Category: Board of Tiki Idols
Bartenders, Board of Tiki Idols, Brandy, Gin, Other Liqueurs, Rule 4, Tiki Month 2015

TIki Drink: Tiki Tylenol

Banner TikiTylenol Full This cocktail comes by way of Board of Tiki Idols member, Doctor Bamboo. His name for it in its original form is the Pololu. You can find it in Beach Bum Berry's Remixed, since the good Doctor never seems to have blogged it. I changed its name to Tiki Tylenol, because I make some tiny changes in the recipe, and because if Tylenol is a painkiller without asprin, and this is a Painkiller without rum.... Also, like regular Tylenol, too many can result in liver damage.
TIKI TYLENOL Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with lots of ice and shake very well to fully emulsify the coconut creme. Strain into a largish cocktail glass and sprinkle surface with powdered cinnamon.

This is a particularly delicious, though non-standard Tiki drink. Gin and Cognac work better together than most people think, and at three ounces, pack quite a punch. My main change is to replace the original St. Germaine with the far more potent Thatcher, and adding a little apricot in place of the pear tones in the St. Germain. This change works well, I think. It also lead to an interesting discussion two nights ago. I put the Tylenol on the menu for a bunch of bartenders. An hour and a half in, I observed loudly that I hadn't served a single one of these drinks all night. They all looked at me, and one said simply, "It has St. Germain." I replied that no, it had elderflower, not St. Germain, and what did he have against bartender's ketchup? "Nothing," was the reply. "You put a drink with it on your menu and you'll sell hell out of it to one group of customers, but the others won't touch it for anything." abc
Board of Tiki Idols, Syrups, Tiki Month 2011

The Board of Tiki Idols Speaks: Trader Tiki

Each year, during Tiki Month, I try to do an interview with one of the long-term Tiki-bloggers who helped spark my interest in Tiki drinks and culture in the first place. I call these folks my Board of Tiki Idols, and they all have been helpful to me in many ways as I learn about this fascinating cocktail sub-culture. This year's interview is with Blair Reynolds, aka Trader Tiki. Trader Tiki is a former bartender and video game quality assurance manager who lives in Portland, OR. (Yes, that means that when he wasn't slinging hooch, he was playing video games for a living.) You can read his blog here. You'll note that his posting is nowhere near as frequent as it once was. (This is sad.) The reason for this is that a little over a year ago, Blair took the leap and went into the cocktail business for real. (This is awesome.) His new firm, Trader Tiki's Hand-Crafted Exotic Syrups, makes a broad range of excellent cocktail syrups such as his best-selling orgeat, a falernum, a ginger syrup, a vanilla syrup, and more. While he brands himself with a Tiki motif, the usefulness of his products extends way beyond Tiki drinks. I talked with Blair a few days ago. My first question was when he opened his doors, and how he came to decide to do so. Blair's first sale was in December, 2009, and was to a friend who, interestingly, doesn't drink alcohol! The direct impetus for going into business for himself was that same as it is for many entrepreneurs: a change with his employer that he didn't like. As he cast about for a new professional direction, his Tiki blogging offered an answer. I've written before that I only go Tiki one month a year because all the prep, ingredients, etc. are a huge pain to keep up with. Even Tiki Idols like Blair are not immune to this issue. Many times in the past, as he piddled around over a hot stove making small batches of all sorts of syrups, he often thought, "Someone should make all this easier." At last, Blair, started finishing that thought with, "Hey! I'm someone!" His blogging gave him a serious leg up in the venture. First, he already had a "brand" in place in both the Tiki and general craft cocktail communities. This didn't hurt with establishing an initial level of business. Moreover, all the time and energy he had spent over that stove gave him a broad base of recipes and knowledge of product development. He doesn't manufacture his syrups in his kitchen anymore, of course. He has hired a commercial kitchen (or Co-Packer) to do the actual production and packaging. He has a large role in the production through quality control of both the ingredients and final product. The arrangement let him get off the ground for a manageable investment and is scalable. So, as happened this week, when he gets a giant new customer, his operation won't veer into a ditch. Business apparently is good. "Sales are up over 340% over last year," he told me. "It's great because I can experiment a little now with an expanded product line." The first bitters from Trader Tiki is in production and will be showing up in just a short while. When I mentioned to Blair that his website is titled, "Trader Tiki's Exotic Syrups, Bitters, and Spirits", and asked what his plans were to fulfill the rest of that mission, he laughed and told me, "Buy more syrups!" So who buys his stuff? "I've got an unusual business model," says Blair. "I do direct retail sales myself over the 'Net. I sell to bars and restaurants. I sell wholesale to retailers. and I'm now making some good sales to large distributors." His largest segment right now is direct sales to bars. This is both a great potential market for Blair, and a difficult sale. Lots of craft bars, who use many of the unusual ingredients that Blair makes have gotten used to making them themselves. For some it's habit, for others, a point of pride, and a few simply don't want to let their customers see them using commercial ingredients of the sort that cocktail snobs believe need to be homemade. "That's great for 'em, if that's what they want to do," says Blair. "But they need to consider a few things." First, as I noted above, making your own syrups, especially those like orgeat and falernum, is time-consuming, expensive, and frankly, hard to get right. "If they use my syrups, they can have same control and consistency with these things as they do with their spirits." A bar that makes its own syrups and like ingredients is going to have a hard time making sure the strength and consistency is always the same, and they would have a harder time managing their inventory to make sure they never run out as well. Be you a cocktail enthusiast or an owner or manager of a Bar That Cares About What It's Doing, and you want to give Trader Tiki's stuff a whirl, you can get it directly from him at his online store. It's also available at retailers in New York, Washington, Seattle, Oregon, California, and even Indiana. (Someone in Ohio, get on the stick!) For a complete listing of retailers, online sellers, bars and distributors who have the goods, check out Blair's Where To Buy page. There's lots to choose from. Blair's current product line is: Cinnamon Syrup, Don's Mix and Don's Spices #2, Falernum, Ginger Syrup, Hazelnut Orgeat, Hibiscus Grenadine, Orgeat, Passion Fruit Syrup, Peppermint Syrup, and Vanilla Syrup. As a final note, I also talked to Blair about his fabulous Basement Tiki Bar, though I'll save most of that for another post. For now I'll merely note that he calls it Reynolés Galley, and notes that it is wonderful evidence of Tiki's ability to co-opt a great deal of anachronistic elements, such a Caribbean pirate fables, into the essential glorious inauthenticity of its South Seas exotica. abc
Board of Tiki Idols, Rule 2, Tiki Month 2010

Wobbling Through the Grog Log

I recently reviewed Beachbum Berry's Grog Log for Tiki Month. I thought I'd do a little Rule 2 work and point you to a much more comprehensive homage to the Log. Pegu Blog Board of Tiki Idols member Tiare has undertaken a Bloggessy she entitles Mixing Through Grog Log. This is a bit of Rule 2 on Tiare's part as well, as she is riffing on Erik Ellestad's mammoth jeremiad, Stomping Through the Savoy, over at Underhill Lounge. Erik is attempting to survive making every cocktail in The Savoy Cocktail Book, in order. (Itself a riff on similar to Julie Powell's Julie/Julia Project of movie fame). Tiare is making a run at the much more human task of running through the Grog Log. Not only is the Log shorter, but it is a Best Of compilation. Also, Tiare has made the decision to do an original variant on each of the Bum's entries, and you can get a nice insight into the mind of a Tiki expert on crafting drinks. Plus, it gives her a chance to post a second, gorgeous picture.... The great thing about that is it gives me an excuse to steal a couple of her pictures to illustrate! Here are the pictures from Mixing Through Grog Log 5. On the left is Beachcomber's Punch, on the right is Tiare's variant, Tiki Queen Punch. abc
Barware, Board of Tiki Idols, Liquor Fairy, Marketing, Recipes, Rule 2, Tiki Month 2010

Essential Tool Not On the Chopping Block!

Recently, I heard that OXO, the makers of many nifty kitchen gadgets, had discontinued their gadget most near and dear to the hearts of many cocktailians, the OXO 2oz. Angled Measuring Cup. I was miffed, as were a bunch of others. I asked everyone who read my piece to spread the word and to contact OXO, asking them to please not discontinue this essential product. Apparently, our efforts got their attention, because this comment appeared yesterday:
Stop the presses!!!! This is OXO. Seriously…OXO. I want to clarify that the Mini Measuring Cups are NOT discontinued! They are currently only available at retail (and I saw them on Amazon – just type in “OXO Mini Measuring Cups”), however we are working on a configuration to make both the stainless steel and plastic versions available on our website, http://www.oxo.com, very (very) shortly. Stay tuned!
I immediately communicated with the commenter, Bena, who is a Senior Brand Communication Manager for OXO. Apparently, the problem was that OXO had discontinued selling the cups on their own website, rather than discontinued making them. Apparently, they had a minor internal miscommunication which resulted in inquiring minds being told that the cups were no longer being made. The issue is that heretofore, OXO has sold the cups only in packs of 24. This does seem a pretty large number to buy at once, I will admit. When you buy a single cup from Amazon, or at a retailer like Bed, Bath, & Beyond, for four bucks, the retailer has broken up one of these 24 packs for resale. Why they don't just sell them in smaller quantities (I'd suggest three packs), I don't know, but Bena assures me it isn't quite that simple. (Last sentence edited after clarification) Still, the status of discontinued on the OXO website will apparently be short-lived. Plastic mini measures will soon be available there again, with the stainless steel to follow at some point. Bena has not gotten me actual numbers on the calls and emails they've received, but she was sure it was a pretty good number. It got her attention at any rate! So I call this one a victory for the cocktailosphere (whether our squawking actually had anything to do with the decision or not). Regardless, we can all rest easy, our cocktail jiggers will not pass into that good night. Also, another OXO manager I corresponded with, Michelle, did reassure me that, while the cups were designed primarily for cooking, OXO has for quite some time realized how popular the product is with bartenders, professional and enthusiast. Oh, and I did not call a Tiki Timeout from the February festivities here for this post because I think the mini measures are especially valuable for Tiki drinks. More than any other kind of drink, Tiki drinks call for large numbers of ingredients in small quantities. You can make these drinks with jiggers and spoons, but the process gets even more laborious. And all the Hawaiian shirts and Tiki music in the world won't keep your mood happy if it takes you longer to make your drink than it does to drink it! So, to celebrate the resurrection of the Mini Measure, demonstrate it's Pegu Blog Certified Tiki Effectiveness™, and make a Rule 2 tie-in back to where I first heard of the whole kerfuffle (as well as throwing in a shoutout to two products brought by the Liquor Fairy), I present to you the following treat from Tiare, at a Mountain of Crushed Ice.
CATDADDY MOONSHINE ZOMBIE PUNCH Put everything into a blender, saving ice for last and blend at high speed for 5 sek. Pour into a chimney glass. Garnish 2 pineapple leaves and a lime slice.
Now, if I could only get them to make a metal, 2 cup, dry measuring cup, I'd be my wife's hero....abc
INSTAGRAM
KNOW US BETTER