Three weeks into the Ten Weeks of Tiki series, Jade Bar and lead bartender Eddie Garcia are keeping classic tiki drinks flowing. And the combination of fresh juices, rums, and bitters at a resort bar is the perfect reminder to slow things down, if only for a drink or two.
For the series, Garcia has promised new tiki drinks every seven days all the way through August. It wasn't so easy to narrow down the genre. Garcia isn't attempting to cram almost a century of isolated, buried, and revitalized Polynesian punches into just a couple of months. In fact, he's done without much of the associated kitsch (no wooden tiki mugs here — or at least in sight), but he and his team are learning what they like and picking some of favorites. And when there are as many options as all tiki history may provide, his selection thus far should be applauded.
Following prior weeks of Blue Hawaiis, Mai Tais and Hurricanes (pictured above), headlining the menu this week are the Rum Swizzle and the Dr. Funk — two extremely different cocktails. The Rum Swizzle is more noteworthy and starts as many tiki drinks do: lots of rum (in this case, Mount Gay rum) and lime juice.
"One of the common myths of tiki cocktails is that they involve lots of pineapple — and there are many that do — but you actually seem much more lime and grapefruit juice," Garcia explains.
He adds Depaz sugarcane syrup and a bar spoon's worth of St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram and fills the glass with crushed ice, topping it with bitters and fresh mint.
To those who thought tiki drinks were as complicated as they come — sometimes involving 10 or more components — this proves the opposite. Last week's Navy Grog from the Tiki's Grandfather 'Don the Beachcomber' is exemplary of these deceitful simplicity: just two and a quarter ounces of rum (albeit three different types in equal parts: Hamilton Demerara, Flor De Caña, and Appleton Estate VX), lime and grapefruit juice, and honey syrup.
"These recipes are from the tiki legends who knew how to layer booze, fruit and spice," Garcia says. "These drinks are true descendants of communal punch drinking."
The Dr. Funk is mostly Bacardi mixed with house grenadine, lemon juice, Pernod, and club soda. It's complex and bubbly, with anise-forward Pernod shining through.
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After seven more days, and in the following weeks, what tiki will come? Garcia says to expect Fog Cutters, Zombies, and Suffering Bastards — a horror-story cast of names that will surely be sweeter to drink.