Paul through the Mixology Monday home site and inquire about offering your services. This is my third time hosting MxMo, and it is Not Just a Job, It’s an Adventure!

Aloha, everyone!

About the author

Doug

I am 48 years old, married with two young daughters. My interests are tennis, reading, computers, politics, and of course cocktails. I run a murder mystery party business that caters to both corporate and private events, Killing Time, murder consultants.

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