Cocktails & Spirits

From Tiki to Toasted: This Week's Hukilau Means Many Rum Cocktails

The largest celebration of tiki culture in the country starts Thursday at Mai-Kai and runs through Sunday, a recognition of the modern tiki movement.

With three days of music, food, and drink, the weekend offers an opportunity to drink with tiki barman and author Jeff Berry, who will expound on the history of the zombie cocktail. From the guy who penned Grog Log and Beachbum Berry Remixed comes an engaging (and drunken) discussion on the transformation of a cocktail that's so stylish right now.

With a nationwide affection for all things Mad Men and midcentury, it's no wonder we're psyched about rum drinks, surf guitar, and tiki-themed restaurants.

Strange enough, "Polynesian" restaurants started as a fancy thing, reports The Atlantic.

"Trader Vic's in the Washington, D.C., Hilton, for instance, became a famed venue for mid-century power lunches.

Alas, the success of Don and Vic spawned a herd of garish

strip-mall imitators, and it wasn't long before tiki lapsed into kitsch,

decadence, and decay."

Part of this revival is centered around drinks. Though we've had our very own Mai-Kai for decades, tiki bars are opening near and far, with a map's worth in New York and a new one slated for Washington to open later this year.

With the craft cocktail movement in full swing around the country, the revival of tiki drinks is a natural progression. For one, they're more complex

than your average Prohibition-era cocktail. "What distinguishes a tiki

drink is its complexity," Berry told The Atlantic.

"The characteristic

use of multiple rums -- say, a white Martinique rum combined with a heavy

Jamaican rum -- creates initial intrigue. This base is tweaked, in many

cases, with a hint of Pernod or falernum syrup, adding flavors that linger just barely at the threshold of perception."

With falernum syrup among my favorite accents, I'm looking forward to

sampling tiki drinks as they're intended: high octane, with fragrant

cloves, cinnamon, and lime, far from the umbrellaed sweet concoctions

into which they've lapsed.

We'll give you a debrief of the event next week, though with hope you'll decide to attend the event regardless.

Revenge of the Zombie: The Tale of Tiki's Deadliest Drink

A history of the 1930s cocktail from the 1930s to the present
With author Jeff Berry

Saturday, April 21, at 2 p.m. at Mai-Kai
Tickets can be purchased here for $35
Comes with several zombies

New Times on Facebook | Clean Plate Charlie on Facebook | Melissa on Facebook | Clean Plate Charlie on Twitter | Melissa McCart on Twitter | E-mail Melissa |

KEEP NEW TIMES BROWARD-PALM BEACH FREE... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Food Critic
Contact: Melissa McCart