The Book Cook

For a Fourth of July cocktail, try Tiki!

I can’t stop! Tiki drinks forever. That is how I feel. Especially now that summer is upon us and icy cold liquid refreshment is necessary. Seriously, I need the hydration! So I was pretty dang excited when Tiki Drinks: Tropical Cocktails for the Modern Bar came out. Authors Nicole Weston and Robert Sharp will teach you all you need to know, starting with reframing how you may think of these exotic drinks.

True tiki is not about syrupy, overly-sweet watered down drinks that some places may serve. Top-notch tiki is made from fresh juices, homemade syrups and liqueurs, and most of all rum, glorious rum. Rum is getting to be on par with wine in terms of what there is to learn about it. There are many types from many regions, but Weston and Sharp will break it down for you. You’ll learn the differences, from rum agricole to demerara rum.

Not that sweet sweet rum was always a glamorous option. From Tiki Drinks you’ll learn that of the reason rum got popular was because it was practical. During the Prohibition it was one of the most easily smuggled spirits. Once the 18th Amendment was repealed Americans could get their hands on all their usual drinks of choice, like whiskey,  but there was a surplus of rum. Supply and demand, people! Rum was suddenly cheap. Smart bar owners learned to make it sing, and tiki drinks were born. See now? Alcohol is educational. This book just taught us a lesson in both history and economics.

I also really enjoyed that this book gives recipes for some of the pricier and harder to find elements of a good tiki drink. Things like orgeat, which is an almond syrup of sorts can be made pretty easily. I also tried the recipe for the frequently pricy allspice dram and was highly pleased with the results. And now I simply have to try more recipes in the book so I can use it.

The recipe I chose for you does include orgeat, but that should be fairly easy to locate at any good liquor store. I included the brands of stuff I used to help you out finding them. It will be a wee bit of work to get this recipe together but I promise you it is well worth the effort. I took a tip from the picture in the book and garnished this with a flower, plus a sprig of mint. Those are technically optional but if you are going to put that much work into your drink it’s worth it. Go the full nine yards. Sip slowly. Trust me, you’ll need to. One of these is enough!

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