Category - Rum

Tiki Drinks in Craft Bars—Example: Mytoi Gardens
Tiki Drink: Tropical Morn
MxMo: XCIII Blue—The Surf Savai’i Sour
A Heartfelt Plea

Tiki Drinks in Craft Bars—Example: Mytoi Gardens

Over the years of doing Tiki Month, I’ve tended to focus most of my drinking evaluation on the older Tiki drinks, mostly those from the 30’s and 40’s. There’s a couple of reasons for that. First, I’m an historian at heart. I like old stuff. It is why I love Beachbum Berry so much. His ability to uncover so much about this interesting little slice of American culture is amazing. Mmore importantly, the Tiki drinks from the decades of the Tiki era tend to be sweet, boring, and insipid, in keeping with American tastes in drinking at that time. (There are exceptions, but this is a pretty good rule of thumb.)

I was asked Wednesday night by a visiting Cincinnati bartender who is just getting into Tiki exploration why the delicious Mai Tai I’d just served her had devolved in modern days to the sweet, fruity mess most everyone thinks of now. The reason is those changing tastes of American drinking. To an experienced cocktail palate, one used to multiple spirits and the profound ways that sometimes just a change in ratios can alter flavors, a Vic Bergeron Mai Tai is a fantastic drinking adventure. The strong, discordant yet somehow perfectly harmonious flavors demand the attention of the serious drinker.

Well, they demand the attention of the casual Vodka and Soda or Cosmopolitan drinker, too…. but not in the same way. To them, the reaction is more like, “Whoa! What the Hell? This is tasty, I guess, but really… what the Hell?” The food world equivalent would be just wanting a quick, good hamburger, but being asked instead to sit down for a four-course meal featuring Osso Buco. In the 70’s, as you needed to medicate yourself to tamp down the knowledge that your President was named Nixon or Carter, you were stressed enough at being thought square for drinking cocktails at all, instead of doing lines of coke like all the cool people. You did not need or want to be challenged by your damn drink. In today’s world, where even self-medication isn’t enough, people are moving back to food and drink that they want to pay attention to. And thus, the older style of thought- and palate-provoking tropical drinks are rising once again.

So recently I’ve been looking more and more at truly modern Tiki drinks, those invented during the current revival of the genre. A lot have been inventions of A Mountain of Crushed Ice or Rated-R Cocktails, two of the best full-time Tiki blogs out there. You should visit and subscribe to both. Go on. I’ll wait.

More encouragingly to the likes of me is that there are also a lot of excellent modern Tiki-style drinks being concocted in non-Tiki bars today as well. In olden days, when Don and Vic rode their triceratopses to work every day, really good Tiki drinks were restricted to specialty bars. The overhead of fresh juices and exotic syrups was too much for normal pubs. But in today’s Craft environment, arrays of juices and syrups (and cocktails with lots of ingredients in small amounts) are par for the course. There is no reason that Tiki drinks should not nestle in among the other marvelous offerings in any top flight bar.
To illustrate my point, here’s a delicious concoction by the hardest working blogger in the cocktail business, Fred Yarm of Cocktail Virgin Slut and the current Guardian of Mixology Monday™. (Scheduled for release as a major motion picture by Marvel in 2023.) For his sins, Fred works a bit at the Russell House Tavern in Boston. His Tiki drink, the Mytoi Gardens sits proudly on the Russell’s extensive Craft menu, among Algonquins and modern bitter bombs like something called a Sottobosco. Here’s my take on it. Read Fred’s post for his slightly more price-friendly version.


  • 1 1/2 El Dorado 12
  • 1 fresh pineapple juice
  • 3/4 fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 Allspice dram
  • 1/4 simple syrup
  • 5 drops vanilla extract
  • 1 dash Angostura Bitters

Combine in a shaker with ice and chill thoroughly. Strain into a transparent vessel (not a Tiki mug!) filled with crushed ice. Float 3 dashes more of Angostura on top and garnish with pineapple in one or more forms.

As I told Fred as soon as I tried my first shot at the Mytoi Gardens, this is one big-time, old school Tiki drink. Sweet though it may be, the undeniably exotic notes of the vanilla and the allspice, along with the redolent… demeraraness… of the El Dorado combine to provide that uniquely Tiki experience: a slightly disorienting, slightly transporting melange of flavors that provides a unique escape hatch all its own.

Tiki Drink: Tropical Morn

Tropical Morn comes from a drink called simply the Coffee-Pineapple Daiquiri by Tiare of A Mountain of Crushed Ice, and modified to fit my available ingredients and my wife’s tastes. Tiare dashed this little ditty off as part of her review of St. Aubin rums, which I (of course) can’t get here, in this case their coffee-flavored rum. But since I have managed to acquire a bottle of Brinely Gold’s Shipwreck Coffee, which is the only such rum currently available in the US, I thought this would be a good starting spot for experimenting.

Taking her recipe and simply substituting the Shipwreck and my very strong demerara syrup resulted in a drink with a great profile, but one that was a bit too sweet for my tastes. I personally don’t like coffee, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that this is not a coffee bomb. In fact, it is not immediately obvious it is a coffee drink at all. The java and the pineapple sorta merge together to result in the elusively undefinable flavors of a good Tiki drink, in this case a sort of soft, novel spice. It is similar in character but not flavor to vanilla.

But the sweetness detracted from the concoction, so I backed off the quarter ounce of syrup still further, and punched up the lime just a bit to make the citrus element a little more identifiable. Then I gave it a name, since Tiare neglected to do so. The result is a difficult balancing act to make, but a worthwhile drink that is distinct from the crowd while still undeniably Tiki.


  • 2 oz. Shipwreck Coffee Rum
  • 1 oz. fresh pressed pineapple juice, unstrained
  • 3.4 oz. fresh lime juice
  • splash of 2:1 demerara syrup

Combine ingredients and shake with small ice. Pour unstrained in a small Tiki mug or lowball glass. Top with fresh ice. Garnish with a pineapple leaf construct.

(This post was edited after publication because it had the wrong frigging picture!)

MxMo: XCIII Blue—The Surf Savai’i Sour

Surf Savai'i Sour
mxmologoI’ve been terribly remiss in participating in Mixology Monday of late, but this month the stars aligned so perfectly that here I am. The particular items in sync here are the impending arrival of Tiki Month here at the Pegu Blog (and assorted other corners of the World Wide Web and Twitterverse), and the theme chosen by this month’s MxMo host, Andrea of Ginhound.

That theme is Blue. Tiki is of course the natural home of blue drinks. The stunning azure of blue curaçao is immediately evocative of the waters of South Pacific beaches, and I project a lot of Tiki-style drinks in this month’s round-up. (Caveat: I have made incorrect predictions in the past.)

Regardless, I have posted before about blue drinks, of varying degrees of quality, many were old recipes with an original or two thrown in. The drink I’m submitting today, the Surf Savai’i Sour is not, in fact, blue at all! The blue is in the special effects. And those special effects have gone through some significant evolution as I’ve worked on this drink.

Tonga 1
Just another crappy day in Tiki Inspirationville….
Savai’i Beach, Tonga Source

I wanted to do a surf-themed drink. The flavor profile came together quickly, but my chosen ingredients result in a drink so brown that simply trying to blue it up results in a look that more evokes the muddy ocean waters of the beautifully bleak Atlantic beach of my own youth. I’m using egg whites to get a good crema intended to evoke mighty ocean spray, so I moved to adding the blue as a liquid garnish enmeshed in the foam.

My first idea was a rocks drink, using a big chunk of ice, and giving it a name something like Diamondhead. I shook the drink, poured it over the ice, then drizzled some blue curaçao over it to work down through the foam in turbulent tendrils like mighty surf breaking on volcanic sands. In theory.

Don’t laugh. I know. I’m in the future, too.
Sad, isn’t it?
If I can’t even get the effect to last long enough to move it from bar to light box and get a picture. That’s pretty lame to give to a guest. And it wasn’t nearly as cool looking as I had hoped anyway.

When the going gets tough, the tough try something else. I changed over to the up drink you see atop the post. I’ve seen countless bartenders do the kind of effect I used to draw the cresting wave, usually with Angostura Bitters in a Pisco Sour or the like. I’ve avoided trying it because it looks like one of those things that’s harder than it looks.

That makes exactly zero sense, Doug….

Quiet while I’m making excuses.

It is in fact dead easy. I put some blue curaçao in a dropper bottle and dropped out a connect the dots layout of the wave. Then you take a coffee straw and sweep evenly through the dots in the direction you want. For the wave, start at either end and go to the crest. The only really important thing to do is make sure your cream or foam is thick and rich enough to support your drops to begin with.

Here’s the recipe:


  • 3 parts El Dorado 3 demerara rum
  • 1 part fresh lime juice
  • 1 part fresh pineapple juice
  • 1.5 parts St. Elizabeth’s Allspice Dram
  • 1 scant part B. G. Reynolds’ Orgeat
  • Combine ingredients in a shaker, along with the spring removed form a cheap hawthorne strainer. Shake extensively. I usually shake it until the pressure built enough to about pop the seal, then release the pressure and repeat three times. Add ice and shake just enough to chill. Strain into a coupe glass. Wait for the foam to rise and stabilize, and many of the larger, visible bubbles to pop. Garnish with blue curaçao, droppered into a wave shape and stroked smooth with a coffee straw.

I’m pretty happy with the final flavor of the drink. It is intentionally a fusion of the Trader Vic and Donn Beach schools. It has Vic’s unctuous sweet and sour face, but the exotic spicy undertow of the allspice adds a distinctly Donish touch. Be careful with the allspice, though. The sweet spot of just enough is a very narrow band, nestled between great expanses of insipidity and “Wow! That’s a lovely glass of allspice liqueur you’ve served me!”

Cheers, all! Now go read the rest of the Mixology Monday offerings!

A Heartfelt Plea

Ron Jeremy just doesn’t get any respect. This auteur is one of the most prolific actors and directors working in the cinema today. Not to mention the fact that his entire career is one huge blow after another to the pernicious “Lookism” so rampant in the Business. (And by The Business, I do mean The Industry!)

Yet, despite these impeccable credentials as film master and social justice icon, and the fact that the evidence of his Jewish upbringing is both enormous and well-documented, the Canadian Powers That Be relentlessly refuse to allow his films to be shown at the Toronto Jewish Film Festival! The video above is Ron’s heartfelt and subtle appeal for this ban to end, expressed in a short film, as befitting this heir to Orson Wells.

Oh, and I continue to believe that Ron’s ron, er, rum is under-appreciated as well. I’m actually serious here. Ron de Jeremy is not at all an all-purpose rum, but it honestly, no shit, makes a wonderful Rum Old Fashioned. And it has one of the more brilliant ad campaigns out there. I can’t recommend visiting the website and exploring its offerings enough… especially once you are two or more drinks in.

(H/T: Sploid)

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