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Hukilau Tiki Cocktails

Stephen Brown

   This weekend is all about tiki culture. Its Hukilau, a weekend dedicated solely to the South Pacific-inspired tiki culture of the 1950s, spearheaded by one of the most revered spaces of the tiki brethren, Mai-Kai in Fort Lauderdale. People from all over the world flock to Fort Lauderdale to sip on Allspice Dram-infused cocktails embellished with mini umbrellas while putting on their best Don the Beachcomber impressions and kicking it at the thatched-roof joint. The four-day tiki festival, held June 6-9, is one of the largest of its kind and a great time, no matter if you’re dedicated to the mid-century vibe or not.

   To celebrate Hakilau, we’re cutting loose tiki-style by reprising some of our favorite tiki-inspired cocktails for your drinking pleasure. To prime the rum pump, there's a Mai-Kai original, just to all-spice it up. Enjoy!

Tiki-tastic summer cocktails

 

Cheers to Mai-Kai!

   A Hukilau celebration would be for naught without raising a glass to the tiki icon, Mai-Kai. A South Florida original, Mai-Kai is a Polynesian-themed restaurant that opened in Fort Lauderdale in 1956 at the height of America’s tiki bar craze. The local landmark is still standing, a bit bigger at the belt, and holding true to its Polynesian-infused South Florida roots.

   The Derby Daiquiri was created in 1959—the golden age of cocktail culture—and originally submitted to a contest sponsored by the Florida Derby to find a signature cocktail for the race. After winning the hearts (and palates) of race fans, the rest, as they say, is history.

Mai-Kai - Derby Daiquiri - Florida Derby

Here is the original recipe, which serves 6, as submitted to the Florida Derby:

 

Derby Daiquiri

  • 2 oz. lime juice
  • 4 oz. orange juice
  • 1 tbs. sugar
  • 6 oz. white Puerto Rican rum

Fill blender half full with ice. Add ingredients and blend for about ten seconds, serve in chilled cocktail glasses.

 

*Recipe courtesy of Mai-Kai.

*Image courtesy of SwankPad.org


 

Friday Happy Hour: Get Tiki with it!

   The Nui Nui is a classic tiki cocktail, originally hailing from Don the Beachcomber circa 1937, with a solid infusion of tropical flavors. The key ingredient in this recipe is Allspice Dram, a spicy add that really gives the drink its character. This is a hard-to-find barroom addition, with St. Elizabeth’s making the best on the market. If you can’t come across Allspice Dram, try Don’s Spices #2 (made by B.G. Reynolds), a concoction that essentially boils down to equal parts vanilla syrup and Allspice Dram (or Jamaican pimento dram). If all else fails, below is a recipe for a DIY Allspice Dram. (Be warned: This is a time-consuming project that requires a few weeks to settle for best flavor.) But if you are serious about your tiki drinks, then Allspice Dram is a must for the bar—a strong and spicy counterpoint to rum and the typically sweet, tropical ingredients.

Nui Nui cocktail - Tiki culture cocktails

Nui Nui

   Serves 2

  • 4 oz. aged Virgin Islands rum
  • 1 oz. fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1 oz. fresh squeezed orange juice
  • ½ oz. cinnamon syrup
  • 1½ tsp. vanilla syrup*
  • 1½ tsp. Allspice Dram*
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 8 oz. crushed ice

*Or ½ oz. Don’s Spice #2 in substitution for both. 

Place all ingredients in blender and blend until frothy. Pour into two Collins glasses and crushed ice to fill. Garnish with an orange wedge or peel. Huli Pau! (Bottoms Up!)

 

DIY Allspice Dram (for the truly dedicated)

  • 1 cup light rum
  • ¼ cup whole allspice berries
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1½ cup water
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar

   Crush allspice berries to a coarse consistency. Put berries in a Ball jar, pour in rum, shake, seal and let the mixture steep for two to four days, agitating and shaking daily. After steeping, break up the cinnamon stick and add to the mixture; let sit for another 10 days.

   After steeping, strain out allspice and cinnamon (a coffee filter will help remove the tiny pieces) into a jar.

   In a medium saucepan, bring water and sugar to a boil over medium heat, dissolving sugar. Let cool, and then add to strained allspice syrup. Shake and let sit for another day or two before using. Makes about three cups.


  

Saturday is for Standards

For Saturday’s tiki-themed sip, we looked to the cocktail trade’s standard-bearer, the International Bartenders Association, for a rum-heavy IBA official cocktail. What we found was a classic fruit bevvy perfect for summer. Falling under "The Unforgettables" category, the Planter’s Punch is a classic long drink (Collins type) with plenty of tropical flavors and a hearty dose of rum to keep the tiki times ticking along.Planter's Punch - rum punch - tiki-culture cocktails

 

Planter’s Punch

  • 1½ oz. dark rum
  • 1 oz. fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1 oz. fresh pineapple juice
  • 2/3 oz. fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/3 oz. grenadine
  • 1/3 oz. sugar syrup
  • 3 to 4 dashes Angostura bitters

Pour all ingredients, except bitters, into a shaker filled with ice, and shake well. Pour into Collins glass filled with ice. Add Angostura bitters on top. Garnish with cocktail cherry and pineapple.

 

*Recipe courtesy of IBA


 

Sunday Funday: Ease the Pain

After two days of imbibing on rum, some might be on lookout for something to dull the pain. The Painkiller will certainly do what the name implies, but there is no reprieve from rum, folks. Big on tropical flavors—this classic tiki cocktail is the perfect complement to your hand this Sunday afternoon. Enjoy!

Painkiller cocktail - tiki-tastic cocktails

Painkiller

  • 2 oz. aged rum
  • 2 oz. fresh pineapple juice
  • 1 oz. Coco Lopez Cream of Coconut
  • 1 oz. fresh squeezed orange juice

Shake ingredients and pour over ice in a double Old Fashioned or Collins glass. Garnish with a pineapple wedge and grated nutmeg for a hint of spice.


 

 

If you would like to nominate a cocktail recipe to appear in our latest series "Weekend Cocktails," email the online editor here.

Your Weekend Cocktails for June 1-3 - Nui Nui - Planter's Punch - Painkiller - Tiki-Culture cocktails


 

Tools of the Trade

Become a master mixologist, or at least look like one, with the tools that make the trade.

Your Weekend Cocktails - Tools to Make a Pro - Williams-Sonoma

 

  • Muddler: This little tenderizing stick is a godsend and a must for any home bar. If fruity cocktails are in your future, the muddler is the only way to unlock fruits’ flavor.
  • Handheld Citrus Juicer: nothing beats freshly squeezed juice, but it be a pain. Invest in a handheld citrus juicer, they are cheap and do the trick tout de suite.
  • Cocktail Shaker: Don’t be a chump, stirring your martini like a noob; purchase a nice shaker and become a master home barkeep.
  • Jigger: This little apparati will make mixing the perfect drink as easy as pie, equipped with a 1½ oz. and 1 oz. cups for perfectly measured pours every time.

*Pictured available at Williams-Sonoma

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