Category: Rule 2
Funny, Rule 2, Rule 4, Tiki Month 2013

“Tiki Compliant”

cat-in-a-fez"Oh, I think we'll be the judge of that!
Source: Meme-O-Rama
Twitter is, no doubt, a terrible time-suck. I can think of any number of great cocktail blogs whose death can be attributed to being cut up into 140 character chunks and fed to the big blue bird. And if you follow and are followed by the wrong sort of tweeter, Twitter can be a hive of scum and villainy so awful it makes Mos Eisley spaceport look like a convent. But if you have the right followers, Twitter can also be a great place to start conversations and develop new ideas. One such idea we've been kicking around this month, that I believe first arose from the mind of Joe Garcia, an otherwise excellent blogger, tweeter, and commenter who apparently constantly teeters on the edge of washing his clothes with dried coconut flakes, is the cocktail class we'll call Tiki Compliant. A Tiki Compliant drink is one that is not, due to its origin, history, name, etc., a Tiki drink, but which sure as hell works as a Tiki drink. If you were to find one of these cocktails on a real Tiki bar menu, the ignorant drinker would not be able to tell the difference, and the average cocktailian would say, "you know, that really makes sense if you think about it." Even the serious Tiki types, the ones who will argue vehemently until 3 in the morning that the Q.B. Cooler is really the prototype of the Mai Tai, will look at a Tiki Compliant drink and go, "Eh. I'll allow it."
To be clear, people who argue that the Q. B. Cooler is the progenitor of Trader Vic's Mai Tai are known, clinically in the Latin as, "wrong". They are hapless Donn Beach fanboys deluding themselves about this subject, and who, if outnumbered by drinkers who test positive for "correct", are always nine seconds away from making this YouTube video: Leave-Donn-Alone And yes, I am aware that this Q.B. Cooler thing is espoused by no less a light than Jeff Beachbum Berry himself. But Jeff is forgiven for it because he has to sell tickets to seminars, and Rule 4 says there is no success like controversy.
I want everyone to know that Guy's opinions are his own, and if you don't like them, address your flames to his Twitter feed, @TheGuyPegu, that way your mascara won't run all over me. And now, if I may have my post back before you completely derail it?
By all means. My work here is done.
So what are some Tiki Compliant drinks, and why? I'll start with the one that started this whole process, the Dark 'n Stormy. Intellectual property issues aside, the Dark 'n Stormy is no Tiki drink. It has only two ingredients. And while it is from an island, it is one on the wrong side of the world and which is known chiefly as the home of funny shorts and where Bloomberg runs off to hide when there is to much unremoved snow or storm water lying around for his limousine to navigate the streets of New York City. But with its particularly dark rum, and the spicy sweetness of ginger beer creating such a mysterious and unaccountably deep blend of flavors, the DnS just works. Another obviously compliant non-Tiki drink is the Hemingway Daiquiri. The ingredient list reads a lot more like a Tiki drink this time, with two citruses, rum, and an oddball liqueur in the mix. But it clearly isn't Tiki again because it's Caribbean and it's godfather is one of the least Tiki old SOB's I can think of who nonetheless slept that much on a boat. There are lots more, lesser known drinks that are Tiki Compliant to one degree or another, like this new Martinique Cocktail from Chow. And how about drinks considered Tiki drinks that should really be considered Tiki Compliant? The Carioca Hawaiian that I blogged earlier this Tiki Month is maybe one of these. It is called a Tiki drink because of the recipe, and because it was invented as a Tiki drink to begin with. But it isn't really that Tiki in its actual flavor. Do we perhaps call it more Tiki Compliant than straight up Tiki? It's a fun game to play. What is your favorite Tiki Compliant cocktail?
And hey! This post is part of Tiki Month 2013 here at the Pegu Blog! Be sure to look around for LOTS more Tiki stuff all February!
Photography, Rule 2, Tiki Month 2013

A Tiki Original from Fogged in Lounge: Up the Beach

Rowan at Fogged in Lounge offers an original cocktail for Tiki Month, the Up the Beach. It features overproof white rum, lime, Chartreuse, and creme de banane. I won't post the recipe here because I want to force you you hit his site. Also, because I haven't made one myself yet. I don't have a key ingredient, the creme de banane, and don't think I'll have the time to make it from scratch, as he does. Instead, I will steal his picture, because A) it is gorgeous, and B) it offers me something to talk about as regards Tiki drink appearance. While hardly a Suffering Bastard mug with a forest of mint and orchids garnishing the top, I just think this is a strikingly Tiki-looking drink. I'd like to examine why. Context of course does a lot. The bamboo backdrop provides immediate effect. This isn't a cheat. After all, lots of Tiki bars serve various cocktails in pretty mundane glasses, counting on the rattan, and bamboo surrounding to alter the visual impression. Then the glass itself is lovely. While it is hardly specifically Tiki, and would look just as striking if housing a Ramos Gin Fizz, the shape is right in line with a primitive vessel. And the garnish is neat. A cherry on a pick is about the antithesis of Tiki garnish in its simplicity, but these picks upend that with their thick, rough but elegantly primitive shape. No element here alone would accomplish the Tiki look. But together, they show that you can carry off a lovely Tiki look without spending weeks scrounging on eBay and Ooga-Moga....
And hey! This post is part of Tiki Month 2013 here at the Pegu Blog! Be sure to look around for LOTS more Tiki stuff all February!
Garnish, Recipes, Rule 2, Rum, Tiki Month 2013

A Tiki Original from Measure & Stir: I Should Buy a Boat

One thing I hope to do this year's Tiki Month is find some good modern original Tiki drinks to try and to feature here. Lo and behold, I wake up first thing the morning of Day One to a Tweet from @Dagreb of Nihil Utopia, alerting my to the I Should Buy a Boat, an original by Joe at Measure & Stir. If all you people are so Johnny on the Spot with the Tiki tips, this Tiki Month will go smoothly for all of us! The "I Should Buy a Boat" from Measure & Stir Above is a picture of Joe's concoction. You need to click through to his site for more, larger pictures, as well as his exact recipe, and why his proportions are as they are. He unaccountably fails to mention in his discussion that this is a Tiki drink, but with rum, grapefruit and exotic spice syrup, I declare it so. In his post on the original version he did note that its spiritual godfather is Don the Beachcomber, though. The presentation, though certainly beautiful and elaborate enough to be Tiki, isn't what I'm looking to do this time of year, so when I took my shot at it, I went with crushed ice and curled the grapefruit slice into a flower with mint stamens. Also, I used equal parts vanilla syrup and cinnamon syrup, rather than Joe's combined syrup. Frankly, it is still too much sweet, but the ice cuts things a lot. The challenge is to use the minimum of the syrup needed to still deliver the spice flavors. This is the best round I came up with:
I Should Buy a Boat Cocktail
Fez found at FezMonger
I SHOULD BUY A BOAT (My version)
  • 1.5 oz. dark rum (He suggests Doorly's. I used Chairman's Reserve)
  • 1 oz. red grapefruit juice
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon syrup
  • 1 tsp. vanilla syrup
  • crushed ice
  • 1 1/2 oz methode champenoise
Shake the first four ingredients and strain over crushed ice. Top with your champers to taste. Sprinkle a touch of cinnamon over the surface and garnish with a thin slice of your grapefruit.
And hey! This post is part of Tiki Month 2013 here at the Pegu Blog! Be sure to look around for LOTS more Tiki stuff all February!
Biographical, Rule 2, science, Tiki Month 2013

The Tikiphile as Archaeologist

The introduction of Donn Beach's Zombie was tough on the Moai of Easter Island.... (Precaptioned photo via io9)
Either that, or they just got hit with the same brutal cold that I'm just now fighting out from under. Among the things about Tiki I find most fascinating is the genuine scholarship being done in its study. The iconic figure in the field of course is Beachbum Berry. ("Jeff" to his doctor, and "We have no record of this man" to the IRS) As history, archaeology, and anthropology, his body of work is more extensive, better written, and frankly, orders of magnitude more useful than most of the work by college professors. Work that gets them tenure, while making sure that there is no time to teach the students that are paying 50K a year to go to their universities. But the Bum is hardly alone in this thirst for Tiki lore and lost artifacts. There is a legion of Tikiphiles out there who spend incredible amounts of time digging through the past to find vessels and decor from long passed oases, secrets to the origins of potions, and countless other fascinating details. I'm pretty sure the competition can be pretty fierce at times.
Indiana Jones - Harrison Ford"It's perfect!
I can put a double Boo-Loo in there and the floating orchid garnish will be clearly visible all the way around the room."
Today, Indy would wear a fez... Of course, not every Tiki archaeologist is as badass as Indiana Jones, or Thor Heyerdahl, or Beachbum Berry. Most toil in the relative (to the greater drinks world) anonymity of the Tiki Central message boards. And let's face it, a lot more of their research is drunk than is written up. But regardless, one of the most fascinating things that these guys do is look into the archaeology of taste. It is a pretty rare field in the mainstream science, and I suspect that the pros might learn a thing or two from folks who do this with Tiki. A good example, which prompted this post, is a new article by Hurricane Hayward (whose name at least can compete with Indy's, but probably not Thor's) at the Atomic Grog Blog. I wrote last year a little experiment on the various versions of the Dr. Funk, one of the few cocktails of genuinely South Pacific origin in the Tiki oeuvre. Hayward's post is a search for the taste of the legendary Mai Kai's variant, the Dr. Fong. We both reference some excellent historical research published in the scholarly and peer-reviewed Journal of Faux-Polynesian Studies by Messrs Kirsten and Duncan, PhT. Hayward does not find an actual recipe for the Fong, alas. So he does, again, what the "real" people in fields like this do, he recreates the recipe, based on lots of other research on the bar in question, its head barman at the relevant time, the other drinks on the menu, etc. It is kinda like putting flesh onto dinosaur bones. There is some scholarship like this in the larger, broad-spectrum world of classic cocktails, but it is far less common. I am not sure what it is about Tiki that spurs such passions for history and authenticity, especially considering the deliberate inauthenticity of the genre. But we should be glad of it, because going over the research is delicious....
And hey! This post is part of Tiki Month 2013 here at the Pegu Blog! Be sure to look around for LOTS more Tiki stuff all February!