Tiki Kon VI Drink Menu

June 25th, 2008 by Colonel Tiki

This Saturday I am hosting Tiki Kon VI, a wild tour of two Portland Tiki bars and two Home Bars of Portland-area denizens.

At Thatch, I’ll be giving a short Tiki Mixology seminar and offering thirteen classic and new Tiki beverages on our menu. This is what is in store for our group of intrepid Tiki Adventurers:

Cobra’s Fang Mai Tai
Cuba Kula Miehana
Darker Magic Navy Grog
Fog Cutter Nui Nui
Happy Hoti Penang Afrididi #1
Jet Pilot QB Cooler
Lei Lani Volcano

The weather should be in the middle 90s and sunny. Our last stop will be a home bar with a pool. I think by that time, I will be just about ready to immediately jump in.

A strange self-importance

May 7th, 2008 by Colonel Tiki

There is an aspect of many contemporary blogs that troubles me. I suppose I am troubled and annoyed because (like most things) I dislike my own tendencies and therefore see these tendencies more clearly in others. So existentially, this rant is directed mostly to myself.

The trend I speak of is the (to me) feigned pretentiousness of the novel. Now, I am the first to admit the joy of intellectualizing my hobbies, it is the curse of the overly educated and the lingering disease of the post-modern. However, I do try to keep a healthy grip on perspective. Yes, there is artistry and craft and great deep involvement of the minutia of flavor profiles; the alchemy of taste! However, for crying out loud, It’s just food / drink.

There’s no reason it can’t be both: I’m comfortable and (candidly) revel in ambiguity and cognitive dissonance. Aristotle may be wrong; “a” can equal “not a.” And yes, below I’ll be generalizing and paint with wide strokes:

For instance, The slow food movement. While wonderful and aligned with my own tastes and political leanings, etc. As explained to my mother-in-law, she replied: “Oh, you mean food?” You know, like your grandparents used to eat before the 50’s tech marvel fads of highways, distribution, production, suburbs and supermarkets changed things?

Canning, preserving, smoking, curing, head-to-tail: What your great-grandmother used to call “Wednesday.”


I do not mean to malign the renaissance of foodcraft (or any craft, for that matter). Nor do I wish to marginalize the wonder of discovery of these lost arts. I do however have my fill of those who are so god-damned pretentious about them. I wish we could stop pretending to be so god damned expectant of external validation of our personal growth in discovery. That’s all.

I mean, I know our damn generation has to deign irony or some other handle to deal with the fact that we’re broke and our market system is imploding and so we’re drinking Pabst and making mac and cheese (with local non-hormone artisan cheese). But really? Really? You don’t get a god-damned gold star no matter how well you can use the macro setting on your new digital camera. I’ll thank you for the recipes, though. They’re super tasty.

Bored in Denver

March 12th, 2008 by Colonel Tiki

I find myself in Denver, Colorado on business.

Does anyone have any interesting bar recommendations? I haven’t had a bunch of luck on my own. Boulder or Aurora will do fine as well. I miss my dear old Portland.

I’m never moving again.

March 6th, 2008 by Colonel Tiki

I’m living in a world full of boxes. As soon as I can get the liquor, glasses, and mugs unpacked, I’ll get a nice article for you all.



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.


The Results are in! (plus site re-theme)

January 7th, 2008 by Colonel Tiki

Simple Syrup Science has completed. The results are in! Noel was kind enough to be the last test subject for this round.

To summarize, I produced two 2:1 simple syrups. One was created by nothing more than shaking in a mason jar, the other was heated to boil, then removed from heat.
A tale of two syrups
I did a double blind test, 2 samples of each syrup type in random order.
Less talk, more science.

The main result is that while there is a perceptible difference, but not in the flavor. 66% of the test subjects could not taste a flavor difference. 66 % of the test subjects were able to tell one syrup from the other, but were wrong on which was which. What is the difference?

Viscosity. The hot method syrup was thicker than the cold method. One of the test subjects believed the thickness of the syrup affected the physicality of tasting, and so thought the hot-method syrup was less sweet than the cold-method. Results are a bit inconclusive, so I’d love to see this experiment repeated.

The next test will be tasting difference in falernum: Initial non-scientific non-blind tastings showed no difference between the two syrups in the falernum. I plan to test using the syrups in a cocktail as well.
Battle of the Falernums

But the take home? Don’t waste your time shaking the sugar (unless you are after a thinner mouth-feel for your syrup).

Also, I finished my initial design for the site. If you’ve never been there and only viewed via RSS feed, take a look and tell me what you think. If you’ve been to the site before, you may have to refresh your cache by force-reloading the page.