SF Spirits Competition Winners
Rumors of its demise have been greatly exaggerated

Tiki taking over?

Now that they're serving tiki drinks in New York, the rest of the country can read about the trend. At Elettaria they're serving a few tiki cocktails including the Navy Grog and Zombie, the Rusty Knot is some kind of tiki dive, and DISCUS threw a tiki party that was reported on all the blogs.

Out west, the Teardrop Lounge in Portland is doing Tiki Third Tuesday with a whole list of drinks just for the night- dang that's a lot of work! In San Francisco, a busload of bartenders went to Forbidden Island on Monday for a Rhum Clement event, so Tuesday at happy hour your favorite bartender may not look so happy.

The Times story does make a good point, though.

“Certain elements of mixology have gotten too dry,” (Angus Winchester) said, referring to a bar ethos that esteems pre-Prohibition cocktails, sometimes to a point of purism. “Cocktail lists are starting to look like history lessons, with bartenders hiding behind the fact that they’re using the 1812 recipe of a drink rather than the 1814 recipe. Tiki is the antithesis to all that.”

To a degree, anyway. As Mr. Miller said of the Navy Grog: “We’re using the original 1941 recipe.”
I think the tiki trend allows for the same nerd-ness as pre-Prohibition cocktail worship, but with different flavor profiles. Those earlier drinks (and their modern incarnations favored on the East Coast) use citrus zest, twists, flames, foams, and other aromatic tricks to give spark and life to small-volume drinks that largely come out of bottles. Many tiki drinks, it seems, use citrus and other mixers as the lively base canvas of the drink, allowing the spirits some breathing room in which to show off. (Does this make sense? I'm trying to say it's like the difference between drinking straight rum and a Daiquiri.)

In any case, I say more (well-made) tiki drinks is a good thing.

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