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LIVE From Tiki Oasis: The Zen Tiki Lounge Podcast


What do you get when you combine Tiki Oasis, a Tiki Bar, flamingos with mini sombreros, and Tequila Tiki cocktails?

Zen Tiki Lounge Podcast episode 223 Tiki Oasis 2011: South of the Border.

Saturday, I was lucky enough to be able to attend the live recording of Zen Tiki Lounge’s Tiki Oasis episode.  Since that episode was released today I wanted to tell you all about it right away.

ZTL is a weekly podcast that is hosted by Sunshine Tiki, and features the “ladies of the lounge”, Starshine, Kalani, and Pumpkin.  Each week they discuss Tiki, Zen, current events, and just about anything else that might come up when drinking at a Tiki bar.  They also feature a Tiki drink each week.  I’ve been listening to these guys for about a year now, and every episode makes me laugh!

Also, if you listen to ZTL 223 Tiki Oasis 2011: South of the Border you will hear yours truely.  I’m the one from Wisconsin who runs into Michelle Bachmann every week at the Piggly Wiggly. Confused? Listen to the podcast! 🙂  You’ll also hear about some of the highlights from Tiki Oasis. One word of caution, this podcast isn’t for the little ones.

Stay tuned there will be more coming soon from my Tiki Oasis report. 



Lemon Hart, Old Monk, and Rum Jumbie Rum Reviews


This past weekend I was down in Illinois, and I picked up three rums that can be harder to find in different parts of the US.  I found Lemon Hart 151, Old Monk, and Rum Jumbie. I was so excited to get them that I wanted to share them with you.  In the video I do a little rum tasting and share my thoughts and review of these rums.  Let me know what you think of these rums in the comments section below.



Trader Vic Grog – A Tiki Adventure


Trader Vic’s has been in the news a lot lately.  In less than a week one location closed and another one opened.  On Thursday, July, 28th Trader Vic’s Portland opened it’s doors.  Then, Saturday, July, 30th Trader Vic’s Scottsdale had it’s last day of operation.  All of this right on the heels of Trader Vic’s Chicago silently closing.  All this news leaves Tiki fans wondering, what is going on with Trader Vic’s?  When debating about the future of Trader Vic’s  what better cocktail to sip than Trader Vic Grog. So the next cocktail in my series of Tiki Cocktail Adventures is Trader Vic’s Grog.

Trader Vic Grog is a nice little cocktail, that can be found in Beach Bum Berry Remixed.  It’s made with Fresh Lemon Juice, Pineapple Juice, Passion Fruit Syrup, Dark Jamaican Rum, and Angostura Bitters.  It’s a pretty simple cocktail to make.  

I would encourage you to do the mint garnish on this one.  It adds a really nice aroma to the cocktail.  When you raise the glass to your lips the wonderful aroma of lemon and mint, makes you relax and sigh with relief, because you know it is Tiki Time!  The pineapple, lemon, and passion fruit compliment the dark rum very nicely.  The first one I made I used Coruba Dark Rum.  Coruba is my favorite dark rum.  It has nice brown sugar, and molasses flavors.  It is smoother than Meyers. My second I had with Meyers, and that worked well in this cocktail too.

Trader Vic Grog isn’t too sour, and it isn’t too sweet.  It’s a great balance of flavors.  If you are just starting out your Tiki bar this would be a great cocktail to start with, because you don’t need a lot of ingredients.  All the ingredients are easy to get too.  The passion fruit syrup might be the only one you have to order online.

And what do I think about all the changes with Trader Vic’s you ask?  Well,  I’m a little worried about their future.  They’ve had quite a few locations close recently.  All of the ones that closed were only around for a couple years.  Trader Vic’s Las Vegas opened in 2007 and closed in 2010.  Trader Vic’s Dallas ended their 4 year run in 2010.  Trader Vic’s Chicago closed this summer after only being open 2 1/2 years in it’s Gold Coast location, and the Scottsdale location closed last week after five years.  

Initial reviews of the new Portland location are good.  So I hope they can keep up the momentum for the long haul there.  I hope that there is a long term vision that is being executed. What do you think?

So, here’s to you Trader Vic’s I wish you long term success. Cheers! 


P.S. If you are looking for the complete Hai Karate recipe check out Beach Bum Berry Remixed, or if you are really desperate Google it.  I just don’t give out the recipe since Beachbum Berry worked hard to put the book together. Who am I to give away the recipes.

Hai Karate – A Tiki Adventure


It has been a while since I last posted my take on one of the cocktails from Beach Bum Berry Remixed Tiki Cocktail book.  This summer has been going by really fast!  Last night, I was out shopping for some ingredients so that I could try some of Kahuna Kevin’s recipes from his book Why is the Rum Gone?.  It turns out it can be difficult tracking down some of the syrups he uses in Wisconsin.  So, I’ll have to order online.  

I did pick up some maple syrup.  That opened up a few new cocktails for me.  It is so fun how you can slowly build on your bar stock over time.  If you start with just the ingredients to make one Tiki cocktail you don’t have to spend a ton of money.  Then, slowly pick up new ingredients.  Before you know it you’ll have a well stocked bar.  I like to pick up one new ingredient each week, but you don’t even need to go that fast.  Sometimes I get a rum; other times it is a syrup. I just look through Remixed and see what looks good next, and see what I’m missing. 

After getting some maple syrup I was able to make the Hai Krate.  The Hai Karate was invented by Beachbum Berry circa 1999.  This cocktail is made with fresh lime juice, pineapple juice, orange juice, maple syrup, Angostura bitters, and amber Virgin Islands rum.  I used Cruzan.

The first thing you taste are the tart citrus flavors from the orange juice and the lime juice.  The tartness melts into pineapple flavors.  The maple syrup give the drink a nice hint of sweetness, and a sweet aftertaste remains for a few moments.  

This cocktail was a little on the sour side.  I like sour drinks so I enjoyed this one.  The tartness can vary based on your citrus too.  Sometimes limes are sweeter and sometimes they are more sour.  The maple syrup gave a little twist to the normal sweet components that come from simple syrup.

 If you are looking for the complete Hai Karate recipe check out Beach Bum Berry Remixed, or if you are really desperate Google it.  I just don’t give out the recipe since Beachbum Berry worked hard to put the book together. Who am I to give away the recipes.



A Tiki Murder Mystery, “Mai Tai One On”, Available This Month

Book one in the Tiki Goddess Series is being released this month.  Mai Tai One On is the story of a murder that takes place at a Tiki bar on Kauai.  thetikigoddess.com describes the story as, 

“Six months ago if anyone would have told Em Johnson she’d end up divorced, broke, and running the dilapidated Tiki Goddess Bar on the magical North Shore of Kauai she would have told them to shove a swizzle stick up their okole.

As if all that isn’t bad enough, when an obnoxious neighbor with a grudge is found dead in the Goddess luau pit, suspicion falls on Em and the rest of the Goddess staff. With the help of a quirky dance troupe of over-the-hill Hula Maidens, Em and the cast of characters must ban together to find the killer and solve the mystery before the next pupu party.”

The first chapter is available at thetikigoddes.com to read

Jimmy Buffett: A Tropical Party in Rural Wisconsin


Alpine Valley Music TheatreJimmy Buffett was in Wisconsin last night for his annual concert at Alpine Valley.  Let’s Tiki was there to check out the tailgating before the concert. 

The concert was held at Alpine Valley Music Theatre in East Troy, WI.  The venue is an open air amplitheatre with about 7,000 seats, and a lawn that can hold up to 30,000.  The Theatre is located about 40 minutes south west of Milwaukee, and is equidistant from Milwaukee, Chicago, and Rockford.  Jimmy Buffett played the inagural season at Alpine Valley in 1977,  and has played there every year since 1995, with the exception of 2005.  Bufett is one of the favorite concerts that people look forward to every year at Alpine Valley.

Tailgating before the event is as much a part of the event as the concert itself.  Buffett fans start to arrive very early on the day of the event.  I spoke with some people who arrived at 10:00 AM.  There are many people who just party in the lot, and never even make it in to the concert.  One reason people arrive so early is to set up camp.  There are some very elaborate Tiki bars, and tropical oases that are assembled for the day.  Everyone brings plenty of food, plenty of drink, and grills out.

After arriving, we set up our camp for the day and enjoyed some Barbados Punch. I got the recipe from Rum Shop Ryan.  It calls for:

  • 1 pint light rum
  • 1 pint dark rum
  • 3 pints pineapple juice
  • 1 pint mango nectar
  • 8 bananas 
  • 1 cup sugar
  • juice of 8 limes.
  • 1 block of ice or ice cubes

Slice up the 8 bananas, and put them in a blender or food processor with the sugar and lime juice.  Blend the ingredients together until smooth.  Then, add the rums and remaining juices.  Put the punch in a bowl with a block of ice.  In my case I put the punch in a cooler jug for easy transportation.  

This is a delicious rum punch.  It has a really nice banana flavor, and is complimented by the dark rum, pineapple juice, and lime juice.  I found this punch to taste best when the ice started diluting the punch a little.   The bananas make this a little bit on the thicker side; almost like a smoothie.  

After a couple drinks we walked around visiting other partiers.  We ran into some friends, KristinGuy, and Lisa.  We shared some drinks and Let’s Tiki Stickers.  After that we wandered through the rows of cars and busses meeting other Buffett fans.  The atmosphere was like one enormous college party with all ages joining in on the fun.  Everyone, was cutting loose and having a great time.  We met some very nice ladies who shared Jello shots with us.  Saw a lot of great Tiki Bars, and even saw Santa and Mrs. Claus.  

We spent some time with Chip and his wife at Chip’s Bar.  He made some cocktails that really packed a punch.  Their specialty was the upside down Margarita.  

If you can ever make it to Alpine Valley for the Buffet Concert I would highly recommend it.  It is a beautiful venue out in the country.  You’ll be in for a wild and crazy time, and you are never too young our too old to enjoy the fun!



Rum Review: Ron de Jeremy


So I recently got a bottle of Ron de Jeremy Rum.  I know what you are thinking.  Yes, the rum is named after the adult film star Ron Jeremy.  When I think of rum the last thing I think about is Ron Jeremy.  However, when the rum came out this past spring, I was interested in trying the rum mainly because of the name.  I didn’t have very high expectations, but I thought at the very least it would be a fun conversation piece to have in my bar.  

After posting some reviews other people had written about the rum at news.LetsTiki.com the nice people at Ron de Jeremy contacted me and offered to send me a bottle.  I’m not one to turn down free rum.  So I said, “Send it my way!”

According, to rondejeremy.com the rum is a 7-year old rum from Panama.  The rum was created by Cuban Master Distiller Francisco “Don Pancho” Fernandez.  Don Pancho has been involved with may successful rum brands throughout the years.

First, I tried the rum neat, a.k.a. room temperature rum in a glass.  It had a nice buttery aroma with hints of vanilla and spice.  After taking a sip the first flavors were nice and buttery.  That was followed by a hint of vanilla and some spices; almost a warm cinnamon flavor came through.  The after taste wasn’t  quite as smooth as I’d like though.

Next, I tried it on the rocks.  On the rocks can change the flavor of a rum quite a bit, and this rum was no exception.  The buttery flavor was less intense and a nice oaky flavor came through.  The spiciness wasn’t quite as strong, and also the rum was a bit smoother.

Of course, I had to try the rum in a daiquiri.  I made just a simple daiquiri:

  • 1 oz Ron de Jeremy Rum
  • 1/2 oz fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 oz simple syrup

To make the daiquiri shake the ingredients together in a cocktail shaker, and pour strained into a champagne saucer or any small glass.  You can use any rum in this simple daiquiri.  It’s a great way to compare different rums.  

The Ron de Jeremy tasted great in the daiquiri.  It mixed nicely with the lime an sugar.  The buttery flavor still shone through; as well as the spices.  The rum made a nice daiquiri.  Overall, Ron de Jeremy is a nice rum, and I would recommend picking up a bottle.  I hope the name doesn’t turn people off.



How To Make A Cuba Libre

The Coast Lines & Tan Lines blog inspired today’s video.   The Cuba Libre was the original name for today’s popular Rum and Cola.  The cocktail was invented in Cuba around 1900 when American’s brought Coca Cola to Cuba. Cuba Libre, meaning “free Cuba”, was a popular saying in Cuba around that time because the country has just gained its independence.

In 1945 the Andrews Sisters helped the Rum and Coke gain popularity with their number two hit song, Rum and Coca Cola.  Check it out on Youtube.  It’s a fun little song to listen to while drinking your Cuba Libre.

A Rum and Coke make not seem very Tiki.  However, this cocktail did seem exotic at the time it was invented.  Most Rum and Cokes served today don’t come with a fresh lime wedge, but that is a key ingredient to the Cuba Libre.  I picked up some Key Limes for my Cuba Libre, but regular Persian limes work great too.

A key component to the original Cuba Libre was Coca Cola made with real sugar.  Here in the U.S. our Coke is made with High Fructose Corn Syrup.  So to get closer to the original Coke look for Mexican Coke at the grocery store.  The real sugar makes a difference.  The other key component is to use a rum like the one used around 1900 in Cuba. Since Cuban Rum isn’t available in the U.S. Havana Club is out.  As I understand it Bacardi Gold is the next closest thing.

To Make a Cuba Libre you will need:

  • 2 oz Havana Club or Bacardi Gold Rum
  • 1 Key lime or 2 lime wedges
  • 4 oz Mexican Coke (or Coke made with Sugar)

Cut the Key Lime in half and place it in the glass.  Muddle the key lime gently to squeeze some of the juice and also release the oils from the skin of the lime.  Next, add about 1 cup of ice to the glass. Add the rum, and then top with the Cola.  Stir and enjoy!

The Cuba Libre has a nice lime flavor to it and the Mexican Coke makes it a little sweeter.  The Mexican Coke tastes spicier than American coke, and it has a bit of an herbal flavor.  This is a refreshing little cocktail.



The Outrigger Cocktail – A Tiki Adventure


The next cocktail in my adventures through Beach Bum Berry Remixed is The Outrigger.  This little cocktail comes in at only 3 oz.  The Outrigger was invented by Beachbum Berry himself.  He was on a quest to find a rum alternative to the classic Sidecar.  Finding no existing recipes he developed one on his own, and the Outrigger was born.

The outrigger has three simple ingredients, Gold Barbados Rum, Triple Sec, and fresh squeezed lemon juice.  The ingredients are shaken with ice and then strained into a 3 oz cocktail glass that has been rimmed with sugar.  Sadly, I didn’t have quite the right cocktail glass.  So I used a Champaign flute.  As you can see from my picture it was way to big for the cocktail.  However, it still tasted good.  

Since the recipe calls for Barbados rum, I tried Cockspur Five Star Rum first. The Cockspur Five Star was a little to harsh for this cocktail.  The lemon flavors didn’t sit quite right with this rum.  On it’s own, Cockspur has nice hints of vanilla, and caramel to begin with.  Those flavors melt away to a buttery flavor, and the oak, from the barrels the rum was aged in, also comes through nicely.  So far so good….  Then, the finish, reveals flavors of racquet ball, and that’s where Cockspur looses me.  It is still a good rum.  It just isn’t quite right for cocktails where the flavors of the rum come through strong.  I’d imagine that Cockspur’s higher quality rums are better for sipping.

For my second attempt I used a local, Milwaukee, rum.  Roaring Dan’s Maple Flavored Rum.  This rum worked really well in the Outrigger.  The Roaring Dan’s was a lot smoother than the Cockspur.  The maple flavors come through very nicely.  The lemon and the maple flavors married together nicely in the Outrigger.  The Outrigger may not be my favorite Tiki cocktail, but I’m sure I’ll be having it again.  It’s a nice switch from a Daiquiri, but still in the same family.  

 If you are looking for the complete Outrigger recipe check out Beach Bum Berry Remixed , or if you are really desperate Google it.  I just don’t give out the recipe since Beachbum Berry worked hard to put the book together. Who am I to give away the recipes.



How To Make A Derby Daiquiri

The 137th running of the Kentucky Derby is today, Saturday, May 7th.  I won’t be drinking a mint julep as the Thoroughbreds make their sprint around the track.  Instead, I’ll be having a Derby Daiquiri.  After all, I need a Tiki cocktail to quench my thirst.

The Derby Daiquiri was invented at the the Mai Kai by one of their famous mixologists, Mariano Licudine.  The cocktail won a contest making it the official drink of the Florida Derby.  You can still get a Derby Daiquiri today at the Mai Kai.

A true  Daiquiri isn’t one of those syrupy frozen drinks that come out of one of those spinning machines.  A real daiquiri is rum, lime juice, and a little sugar.  The Derby Daiquiri expands on the formula slightly by adding orange juice.  This is one of the easiest Tiki cocktails to make.  

All you need is:

  • 1 oz Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
  • 1/2 oz Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
  • 1/2 oz Simple Syrup
  • 1 1/2 oz White Puerto Rican Rum

First, chill your cocktail glass.  The original Derby Daiquiri was served in a special glass, but a Champaign saucer or other small glass will work great.  To chill a glass add ice and a splash of water to the glass, and let it chill while you make the cocktail.

Combine the fresh squeezed orange juice, fresh squeezed lime juice, simple syrup, and white Puerto Rican rum in a cocktail shaker with some ice.  Shake the ingredients until the outside of the shaker gets frosty.  Next, dump the ice and water out of the glass, and strain the cocktail into the glass.

That’s all there is to it.  The Derby Daiquiri has a nice orange flavor, and a hint of lime.  There is a taste of Florida in every sip.  Just like the original Daiquiri the flavors of the rum come through.  So be sure to use a quality rum.  

Enjoy the derby and the daiquiri!