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WELCOME TO THE CYTIES TIKI LOUNGE, BOTTOMS UP

IT’S TIKI TIME

Sure, we think a whiskey bar is cool. And if after five years of watching ol’ Don Draper dip into his brilliant whiskey selection at all hours of the day didn’t make you want to go out and purchase expensive bottles of scotch, a vintage decanter, and a roll-up bar, well, then you’re just flat out lying. While it was a wonderful five years of television, the live occurrences of those Mad Men are five years deceased, now living on Netflix and undoubtedly in our hearts. Move the whiskey over for the sugar cane spirit gifted from the tiki gods, RUM, and embrace a new Don… Don the Beachcomber. Tiki is here to save the dog days of summer, and it’s high time to get your cocktail affairs in order and start building out your home-tiki-bar collection. Cue the Surf Drums!

Many tiki bars around the country are temporarily on vacation as our world battles this relentless attack of a COVID virus that haunts us like menacing half-dead pirates. But, if you think we’re throwing up the white flag and surrendering our Tiki rights until we can once again stroll into our favorite Caribbean theme haunt, you’ve lost it, friend-o. 

Many will argue that the golden age of British Naval and Jamaican rum was in the 40’s. To those we say, go find yourself a nice large piece of bamboo and sit on it—rum has exploded on the scene like never before in the last four years, and Tiki is like Elvis on vinyl, a cigar box surfboard, and the 1967 Pagoda Mercedes —it’ll be kitschy and cool until the islands sink back into the ocean. We’ve got you covered on exactly what you need to get your own crib set up as the ultimate Tiki haven. Let’s start with cocktails, we could go on forever here so we narrowed it down to our Top 3 Tiki drinks we’ve been shaking and straining the most this summer. 

TOP 3 TIKI DRINKS

PAINKILLER: This isn’t one of those articles where we make you scroll to the very, very bottom (past a bunch of click-bait) to find the best of the best. Nah, we got it for you right now, muchacho. Starting off our Top 3 is the Painkiller, a simple Tiki cocktail that when made correctly is an absolute addiction. Do yourself a favor and buy Pussers Rum. It’s the official rum of the Painkiller and makes a big difference. Drink at your own risk, as we’ve never heard of anyone stopping at just one. 

Ingredients:

2 ½ oz Pussers Rum 

4 oz Pineapple Juice 

1 oz Coco Real 

1 oz Orange Juice

Combine all ingredients in a shaker and fill with ice cubes. Shake the hell out of it for 20-30 seconds. Strain contents of shaker into a goblet with crushed ice and hit the top with some grated nutmeg, enjoy!

JUNGLE BIRD: Created in 1978 in Malaysia, the Jungle Bird is a truly special cocktail as it combines the world of rum and amaro—an Italian Tiki fusion in all the best ways. Mix this up for sunset or in the heat of the night, the liquid concoction of the Jungle Bird melts into your body giving you a funky rum buzz with a bitter twist, you’ll be ready to spread your wings when the glass is empty. 

Ingredients: 

 1 ½ oz Jamaican Rum 

 1 oz Campari

 ½ oz Demerara Syrup

1 ½ oz Pineapple Juice 

½ oz Lime Juice

Combine all ingredients in a shaker and fill with ice cubes. Shake the hell out of it for 20-30 seconds. Strain contents of shaker into a goblet with crushed ice and enjoy.

MAI TAI: Last but definitely not least is the king. This cocktail has a reputation for being a household name in the land of Tiki. For good reason too, it single-handedly depleted the world rum supply in the 1940s and 1950s due to its popularity. There are several variations of the Mai Tai, but we stick to the classic variation that Don The Beachcomber and Trader Vics was slingin’ — the one that puts a little hair on your chest. When made correctly, there isn’t a better summer cocktail. 

Ingredients:

1 oz Light rum

 1 oz Dark rum

½ oz Orange Curaçao

½ Orgeat

 1 oz Lime Juice 

½ oz Simple Syrup

Combine all ingredients in a shaker and fill with ice cubes. Shake the hell out of it for 20-30 seconds. Strain contents of shaker into a goblet with crushed ice and enjoy.

 

THE TOOLS

Make sure and pick up the following cocktail tools-of-the-trade before diving into your first Tiki recipe. If you don’t already have these, they’ll come in handy when fixin’ up any drinks in the future. Below is a checklist to knock out the list of starter essentials, you’ll find some links to our recs below in our Editors Tips to point your compass in the right direction (we swear it’s not pointing towards the heart of Davy Jones). 

TIKI ATTIRE

COCKTAIL APRON: Who would have ever thought that an apron can make you feel like an absolute badass? We’ll tell you who—Flint & Tinder. When they created this waxed canvas apron they had cocktail creating, BBQ loving, kitchen cowboys in mind. Throw this on before you get your linens drenched in fresh fruit and rum. 

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TIKI SHIRT: When it comes to Tiki lifestyle, you’re all in or nothing. There is just something about a shirt that makes you feel like you’re on an instant vacation. Throw on this button-up from our pals at Tropical Bros and watch as the Tiki Gods smile down. The right attire will make any cocktail taste better. It’s science…

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A RUM LESSON

Understanding the way of bartending is an ancient art. The more you master the method, the better the drinks will taste. It all starts with understanding the spirit, and in the case, it’s the exciting world of Rum. This spirit is the soul to any Tiki mixologist, and below is a quick rundown on the different types of Rum.

Light or White Rum: Dry tendencies, light-bodied, and unaged. Simply put, rum stripped down to the core basic principle of the sugarcane spirit.

Aged or Gold Rum: Gold Rum looks like the color of John Hammonds Jurrasic Park cane, it’s often called the amber rum. It’s medium-bodied and like Aged Rum, it’s aged in charred oak barrels. Longer the age the darker the rum! We’re talking years to double decades.

Dark Rum: Typically made from molasses and carmelized cane juice. Thicker and flavorful consistency as dark rum is commonly made of a blend of shorter and longer-aged rums.

Overproof Rum: This is for the captains. A higher alcohol content than standard rum varieties. For a rum to be considered Overproof it must be greater than 100 proof. These are sometimes flammable and often used as floaters.

Spiced Rum: Known to have more unusual flavor profiles with cinnamon or allspice, they add a kick in the ass to any Tiki drink. Regularly made from gold rums.

Rum Agricole: Exclusive version of the spirit made from PURE sugar cane juice, originally distilled in the French Caribbean islands from freshly squeezed juice rather than molasses. Look for the AOC label for the best.

There you have it, what are waiting for!? Set your sails towards a homestead Tiki mindset. Raise your mug to all our favorite Tiki haunts out there weathering this storm, we can’t wait to see you again soon. For now, dim the lights, cue the surf rock, and take your Tiki to the next level!

EDITOR'S TIPS

According to Hawaiian-themed author Rick Carroll, Hawaiian bartender Harry K. Yee of the Hilton Waikiki was the first to use a paper umbrella in a beverage in 1959 during the Tiki craze of the 1950s

Tiki Tool Recs:

Shaker, Spoon, Jigger

Muddle 

Swizzle

Juicer

Blender

Picks

Mug.. the choice is yours

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