First real night

February 27th, 2008 by Colonel Tiki

Greetings cherished readers!

Due a a rash of sickness, Last night I was called in to the lone service at Thatch and rescue the place last night. Yep, That’s right – I finally got my rum slingers behind the bar and ran the place last night. We were slow, so the silver lining was that I had some breathing room to stop freaking out and show some confidence. It was exciting and terrifying. No major mistakes, and all my drinks were good (and some great – that Singapore Sling rocked). All that home practice paid off, I suppose. That and all the outstanding support and instruction from Zorn. He’s a gentleman’s gentleman.

To celebrate (when I got home) I poured myself a concoction I’ll call:

Fancy Rhum (*please* don’t call it a Maitini.)

1 oz Appleton Extra
1 oz Martinique
½ oz Cointreau
¼ oz Green Chartreuse
dash orange bitters (Regan’s)

Shake with crushed ice and strain into 4oz cocktail glass. Drink it while it is still laughing at you.

So with that behind me, I can now proclaim myself officially a (greenhorn, resident, newbie) professional bartender.

I don’t really need to sleep, right?



An update without a drink picture? That’s unpossible.

February 18th, 2008 by Colonel Tiki

Well the free time was cutting into my rum reserves anyway.

The new house and the new (2nd) job has been cutting into my drinking time. I’ve only made Last Words and quick Donn-like long tiki drinks. I didn’t even take pictures. Heres a quick outline of what I do when I just throw something together

Quick’n’Loose ‘Donn’ Style Double Drink

  • 2-3 oz citrus (e.g. 1oz each lime, orange, grapefruit)
  • Up to 1.5 oz of spiced syrups and or sweetener (e.g. 1/4 pimento dram, 1/4 vanilla syrup, 1 oz honey mix)
  • 2-3 oz rums in matching flavor to your modifiers above (e.g. 1 oz Jamaica Dark, 1 oz Demarara, 1 oz Virgin Islands gold)
  • 6 drops Herbsaint
  • Dash bitters
  • Plenty of cracked ice

Add ingredients to mixing glass, top with cracked ice. Shake and pour into double rocks glass.

As my whims move me and what I see first is what drives the flavors – Cinnamon, Honey, Grapefruit. Orange, Vanilla, Pimento Dram. I’ll usually guide the rums after that.

So what kept me so busy? The new job at Thatch. I have my official schedule now. I’ll be there Wednesday and Thursday nights. But, don’t be surprised to not see me behind the bar.

I have an extended training program there – since I’m a newbie, and even though I have the knowledge and skills, I need to prove myself. The actual working group and lead ‘tenders want me to move my way up before I’m lone man behind the bar. And you know what? I totally agree with them. I’m not that young upstart who thinks he knows everything. I have knowledge that I’d love to share and use to help make Thatch a better place; But here’s the catch: I have no real experience of knowing when or where to apply it for their business. That will come in good time, and I’m patient. There’s plenty of work to do there, helping to make thatch the best thatch that it can be. I’m happy to have the opportunity to be an agent for positive change.

And you know what else? I love it. I freaking love it. When it’s hectic and I don’t know exactly what to do and when to do it, I love it. When I feel like I’m asking the 100th stupid question of my co-workers, I love it. The group at thatch are wonderful hardworking folks. It’s very much like a ship, each cog running its course for the whole. I’m just lucky I seem to have a talent for analyzing systems, recognizing how to make them more efficient, and positively affecting (to borrow some corpspeak) that change. It just takes positive attitude, patience and hard work.

When It Rains, The Trees Come Into Fruit.

February 13th, 2008 by Colonel Tiki

Time to report some good news on the private front here in Indigo Firmament land.

I’ve just been hired as the newest bartender at Thatch, one of our local Tiki Bars in Portland. I’ll be making the transition from home hobbyist and academic mixologist to real-world slinger of the Polynesian Pop tipple. This couldn’t have been possible without the huge support of Trader Tiki, Martin Cate, and friends at the Oregon Bartenders Guild. I don’t have a set schedule yet, but I’ll let you all know when I do.

Also, the eternally fabulous Tikimama and I just became the proud new owners of a 1910 Portland 4-square house in North Portland. We currently live out in the boonies (Troutdale), so the new location will save us about 8-10 hours a week on commute time and numerous headaches. Also, perhaps we can get some better attendance at our parties.

Both endeavours have been a long time brewing with large amounts of hard work from both the tikimama and myself. Why bother you with the toil, though, when I can share instead the bounty.

Keep on keepin’ on, dear readers.

Rum Barrels and Rumination

February 5th, 2008 by Colonel Tiki

I have a particular personal philosophy concerning functional art. In this specific case, the collecting of Tiki Mugs. I deeply feel that when functional art ceases being used, it ceases having relevance. It becomes less powerful; it becomes a memory. The idea of keeping a mug (no matter how ‘priceless’) that was made to be drunk from behind glass and unused is anathema to me. To me It’s perverting the item for one’s own personal fears (of it breaking, of it losing value) in favor of its spirit.

This is not a judgement against others who may differ: It’s your mug, do with it what you will. It’s my philosophy and there is no concrete aesthetic. My mugs, however, will be used. If it becomes damaged? If it breaks? Good. The Mug is already broken. All things are impermanent and eventually end: Such is the beauty of existence. I would rather celebrate these tokens full of the drinks they were made to hold than look at it with worry on the shelf, supposedly out of harm’s way.

I bring this up because when I make Rum Barrels, I use our two Rum Barrel mugs. One of which happens to be the Aku Aku Rum Barrel. It was made by Otagiri for the Aku Aku at the Stardust in Las Vegas. Heather found it at the Goodwill for 85¢. Ooga-Mooga has the value at $90. Ebay’s average is around $125. Do I care? Not a whit. I use it because it is a rum barrel, meant to hold the liquid art of the Rum Barrel cocktail.

Rum Barrel Ingredients
Don’s Rum Barrel

1 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
1 oz fresh squeezed grapefruit juice
1 oz fresh squeezed orange juice
1 oz unsweetened pineapple juice
1 oz honey mix
1 oz Puerto Rican light Rum
1 oz Jamaican gold Rum
2 oz Demerara Rum
tsp falernum
tsp pimento dram
6 drops Pernod
6 drops grenadine
dash Angostura bitters
6 oz Ice

That’s the version in Sippin’ Safari. It’s a great recipe. However, to my taste, it turns out a bit subtle. So here’s my personal variation on the recipe. I’ve replaced the Pernod with Herbsaint, as I feel it more closely better supports the other flavors with a woody, earthy tone (I’ll use Absinthe when next I have some on hand). Pernod is too “pointy” and singular for my tastes in these recipes. I increase the falernum & pimento dram from 1/6 oz to 1/4 oz to better balance their role in the flavor. I use Fee’s brother’s old fashioned bitters for a hint of more spice. I don’t have any decent Puerto Rican rums, so I substitute Cruzan (a Virgin Islands rum).

Rum Barrel Still life

The Monkey Hut Rum Barrel (based on Donn Beach’s recipe)

1 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
1 oz fresh squeezed grapefruit juice
1 oz fresh squeezed orange juice
1 oz unsweetened pineapple juice
1 oz honey mix
1 oz Cruzan light Rum
1 oz Appleton Special gold Rum
2 oz Lemon Hart Demerara Rum
¼ oz house falernum
¼ oz house pimento dram
6 drops Herbsaint
6 drops grenadine
dash Fee Brothers Old Fashioned bitters
6 oz Crushed Ice

You can also see my other Rum Barrel, the Mai-Kai reproduction from Tiki Farm. I picked that one up at the Mai-Kai gift shop during Hukilau 2006. They sit next to each other in the Monkey Hut. They come down when it’s time to drink from them.

Here are some more shots of this gorgeous functioning art in action:
Rum Barrel Still Life
Aku Aku Rum Barrel
Aku Aku Rum Barrel



I’m Alive!

January 22nd, 2008 by Colonel Tiki

Well, that was an adventure! I still live!

About two weeks ago I went to Seattle with Tikimama. It was her semesterly residence at U-Dub and my excuse to go to Zig Zag. We’d been to Seattle for the Jet City Junket II in December of last year, but I was thwarted at any chance of getting some time at Zig Zag, so I jumped on this opportunity.

The next few entries will be about that wonderful trip – I hit up Zig Zag a few times, was blown away at Vessel, had a great time at Sun Liquor and was pampered at Licorous. It was outstanding, and I paid for it:

When I got home I was hit with the worst flu in nearly a decade. I lost nearly a week’s time in delirium, completely sleeping through Mixology Monday. I’m still coughing and weak. I did manage to spread the love with my friends and family, though. You’re Welcome.

What has kept me in spirits, so to speak? My current regular from Jeff Berry’s Sippin’ Safari: Three Dots and a Dash. You do have Sippin’ Safari, right? P1010019

Three Dots and a Dash (…- V)

½ ounce fresh lime juice
½ ounce fresh orange juice
½ ounce honey mix
1½ ounces amber Martinique rum
½ ounce demerara rum
¼ ounce falernum
¼ ounce pimento dram
6 ounces crushed ice

P1010030This morse-code lovely is credited to Donn at the Las Vegas Beachcomber restaurant during WWII (V for victory). I assemble this fellow following my new method picked up from the Navy Grog. I add all ingredients to a mixing pitcher and stir to combine. I crush the ice finely, add to the glass and pour the mixture in. I hand-swizzle and aerate the drink with a bar spoon until the glass frosts and add the garnish.

Moving up in favor as a regular is the Honi Honi. Remind me to wax rhapsodical about that in a future post, won’t you? These libations have kept me human in my few weeks of viral stupor. I suppose I could have counted on a Corpse Reviver (#2) to pop me on my feet, but even I can’t be that clever-clever. I’m glad to be back and 200 proof.


Drinkie Navy Groggie

September 17th, 2007 by Colonel Tiki

Lately, I’ve been fixated on the Navy Grog. Namely, Jeff ‘beachbum‘ Berry’s version of Donn’s Navy Grog.

I use the version in the Grog Log and add ½ oz of my ‘lazy’ pimento dram.

Craig’s lazy Pimento dram:

  • ¼ cup good quality allspice berries
  • ¼ cup Lemon Hart 151
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • 1 cup Water
  • Metal Strainer and Cheesecloth

Grind allspice berries with either mortar & pestle or as I do with a coffee grinder until you achieve a small crushed size. Steep ground allspice in 151 for at least 1 day. Dissolve sugar in water and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add aged allspice/151 mixture. Let this mixture sit for at least 1 day. Strain first through metal sevie strainer to remove large particulate, then through a single layer of cheesecloth to remove the finer particulate.

My version of Bum’s version of the Navy Grog is as follows:

  • ¾ oz Grapefruit Juice
  • ¾ oz Lime Juice
  • ¾ oz Honey Syrup
  • ½ oz ‘lazy’ Pimento Dram
  • 1 oz Coruba Dark
  • 1 oz Lemon Hart (not 151) demerara
  • 1 oz Appleton White
  • 1 oz White soda (7-up, sprite, club if you must)

Fill one double rocks glass with small crushed ice. Stir all ingredients in a mixing glass. Start with the honey, then add the citrus to dissolve the honey syrup nicely. Finish with the soda and be gentle to save the carbonation. Pour into double rocks glass and stir to frost the exterior: Ideally you would use a rock-candy swizzle to stir.

Delicious, I assure you.

Tiki Drinks!

July 31st, 2007 by Colonel Tiki

Well, now that Tiki Kon V is all done and wildly successful, Here are the Official Drinks for release into the wild:

Dead Reckoning by Martin Cate of Forbidden Island

2 oz Cockspur 12 year
½ oz Navan Vanilla Liqueur
½ oz pure maple syrup
½ oz tawny port
1 oz fresh lemon juice
1 oz pineapple juice
dash angostura bitters

Shake and strain into a hiball glass over fresh ice and top with 1 oz soda water. Garnish with pineapple wedge, mint sprig, and lemon spiral.

Dark Magic by Craig Hermann

½ oz coffee syrup
½ oz Licor 43
½ oz passion fruit syrup
¾ oz fresh lime juice
1 oz Appleton V/X
1 oz Coruba
dash Herbsaint

Add all and 8oz of ice into blender. Blend by 5 one second pulses. Pour into double rocks glass. Garnish with maraschino cherry and lime wheel. With compliments to Jeff “beachbum’ Berry and The Mai-Kai’s Black Magic.

Happy Hoti by Blair Reynolds

2 oz Pyrat XO Reserve
¾ oz fresh lemon juice
½ oz falernum
½ oz rock candy syrup
dash Fee Bros. bitters

Shake with crushed ice. Serve in small tiki mug filled with ice. Garnish with mint, cherry.

Sandy Warner by Heather Gregg

1½ oz Cockspur
1½ oz sweet vermouth
½ oz orange curaçao
dash Fee Bros. orange bitters

Shake with ice and strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with maraschino cherry.

Fighting Gamecock by Craig Hermann

2 oz Cockspur
½ oz fresh lemon juice
½ oz Fee Bros. falernum
dash Fee Bros. orange bitters
dash Herbsaint

Stir with ice in mixing glass. Strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with orange spiral.

Luaahi by Craig Hermann

1 oz Pyrat Blanco
1 oz fresh lime juice
1 oz pineapple juice
¾ oz maraschino liqueur
¾ oz Velvet Falernum
dash Fee Bros. bitters
dash Herbsaint

Blend with 8 oz ice by 5 one second pulses. Pour into TIKI KON 2007 signature Luaahi mug. Garnish with pineapple wedge, maraschino cherry and cocktail umbrella.

Slip casting

July 20th, 2007 by Colonel Tiki

Hey folks! No time today for much text, so here are more photos of the slip casting process:

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Georgie’s Slip, ready to become Tiki mugs

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Pouring the slip into the bucket

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The interior of the plaster mold

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Moving slip from bucket to pitcher for pouring

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Pouring slip

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Slow going pour

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Drying slip

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Starting to pour out the non-dried slip

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Slip dripping upside down

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Right side up, sprue has been scored to aid in drying

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Starting to pull of top after slip drying process

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Top is off!

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Drying after top removed

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Removing from mold the wrong way (turn mold upside down and have gravity help you)

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Out of the mold

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Craig cleaning

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Heather cleaning

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More Heather cleaning

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Hello, gorgeous!

Mugs Drying
Drying on the rack

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Drying on the rack 2

See you in the funny papers!

Mugs Continued

July 18th, 2007 by Colonel Tiki

TIKI KON 2007 Mug slip molds drying

Dry, little molds. Dry!

The Good News

July 16th, 2007 by Colonel Tiki

Captain’s Galley

Captain Reynoles’ Galley is finished and signed off on. He and Sara did an absolutely fantastic job completing the decoration, bar work, and lighting. We stocked it up with glasses and mixed cocktails on Saturday. We have six recipes now.

As they stand, the current TIKI KON Drinks are:

We plan to gather some of our home-made libations, feature them during TIKI KON, then release them into the wild for others to make, enjoy, or improve. Call it “Open source mixology.” Keep in mind at least one of these recipes was devised by a professional mixologist. That’s why I listed it first.