This post today is a Recipe Redux post, but let’s talk a little tiki first…
The annual dietetics conference that I usually go to each October is in Chicago this year. Let’s just say that I’m WAY more excited about visiting Three Dots and a Dash tiki bar than the actual conference. I’ve even already mapped the driving distance from my hotel to the venue. Only 5 minutes!
I LOVE TIKI BARS. Everyone who knows me knows that I love Disney theme parks and my coveted tiki time. Tiki encompasses a culture of drinks, music, artwork and atmosphere. Not to mention really cool drinking mugs that are works of art in their own right! Are you craving a mai tai yet? FYI, most mai tais that you order in regular bars are disgusting sugar bombs that taste absolutely nothing like the original created in the first half of the 20th century. The only juice in a mai tai should be lime juice!
Here’s my tiki trifecta of requirements that every bar has to hit to make it on my list:
- Tasty Cocktails: a tiki drink is not an icky sweet drink with 5 kinds of fruit juice in a plastic cup topped with an umbrella. Ok, so they might have umbrellas and cool garnishes, but traditional tiki drinks are very complex creations with layers of flavor. Multiple types of rum or other liqueurs are common. You’ll also find that many have spice flavors such as cinnamon and falernum, which is a concoction featuring multiple ingredients including cloves, almonds and lime.
- Atmosphere: theming is super important! I want to feel transported to a tropical destination, filled with plenty of mid-century modern touches and polynesian pop culture. And, the darker the bar, the better.
- Music: I like a combination of relaxing Hawaiian music along with a genre known as Exotica, which is almost like tropical jazz with squawking birds, drums, chimes, ocean and jungle sounds from the 1950s and 1960s!
As you can see, my tiki time is about an overall experience that takes me away from total reality.
Some of my fave tiki bars are:
- Frankie’s Tiki Room, Las Vegas (this is usually our driving force for any Vegas trip)
- Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar at the Disneyland Hotel
- Tonga Hut, North Hollywood
- Tiki Ti, Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles
- Pagan Idol, San Francisco
- The Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar at the Fairmont San Francisco
- Rumba, Seattle
- Bars to visit next: Smugglers Cove (San Francisco), Tonga Hut (Palm Springs), Bootlegger Tiki (Palm Springs), and Three Dots and a Dash (Chicago)
So, why am I writing about tiki time? Because this month’s Recipe Redux is all about drinks! Of course when I read the description, my mind went straight to cocktails. I generally don’t drink at home, but wanted to create a lightened up version of a tiki-style cocktail. Made with fresh mint, cinnamon simple syrup, POG, rum, bitters and club soda, my Westwood Wahine is a refreshing summer cocktail. This is the type of drink that I enjoy outside or preferably next to a pool!
To lighten the drink up, I tried to keep the simple syrup to an absolute minimum and didn’t go overboard on the fruit juice. I really wanted to add multiple fruit juices, so by using the POG (pineapple-orange-guava juice), I was able to add multiple fruit flavors and only need 1 container of juice. I added another flavor layer by throwing in just a dash of bitters. It’s also not quite as strong in the booze department as some typical tiki drinks. Adding fizzy water to top it off creates more of a refreshing, drinkable cooler.
Light and refreshing, this cocktail is great for lounging on a beautiful sunny day!
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup water
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 4 mint leaves
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon simple syrup
- 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 ounce white rum
- 1 ounce POG (pineapple, orange guava juice)
- 1 dash bitters
- Enough ice to fill up a 8 ounce glass 3/4 of the way up ( a large handful)
- 1 ounce sparkling water or club soda
- Combine the sugar, water and cinnamon sticks in a saucepan.
- Bring mixture up to a boil and boil for 1 minute.
- Remove from heat and let cinnamon sticks steep for 2 hours.
- Remove sticks and store simple syrup in an airtight container in the fridge
- Muddle the mint leaves in the bottom of a shaker. Add the cinnamon simple syrup, lime juice, rum, POG, bitters and ice. Shake for 10 seconds and pour into a 8 ounce glass.
- Top with the sparkling water or club soda and give a light stir to combine.