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A WAVE OF TROPICAL ENTERTAINING THIS SUMMER: TIKI RUM COCKTAILS

March 18, 2008 08:00 PM

New York -- Cocktail devotees are in for a treat this summer with the revival of Tiki Cocktails. Mixologists are focusing on recreating rum-based Tiki drinks using high-quality ingredients and historically accurate recipes from legendary bartenders such as Don the Beachcomber and Trader Vic.   The cheerful nostalgia of the “Tiki Bar” brings an element of wit to modern-day cocktail culture, leading a wave of cocktail aficionados to a rediscovery of the era of the Mai Tai.
Tiki Culture First Rises on the West Coast
Tiki cocktails came into fashion just after Prohibition when Don the Beachcomber opened his first tropically-themed Hollywood restaurant in 1933. When U.S. soldiers returned from the South Pacific, they brought stories and souvenirs that sparked imaginations, leading to a national fascination with this culture. The Tiki Bar’s popularity peaked in the 1940’s and 1950’s when these Polynesian-style lounges became popular for Hollywood stars.
At this time, Don the Beachcomber expanded and was joined by competitor Trader Vic, whose legendary chain of Tiki restaurants became a fad favorite.  Their original cocktail recipes were kept secret by a system of elaborate codes listed as ingredients. Twenty-first century Tiki historian, Jeff Berry, has been largely credited with cracking these codes to determine the exact ingredients that were used to authentically recreate these Tiki drinks today.
Rum is the main ingredient of 90% of Tiki drink recipes. As the spirit of choice in the tropics, rum pairs perfectly with island flavors like citrus, sugar, mint, pineapple, banana, cloves and cinnamon.  
Balance of Fresh Ingredients Key to Tiki
What all Tiki cocktails have in common is a careful balance between rum and either a sweet or sour element.  Using classic recipes as the foundation, Tiki cocktails today feature a vast range of high quality ingredients and interesting flavors, often made using homemade syrups and infusions. Contemporary Tiki bars use an array of purees and integrate a wide range of flavors like kiwi, passion fruit, guava and mango. 

Super Premium Rums Show Rapid Growth in U.S.
Modern-day Mai Tais, Pina Coladas, Daiquiris, Slings and tropical Punches also incorporate today’s super premium and flavored rums to make for superior drinks. According to the Distilled Spirits Council, in 2007, rum consumption in the U.S. was up to 23.5 million 9-liter cases, generating over $2 billion in revenue for distillers. Super-Premium brands drove growth – increasing around 43% in volume from 2006 to 2007.
Tiki Entertaining Is Part of a Lively Trend
The visual elements of Tiki-style entertaining make this trend truly distinctive. In addition to colorfully garnished cocktails, swizzle sticks, Rattan furniture, flower leis, brightly colored fabrics and tiki-style masks create an unique atmosphere. 
Following are some recipes for Tiki cocktail classics that would be the perfect way to introduce this lively entertaining trend at any summer gathering. 
Mai Tai
.75 oz Bacardi 8
.25 oz 10 Cane
.5 oz Orange Curacao
.75 oz lime juice
.25 oz orgeat

Add all of the ingredients to a mixing glass then fill with ice. Shake and strain into a rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with an orange quarter skewered to a cherry with an umbrella
Dark and Stormy
1.5 oz Cruzan Black Strap
.5 oz lime juice
3 oz Barritt’s Ginger Beer

Build in a highball glass filled with ice.  Garnish with a lime wheel skewered to a piece of candied ginger.
Baja Peach Press
1.5 oz Cruzan Estate Dark
2 lemon wedges
.75 oz peach puree
.5 oz simple syrup
6-8 mint leaves

Add the mint leaves, lemon wedges and simple syrup to a mixing glass and muddle.  Add the rum, peach puree and ice and shake and strain into a rocks glass filled with ice.  Garnish with a mint sprig.

Colada Nueva Dose
.75 oz Tommy Bahama White Sand
.75 oz Malibu Coconut
.5 oz lime juice
1 scoop of coconut sorbet
1 oz pineapple juice
1 cup ice

Add all of the ingredients to a blender and blend.  Pour into a wine glass. Garnish with a pineapple wedge.
Coconut Grenade
.75 oz Bacardi 8
.75 oz Malibu Coconut
.5 oz Monin Passion Fruit Syrup
1 dash of Angostura Bitters
.5 oz lime juice
1 oz coconut milk

Add all of the ingredients to a mixing glass then fill with ice.  Shake and strain into a hollow coconut.  Serve with a straw: no garnish.
Royal Bermuda Yachtclub Cocktail
1 oz Mt. Gay Eclipse
.25 oz Cointreau
.75 oz lime juice
.25 oz Velvet Falernum

Add all of the ingredients to a mixing glass then fill with ice. Shake and strain into a coupe. Garnish with an orchid.
The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States is a national trade association representing the leading brands of distilled spirits. Council member products include the full spectrum of quality distilled spirits such as Bourbon, Scotch and other whiskeys, vodka, gin, tequila, rum, brandy, cordials and liqueurs.
The distillers take special pride in their products as well as in their commitment to encourage responsible beverage alcohol consumption by adults who choose to drink. If you choose to drink, consume sensibly and responsibly.  An important part of responsible drinking is understanding that a standard drink of regular beer (12 oz.), distilled spirits (1.5 oz. of 80-proof spirits) and wine (5 oz.) each contains the same amount of alcohol.
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