Move aside, Mai Tai. The tropical drink's got some competition with the Kon-Tiki Swizzle, a contemporary tiki creation that boasts some surprising ingredients, from Campari to coconut water. For this edition of Happiest Hour, Morgan Schick, bar manager of San Francisco's Trick Dog and partner at Jupiter Olympus, shows us how to swizzle our way to Summer refreshment. Watch the video to get inspired, then see the recipe.
Despite a brief tenure as a bartender and a fascination with cocktail culture (and consumption), I've always been a bit apprehensive when it comes to venturing into the world of tiki cocktail creation, since many of these tropical tipples owe their complex flavor to a laundry list of ingredients. Thankfully, the Mai Tai — a rum-forward stunner — is comparatively simple, clocking in at a mere four ingredients, and has quickly become a staple in my home bar repertoire.
Even more crucially, this classic Polynesian recipe is dangerously quaffable — watch out; it packs a real punch — perfectly suited to Spring's warmer weather, and a solid choice for toasting to Sunday's Mad Men premiere thanks to its retro styling. Get the recipe and follow suit.
So over the weekend, while the West Coast enjoyed record highs, I sat back in some new shades, ate up the 70-degree weather, and guzzled a good-for-you cocktail that felt like a mini island vacation.
I can't take credit for the idea (that goes to New York's Rouge Tomate), but this brilliant drink is one part healthy smoothie, one part fizzy spa cocktail, and all parts equatorial. Want to enjoy a glass, too? Then read more.
As I mentioned earlier, I've been obsessed with all things tiki, from Singapore Slings to the Tonga Room and everything in between. And as if on cue, a friend and fellow food writer hosted an island-themed party. I immediately knew one of the items I'd be showing up to the door with: tiki snack mix.
I didn't realize the addictive power of this trail mix; it was gone within a few minutes. There's something about the tropical-themed combination of sweet, chewy pineapple, rich pork, and spicy, soy-tinged nuts that will have you reaching for another handful. Get the recipe for an easy Pacific Rim snack that'll satisfy at any party when you read more.
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I paid a visit to Smuggler's Cove, a tropical escape in San Francisco that specializes in re-creating authentic versions of classic Tiki cocktails. There, owner Martin Cate and bar star Marco Dionysos made me a perfectly balanced version, and chatted with me about the Polynesian pastime. Both bartenders believe that the cocktail's hazy beginnings are the cause of its devolution and waning popularity.
Prominent bar chefs disagree over whether the drink should have pineapple juice. Their recipe, which comes from Singapore Sling authority Ted Haigh, does. In comparison to my simple sling, it's far more complex, with more depth of fruit, less sugar, a clean finish, and a nice, foamy top. Read on for the recipe.
I quickly realized that many of the original recipe's ingredients, like cherry heering and Bénedictine, would take some time to track down — but in a pinch, I managed to find a pared-down variation. I imagine it's not as complex, but this rendition adopts some of the foaminess and the fruity notes from the original. For a quick version that's refreshing in its own right, keep reading.
- Could Reese Witherspoon star in a movie about The Pioneer Woman's life?— Serious Eats
- This year, the James Beard Foundation will award the best TV personalities. — Grub Street NY
- Sources say Adam Dell, the younger brother of the Dell, Inc. founder, is Padma's baby daddy. — Feast
- One of Top Chef's favorite villains, Marcel Vigneron, has scored his own cooking show on the Syfy channel. — Eat Me Daily
- Tiki culture is making a strong comeback. — Chow
- The Top Chef Tour is coming to a town near you. — Eater
- A new book will publish Julia Child's letters. — The Epi-Log
As much as I love using fresh ingredients, premium alcohol, and homemade mixers, in this case, there simply wasn't time. Thus, I took some help from the store. The resulting four gallons of mai tai wasn't the most authentic tiki drink, but it tasted great and did the job at the party! To check out the massive recipe, that's ideal for large, college-style parties, read more
On the one hand, an icy, fruit-flavored tiki cocktail can be like having Guam in a glass — but on the flip side, many people find them to be overly cloying, rather than refreshing. When it comes to tiki drinks, is your glass half full or half empty?