Collins glass? Check. Tiki mug? Check. Dark and Barbadian rum? You know it. Reliable Wi-Fi connection? Good to go. Okay, let’s get the party started. Last Saturday, the crew at UnderTow connected with thirsty viewers in Phoenix and worldwide to deliver a virtual happy hour via Zoom. Digital party people raised a glass from Phoenix to San Francisco, Philadelphia, and beyond. Other folks chimed in from as far away as the Netherlands.
More than 90 people logged on to see how UnderTow owner Jason Asher makes a Shark’s Tooth — the classic cocktail from Don the Beachcomber, a bar that jumpstarted tiki drinking culture in the U.S. Classics are actually pretty easy to make,” says Jason Asher, head of marketing for UnderTow and Century Grand. “They require the least amount of ingredients and the least amount of prep."
Happy hour patrons may have found decor inspiration on the walls behind fellow drinkers on Zoom. Colorful masks and shelves stuffed with tiki mugs and bottles lined the walls of some home bars. Dogs and kids also wandered into view.
“If any of you are wondering why we are hosting these at 2:30 in the afternoon, it’s because we have a toddler at home,” Kailee Asher says. “If we didn’t do this while he was napping, you would hear a rambunctious 3-year-old in the background. He likes to interrupt while we’re talking. It’s pretty standard.”
But, as they say, it’s 5 o'clock somewhere.
UnderTow beverage director Mitch Lyons explained how they decided what type of rum to use in these classic tiki cocktails.
“In a lot of the research that we have done, the recipes don't specify a certain brand. They just specify either a white, dark, or aged rum and where it's from,” Lyons says. “So, we dive into the different rums that an island produces and then we start with what, in our opinion, would go best with those flavors and then build off of that. During our [research and development] process, we probably build each cocktail in the classic category about five to 10 times with different rums and see which one is most palatable to us and which one we enjoy the most.”
The conversation also covered the history behind the Shark’s Tooth.
“We find reference to this drink back in 1937 … In fact, we've been finding some indications that it was called the Buccaneers Delight prior to calling it the Shark’s Tooth," says Jason Asher. "Jeff 'Beachbum' Berry says a lot of the names came from this male ego thing. Bars would develop drinks to promote male egos, which I think is kind of interesting.”
If you're hoping to make your own, rum for this cocktail (as well as all the other ingredients) can be purchased by appointment at UnderTow’s sister and neighboring establishment, Century Grand.
This is the third virtual happy hour hosted by UnderTow since March. Bar owners and crew say they want to host more sessions and they will publish details on UnderTow’s newsletter and Facebook page. The next happy hour is set for 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 18, and will be covering the bar's signature cocktail, The Smoking Cannon.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Phoenix New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Phoenix's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Shark's Tooth by UnderTow Recipe
1 ounce rum from Foursquare Rum Distillery
1 ounce Coruba Dark Rum (for the float)
1/2 ounce pineapple juice
1/2 ounce lime juice
1/2 ounce simple syrup (two-to-one ratio)
Some mint sprigs and maraschino cherries
1. Add all ingredients to one cup with crushed ice
2. Flash blend the entire mixture
3. Pour into a collins glass
4. Top with a Coruba float
4. Garnish with a fresh mint sprig and cherries
Editor’s note: This article was updated from its original version.