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

Categories: Booze Hound
zombie.jpeg
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
.

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Location Info

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Mai-Kai

3599 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale, FL

Category: Music

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