Categories
Tiki

The World’s 15 Most Important Tiki Bars

Tiki cocktail on bar

Punch magazine has accomplished a feat worth cheering. They have put together what is, in my opinion, the most impressive list of “The World’s 15 Most Important Tiki Bars” that I’ve yet to see.

It helps that their panel of experts includes the top people in the field, including Sven Kirsten, Martin Cate, Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, and others. If you want to know what’s the best, you ask the people who are the best. And that’s exactly what they did.

Really, the only bar I can think of that they omitted is the “original” Trader Vic’s location in Emeryville. It’s not the first iteration of the bar, but it is the location that Vic himself opened in 1972, and it’s been the chain’s flagship operation ever since. It might not be the best restaurant/bar you’ll visit, but it’s still a damn fine Tiki operation, steeped with history.

Sadly, the only location on the list that I have visited is the Mai-Kai, a one-of-a-kind feast for the senses masquerading as a restaurant. I hope to cross another off my list next month, though, when I’m in Los Angeles. (That location, of course, would be the Tiki-Ti.)

I don’t have a bucket list, but if I did, this collection would make a very nice start.

 

Categories
Books Tiki

“Beachbum Berry’s Potions of the Caribbean”

If you’ve read Professor Cocktail’s Zombie Horde — and if you haven’t, what are you waiting for? — you know about the high regard and esteem I have for Jeff “Beachbum” Berry.

If it weren’t for Berry, we wouldn’t have the Tiki drinks we have today. They would have stayed lost in the rummy mists of time forever. But he almost single-handedly found them and restored them to their place of glory.

So when the Bum publishes a new book — which he doesn’t do very often; he is, after all, a beachbum — it’s an event worth celebrating.

Coming this December is his latest, Beachbum Berry’s Potions of the Caribbean. It recounts the spirited history of the West Indies, as seen through the prism of a cocktail glass. I haven’t read it yet, but I can’t wait to do so.

I’m copying the official information below, but first I want to share these amazing pages from the book. Not only is Berry an invaluable writer and cocktail historian, but his books are downright gorgeous.

This is the “must-give” gift for the cocktail, history, rum, or Tiki fan in your life.

potions of the caribbean potions of the caribbean daiquiri potions of the caribbean cuba potions of the caribbean

Beachbum Berry’s Potions of the Caribbean by Jeff Berry
Hardcover, 317 pages, $34.95

For the Conquistadors, the Caribbean was “New Spain.” For Victorian England, Jamaica was “The New Riviera.” Chicago mobsters transformed Havana into “The Las Vegas Of The Caribbean,” while Tiki-crazed tourists remade Puerto Rico into “Hawaii In The Atlantic.”  Since Columbus first stumbled on the Caribbean, invading hordes have continually tried to turn it into something else — and with every reinvention of the region came a reinvention of its drinks.

Potions of the Caribbean: 500 Years of Tropical Drinks and the People Behind Them strains five centuries of this fascinating history through a cocktail shaker, serving up 77 vintage Caribbean drink recipes — 16 of them “lost” recipes that have never before been published anywhere in any form, and another 19 that have never been published in book form. Even more delicious are the stories of the people who created, or served, or simply drank these drinks. People like William Dampier, the 17th-century “pirate of exquisite mind” who plundered native cities but collected native recipes … José “Sloppy Joe” Abeal, who became an overnight celebrity when Prohibition brought millions of thirsty Americans to his sleepy Havana saloon … Conrad Hilton, the bible-thumping tycoon who used drinking and gambling to kickstart modern Caribbean tourism … mysterious Egyptian mixologist Joe Scialom, who escaped a Cairo prison to bring a new style of cocktail to the islands … restaurateur “Trader Vic” Bergeron, whose faux-Polynesian Tiki drinks turned the West Indies into a surrogate South Pacific … and hard-drinking novelists Ernest Hemingway and Graham Greene, who hated each other almost as much as they loved frozen Daiquiris.

As “a hybrid of street-smart gumshoe, anthropologist and mixologist” (The Los Angeles Times) and “the Indiana Jones of Tiki drinks” (The New York Times), the Beachbum is uniquely qualified to tell this epic story-with-recipes, lavishly illustrated with vintage graphics and rare historical photos.

The full-color hardcover first edition goes on sale December 10, but you can pre-order your copy now from Cocktail Kingdom:

PRE-ORDER NOW (U.S.A.)

PRE-ORDER NOW (U.K.)

Categories
Cocktails Recipes Rum Tiki

Making Zombies for Your Halloween Party

The Walking DeadIf you’re throwing (or attending) a Halloween party this year, the Zombie is the perfect drink to serve. It has an appropriately creepy name, it’s delicious, it’s out of the ordinary and thus memorable, and it’s a fun drink for people to enjoy.

The difficult part to serving Zombies in a party setting is that they require several ingredients and take some time to make. But you can streamline the process and make it a lot easier on yourself by doing some pre-mixing.

I tended bar at my sister-in-law’s wedding rehearsal dinner last week, and I tried this method out. It worked perfectly, and the Zombies were a big hit.

The key is that you pre-mix most of the ingredients beforehand. I did mine a few days before, but you could do it right before the party instead. Whatever works best for your timeline.

Party Zombies

Yield: Makes 11 cocktails

Ingredients

  • Zombie Pre-Mix
  • 6 oz. Coruba, Myers's or Appleton Estate Dark Rum
  • 6 oz. Cruzan or Flor de Cana Gold Rum
  • 6 oz. 151-proof Rum (Lemon Hart, if possible)
  • 3 oz. Falernum
  • 1 oz. Grenadine
  • 3/4 tsp. Herbsaint/Absinthe
  • 8 Dashes Angostura Bitters

  • Party Zombies
  • 2 oz. Zombie Pre-Mix
  • 1/2 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
  • 1/2 oz. Don's Mix

Instructions

    To make the Zombie Pre-Mix:
  1. Add all ingredients (use a funnel) to a clean, empty 750ml bottle.
  2. Shake to combine.
  3. To make the cocktails:
  4. Once you've got your Pre-Mix made, assembling the actual cocktails at the party will be easy.
  5. Shake the ingredients with ice, then pour unstrained into a glass.
https://professorcocktail.com/2013/10/24/making-zombies-for-your-halloween-party/

If you’d like to make your Zombies sweeter, you can add some simple syrup to the Pre-Mix. I’d start with an ounce and go from there.

For the Don’s Mix, I used B.G. Reynolds’ syrup. But you can also make your own — ahead of time, of course — by combining two parts white grapefruit juice with one part cinnamon syrup.

I know it’s a hassle, but you’ll want to squeeze limes for fresh juice. Lime juice has a very short shelf life — it starts to oxidize and change flavor almost immediately. So do it as close to when you’ll be serving as possible.

If you want to do this as a punch version, you could mix all the ingredients together right before the party and serve it in a big bowl or pitcher. If you’re going to go that route, however, you’ll need to do it shortly before you serve, and even then the flavor won’t be as good. But sometimes sacrifices have to be made.

Whatever route you choose, don’t go for the tired old shots and Screwdrivers for your Halloween party. With just a little extra effort, your drink service can be a lot more fun — and your guests can really have a haunting good time.

Categories
Books Cocktails Recipes Rum Tiki

Cocktail Recipe: Don the Beachcomber’s Zombie Punch (1934)

In my new book, Professor Cocktail’s Zombie Horde: Recipes for the World’s Most Lethal
Drink
, I make the case for the Zombie being the quintessential Tiki drink — and one of the most important cocktail creations of the 20th century.

But you might be wondering: What's in a Zombie, anyway? Good question! Most of us have heard of the drink, but a lot of people have never tried one. And even fewer have had a Zombie made in the classic style.

Here is the recipe for the original Don the Beachcomber Zombie, as printed in Professor Cocktail’s Zombie Horde. (This gives you an idea of what you'll see if you buy it.)


ZombieDon the Beachcomber's Zombie Punch (1934)

Source:

Jeff Berry
Beachbum Berry's Sippin' Safari
Club Tiki Press/SLG Publishing, 2007

The original version, the one that started it all, as served at Don the Beachcomber's famed Hollywood restaurant. This was the drink that made Don's reputation and secured his place in cocktail history.

Instructions:

3/4 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
1/2 oz. Don's Mix*
1/2 oz. Falernum
1 1/2 oz. Gold Puerto Rican Rum
1 1/2 oz. Aged Jamaican Rum
1 oz. 151-proof Lemon Hart Demerara Rum
Dash Angostura Bitters
6 drops (1/8 tsp.) Pernod or Herbsaint
1 tsp. Grenadine
6 oz (3/4 cup) Crushed Ice

Put everything in a blender. Blend at high speed for no more than 5 seconds. Pour into a chimney glass. Add ice cubes to fill. Garnish with a mint sprig.

*Don's Mix was one of the Beachcomber's secret ingredients. It's made by combining 2 parts grapefruit juice with 1 part cinnamon syrup. It is also available for purchase from B.G. Reynolds' syrups.

Professor's Note:

This recipe, still perhaps the best one in existence, contains several of Don the Beachcomber's signature touches, including the blend of multiple rums, the use of exotic spices, and the one-two punch of Angostura bitters and pastis. It's no wonder this is one of the most imitated drinks in the world.

Obviously Don's original version of the drink contains some obscure ingredients, like Don's Mix, falernum and Lemon Hart Rum. (The book explains what all of those things are, and more.)

But Professor Cocktail’s Zombie Horde also contains a lot of recipes that are easier for the home bartender, including a simplified Zombie recipe that includes only ingredients you can find no matter where you live.

Even if you're not looking to master mixology at home, the book contains plenty of interesting history and fun facts that I think you'll enjoy learning.

Categories
Books Tiki

The Zombie Is Alive! “Zombie Horde” available now.

One of the world’s most sublime drinking pleasures, the Zombie is the cocktail that launched a thousand Tiki bars. A sweet and sour mélange of citrus, spice, and lots of rum, the Zombie stands as one of the most significant cocktails of the past century. Created by Don the Beachcomber in 1934, the Zombie took the world by storm, and soon became the quintessential Tiki drink. Eventually, it would appear on the menus of thousands of bars and restaurants around the world.

In Zombie Horde, David J. Montgomery (aka Professor Cocktail) leads you on a journey through the history of the Zombie, starting with its humble beginnings in Hollywood, and following it as it evolved and spread over the decades. Zombie Horde includes recipes from notable bartenders like Trader Vic, David Embury, Salvatore Calabrese, and Dale DeGroff, as well as the formulas for the Zombies served at famous Tiki joints like the Tonga Room in San Francisco, Frankie’s Tiki Room in Las Vegas, and the Luau Room in San Diego.

It also includes recent cocktails that were inspired by the Zombie, with offerings from Martin Cate (Smuggler’s Cove), Brian Miller (Death & Company), Allan Katz (Caña Rum Bar), Brian Dressel (Midnight Cowboy), and Audrey Saunders (Pegu Club).

As a special bonus, Zombie Horde showcases seven new drinks – from Jim Meehan (PDT), Tom Brown (Hogo), Jeff Kinder (Distil), Joseph Swifka (La Descarga), Craig Lane (Bar Agricole), Jack Fetterman (PKNY), and Frank Cisneros (Bourgeois Pig Brooklyn) — that are appearing in print for the first time. Also making their print debut are the recipes for the Zombies served at Mahiki in London, Otto’s Shrunken Head in New York City, and Founding Farmers in Washington, D.C.

Reviews

Zombie Horde is a marvelous compendium of fabulous and fascinating recipes. Tiki bars are near and dear to my heart, and I’m grateful for David J. Montgomery’s work.”
–Michael Ruhlman, best-selling author of The Soul of a ChefThe French Laundry Cookbook, and Ruhlman’s Twenty

“Good (Tiki) god! I had no idea there are so many new versions of this potion out there — and most by reputable bartenders. A good thing that someone collected them all, or else there would have to be a mid-21st century Jeff Berry (a “Son of the Beachbum”?) to dig all THOSE up! Zombie Horde will give the drink a whole new level of recognition. The Zombie is ALIVE!”
–Sven Kirsten, author of The Book of Tiki and father of the modern Tiki revival

“The Zombie’s family tree is immense, gnarly, and (in parts) wholly fabricated from unnatural elements. Also, it has many dead limbs. Professor Cocktail has done us all a favor by taking on the pruning, grafting, and fertilizing, and by eschewing all topiary embellishment. A great addition to your cocktail library.”
–Wayne Curtis, author of And a Bottle of Rum: A History of the New World in 10 Cocktails

“As I’ve said before, Tiki drinks occupy a space somewhere in the Venn diagram of the American psyche where escapism, irony, and kitsch overlap. No Tiki cocktail is more famous — or infamous — than the Zombie. It is proof that mixology treads a thin line between insanity and genius. Attempting to chart the history and evolution of the Zombie feels like a new level of madness. But David J. Montgomery has survived to admirably tell the tale in this entertaining, insightful ode to a drink that will knock you on your ass.”
–Jason Wilson, author of Boozehound: On The Trail of the Rare, the Obscure, and the Overrated in Spirits and the wine series Planet of the Grapes

“A thoroughly researched, dare I say exhaustive, compendium of this immortal (pun intended) and classic cocktail. It’s a drink like the Zombie that makes it impossible for me to reconcile my vocation (trademark attorney) with my avocation (cocktail geek). Indeed, in no other field do you find such rampant disregard for the sanctity of a name. But there is great chaos under the cocktail heavens and, as Zombie Horde so ably shows, the situation is excellent. Highly entertaining! Hats off to Professor Cocktail, Corpse Compiler No. 1!”
–Philip Greene, author of To Have and Have Another: A Hemingway Cocktail Companion and co-founder of The Museum of the American Cocktail

About the Author

David J. Montgomery mixes his love of history and alcohol into one potent concoction through his work at ProfessorCocktail.com. He is also a nationally renowned book critic and commentator on writing and the publishing industry. Mr. Montgomery is an emeritus columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times and The Daily Beast, and has written for USA TodayThe Washington PostPhiladelphia Inquirer, and other fine publications. His short fiction has appeared both online and in print. A former Professor of History, he lives in the Washington, D.C. suburbs with his wife and two daughters.

Categories
Books Tiki

Coming Soon: Professor Cocktail’s Zombie Horde

Publishing on October 8, 2013 via Amazon.com is my new ebook, Professor Cocktail’s Zombie Horde: Recipes for the World’s Most Lethal
Drink
.

Zombie cover final sm
Here is what Tiki legend Sven Kirsten had to say about it:

“Good (Tiki) god! I had no idea there are so many new
versions of this potion out there — and most by reputable bartenders. A good
thing that someone collected them all, or else there would have to be a
mid-21st century Jeff Berry (a “Son of the Beachbum”?) to dig all
THOSE up! Zombie Horde will give the
drink a whole new level of recognition. The Zombie is ALIVE!”

–Sven Kirsten, author of The Book of Tiki and father of the modern Tiki revival

And here is the complete description:

One of the world’s most sublime drinking pleasures, the
Zombie is the cocktail that launched a thousand Tiki bars. A sweet and sour mélange
of citrus, spice, and lots of rum, the Zombie stands as one of the most
significant cocktail creations of the past century. Invented by Don the
Beachcomber in 1934, it took the world by storm, and soon became the
quintessential Tiki drink. Often imitated but never duplicated, the Zombie
appeared on the menu of thousands of bars and restaurants around the world.

In this debut book by David J. Montgomery, Professor
Cocktail leads you on a journey through the history of the Zombie, starting with
its humble beginnings in Hollywood, and following it as it evolved and spread over
the decades.

Zombie Horde
includes recipes from notable bartenders like Trader Vic, David Embury, Salvatore
Calabrese, and Dale DeGroff, as well as the formulas for the Zombies served at
famous Tiki joints like the Tonga Room in San Francisco, Mahiki in London, and
the Luau Room in San Diego. It also includes recent cocktails that were
inspired by the Zombie, with offerings from Martin Cate (Smuggler’s Cove), Brian
Miller (Death & Company), Allan Katz (Caña Rum Bar), Brian Dressel (Midnight Cowboy), Frank Cisneros (Bourgeois
Pig Brooklyn), Joseph Swifka (La Descarga), and
Audrey Saunders (Pegu Club).

To top it all off, Zombie Horde showcases three brand-new
drinks — from Jim Meehan (PDT), Tom Brown (Hogo), and Jeff Kinder (Distil) — that are appearing in print for the very first time.

About the Author

David J. Montgomery mixes his love of
history and alcohol into one potent concoction through his work at
ProfessorCocktail.com. He is also a nationally renowned book
critic and commentator on writing and the publishing industry. Mr. Montgomery
is an emeritus columnist for the Chicago
Sun-Times
and The Daily Beast,
and has written for USA Today, The Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, and other fine
publications. His short fiction has appeared both online and in print. A former
Professor of History, he lives in the Washington, D.C. suburbs with his wife
and two daughters.

Categories
Books Tiki

Professor Cocktail’s Zombie Horde: New Recipe Book Coming Soon

Coming soon to Amazon is my first ebook: Professor Cocktail’s Zombie Horde: Recipes for the World’s Most Lethal Drink.

It will contain over 50 recipes for the famed Tiki cocktail, drawn from across the decades and around the world. Professor Cocktail’s Zombie Horde will guide you from the Zombie’s creation by Don the Beachcomber in 1934, all the way to the present day.

You’ll be able to see how it was made back then, how it was made over the years, and how it’s being made today. And then you’ll get to try the recipes yourself!

It will also feature recipes for Zombie-inspired cocktails and variants, allowing you to broaden your mixological repertoire — and enjoy some very tasty cocktails.

Here’s a sneak peek at the cover. Let me know what you think!

p.s. If you’re a professional bartender and would like to contribute a recipe to this collection, please
let me know
.

 

Zombie cover final sm

Categories
Rum Tiki Videos

Video: The Mahiki Zombie (aka How To Set Your Bar on Fire)

I'm currently putting together an ebook of Zombie recipes, and one of the people kind enough to share his recipe with me was Georgi Radev of Mahiki, a popular Tiki bar in London.

Georgi also shared this video demonstration of how they prepare and serve their version of the Zombie. Don't try this at home! (Seriously: don't try this.)

Categories
Cocktails Mixology Rum Tiki Videos

Video: How to Make the Perfect Mai Tai

A demonstration from Val, a bartender at the recently closed PKNY Tiki bar in New York City. He has a somewhat unusual method regarding the shaking and the ice, although what he's doing makes sense. I tend to prefer a little less lime juice in mine — 3/4 ounce — but I'm not as big a fan of tartness as some people.*

*Is "tartness" a word?

Categories
Cocktail of the Day Drink Recipes Rum Tiki

Cocktail of the Day: Cherry Daiquiri

Cherry daiquiriCherry Daiquiri

2 oz Shellback Silver Rum
1 oz Lime Juice
1 oz Simple Syrup
2 Maraschino Cherries
1 tsp Maraschino Cherry Syrup

Muddle the cherries in the bottom of a mixing glass along with the juice and syrups. Add the rum and shake vigorously with ice. Strain into a glass filled with crushed ice.

I used Shellback Silver Rum for this because it has a sweet, vanilla taste that really complements the cherry. But you can substitute any silver rum.