What a fun few days we’ve had planning our 2nd annual Hawaiian luau and tiki cocktail party event. Last year chef Ian dreamed up this little island confab to bring us a taste of his “aloha” culture (Ian grew up in Hawaii). It was such a hit that everyone demanded a re-run. Ever the innovative bunch, someone suggested we ramp up Ian’s awesome food this year with the addition of fresh exotic tiki cocktails. Well, sommelier/director of operations, and chief mixologist, Todd Thompson has been on a tear creating and recreating the truly great classic tiki libations for the event.
The origin of tiki drinks can be traced to the late 1930′s, when Earnest Raymond Beaumont Gantt, an ex-bootlegger, and Victor Jules Bergeron, a sandwich-shop proprietor, opened competing bars in Southern California, both decorated with Polynesian gewgaws and tchotchkes. They became known, respectively, as Don the Beachcomber and Trader Vic.The point of tiki was to transport you . Tiki was about escape.
Originally, tiki drinks featured tropical juices, exotic rums, and a variety of flavorings and libations snatched from the South Seas. Over time, though, mass popularity of these recipes resulted in mass production. Corners were cut. Canned juices replaced fresh, mixes replaced housemade syrups, quality rums were all but forgotten. But at fire, tiki is all about bringing quality ingredients back. If you think of tiki as the cocktail world’s sugary uncouth cousin then you haven’t enjoyed the good stuff. Tiki drinks can be as sophisticated as a manhattan, as refined as a classic martini.
In the interest of quality control, I your humble blogger, sat down with said mixologist, Todd, to check out some of the amazing drinks he is serving at the luau. Said mixologist, had me tasting all sorts of beautiful and delicious concoctions we’re now featuring in our Summer cocktail collection too. I was wowed by the fresh fruity flavors, the seamless integration of tastes and yes… those sly subtile flavors that kept me guessing. (Tough work but you know..). After our long winters, don’t we all yearn for sunny potions that transport us to other places…like ……equatorial islands?
As you might expect, as in everything we serve, we are inspired by the best ingredients the seasons have to offer. Our juices are freshly squeezed or extracted so we’re incorporating loads of local farm fresh produce. Todd insists on banishing any packaged pre-made nasty components. So we are crafting many of our own cocktail ingredients, such as fresh herbal infusions, flavored simple syrups, and infused spirits. Every cocktail is fresh, hand crafted, and made from scratch. Great cocktails offer an explosion of flavor, sometimes even more intense than that of food. We want to re-introduce the true spirit of the cocktail, with these lively full flavored libations. We’ll offer five different tiki classics at the luau plus an interesting assortment of craft beers (and bottled Heinekens… apparently it’s traditional).
So grab your Hawaiian shirt, turn up the Don Ho and reserve your seat now for our 2nd annual authentic Hawaiian luau and tiki cocktail party event. Thirsty anyone? For menu and details use this link.
Post and photos by Amy Viny