Merry Tiki Christmas
The Rum Barrel
First off, Tiki culture is not real. It is a “play-like” collection of drinks, food, interior design and accessories based on the popular notion of what the culture is in the South Pacific.
New Orleans had an outpost of Tiki at the ain’t-dere-no-mo’ Pontchartrain Beach. The Bali Hai restaurant was a gem and a local favorite for cuisine warmed over a small Sterno burner on the table accompanied by rum cocktails laden with fresh fruit, topped with small, highly decorated paper umbrellas. Great fun.
The drinks, with romantic names like Mai-Tai, Navy Grog, and Missionary’s Downfall, were served in all manner of cup, chalice, pottery and glass. The mish-mash was fun and the drinks were crazy-good.
Tiki still lives in the heart of the world’s leading proponent of Tiki culture, Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, author and proprietor of Latitude 29 bar and restaurant, in the Quarter (where else?).
Jeff’s acolyte behind the bar is this year’s New Orleans Magazine Mixologist of the Year, Kimberly Patton-Bragg, and she suggests we Deck the Tiki Halls during the Holiday Season.
1 ounce fresh lime juice
1 ounce grapefruit juice
1 ounce orange juice
1 ounce unsweetened pineapple juice
1 ounce honey syrup (1 part honey dissolved in 1 part warm water; let cool)
1 ounce light Puerto Rican rum
1 ounce gold Jamaican rum
2 ounces aged Demerara rum
Teaspoon St. Elizabeth allspice liqueur
6 drops (1/8 teaspoon) Herbsaint
6 drops (1/8 teaspoon) grenadine
Dash Angostura Bitters
1 cup crushed ice
All ingredients, except the ice, into a blender. Blend at high speed for no more than 5 seconds. Pour into a ceramic rum barrel or a good-sized snifter. Add ice cubes to fill.
Garnish: mint, fresh pineapple, and an edible purple orchid. Umbrella optional.
Latitude 29, 321 N. Peters St., 609-3811, Latitude29NOLA.com.
Created by Donn Beach, aka Don the Beachcomber, c. 1948, as served at Latitude 29