Aloha, and welcome to a new feature on The Atomic Grog spotlighting the latest news and information on the Polynesian Pop revival and wide world of retro-themed entertainment. Every Monday, look for a new blog post that previews what’s coming up and looks back at the highlights of the previous week. The Week in Tiki will attempt to cover all the major happenings across the world, with a focus on our home base, Florida and the U.S. East Coast. In keeping with the theme of the blog, look for updates on events, music, art, cocktails and culture, along with our obsession with Disney World. We’ll also celebrate our favorite spirit, rum, and spotlight a different cocktail recipe every week. Sit back, relax … and enjoy!
* Keep up with The Week in Tiki: Subscribe to the RSS feed
* Weekly features: Artist | Band/music | Tiki bar | Rum | Cocktail | Website | Events
THIS WEEK’S HIGHLIGHTS (Jan. 12-18, 2015)
The Hukilau to announce symposiums, ticket sales
Expect a major announcement this week from The Hukilau, the annual Tiki event in Fort Lauderdale that draws enthusiasts from around the world. Passes and tickets will be going on sale for the June 10-14 festivities, which for the first time will take place at the iconic Hyatt Regency Pier 66 hotel along with the historic Mai-Kai restaurant. [See previous story] The impressive entertainment lineup will include six symposiums on Tiki and Polynesian Pop history. More details will also be released on author and fledgling bar owner Jeff “Beachbum” Berry’s special event in the hotel’s signature Pier Top Lounge. The musical lineup will include an array of exotica, jazz, surf and rockabilly bands. For updates, check TheHukilau.com and the Facebook page. The Atomic Grog will also have full coverage.
New Tiki bar from Paul McGee
Lost Lake could be opening in Chicago’s Logan Square area as soon as this week. The new bar from Paul McGee, creator of Three Dots and a Dash (named Best New American Cocktail Bar at Tales of the Cocktail) quickly follows McGee’s departure in December from the restaurant group that ran his former establishment. According to an article in Chicago Eater, Lost Lake will have a more neighborhood feel with a capacity of around 75. McGee was quoted by Time Out Chicago as saying that the decor will be “more 1930s Tiki than 1960s Tiki.” The rotating drink list will have about 16 cocktails, including some of McGee’s favorites from Three Dots, but it will be “a little bit weirder,” he said. In addition, Martin Cate, owner of San Francisco’s acclaimed Smuggler’s Cove, will host a rum club that promises more than 275 selections.
LAST WEEK IN REVIEW (Jan. 5-11, 2015)
Here’s a look back at the highlights of the past week. Click here or scroll down for info on how to keep us in the loop.
DVC sales announced at Polynesian Village Resort
New concept art and details were released on the new time-share units at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, including the name for what’s likely to be the most-sought after destination: Bora Bora Bungalows. Current Disney Vacation Club (DVC) members can buy into the bungalows and “deluxe studios” beginning today (Jan. 12). General sales will begin Feb. 9. The first phase is scheduled to open April 1. It’s also rumored that Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto, the anticipated new Tiki bar based on Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar in the Disneyland Hotel, will be opening around the same time in the resort’s newly renovated Great Ceremonial House. [See previous coverage]
Each of the 20 bungalows will sleep eight and feature two bedrooms, two full bathrooms, a kitchen, washer and dryer, and large dining and living room spaces. Private decks will include a plunge pool and plenty of room to watch the Electrical Water Pageant and Magic Kingdom fireworks, complete with the soundtrack pumped through an individual sound system. But before you get too excited, “preliminary unconfirmed pricing information” estimates that guests will pay $2,100 to $2,900 per night, depending on season, for one of the bungalows.
* More coverage and photos: Orlando Sentinel | WDW News Today | WDW Magic
* The best site for continuous updates on the Polynesian Village refurbishment is Steve Seifert’s Tikiman Pages and accompanying Facebook page.
***** Tiki in the media *****
* 6 bars ushering in Tiki’s exciting 3rd wave (Food Republic)
* 10 Tiki bars you need to try right now (Zagat)
* The 9 best Tiki & surf bars in NYC (Gothamist)
* The best Tiki bars in Los Angeles (LAist)
* The 11 best spots for classic Tiki drinks in the Bay Area (SFist)
* Beach resort cocktails suck. Let’s make them brilliant (The Daily Beast)
ARTIST OF THE WEEK:
Jeff Chouinard, aka Surf Soul Tiki
Tampa-based Tiki carver Jeff Chouinard was not content to simply create his artwork for commercial purposes, not to mention his growing legion of fans. Chouinard recently went guerilla, making a name for himself by carving Tikis out of dead palm trees on public spaces all over the bay area. [Creative Loafing story | Tampa Bay Times video] For the most part, the powers that be don’t seem to mind, though Chouinard says he has an attorney ready to defend him just in case. Beyond this ballsy stunt, Chouinard has true talent as a carver, and one of best efforts was recently installed at The Mai-Kai in Fort Lauderdale (see photo). Chouinard epitomizes a new breed of artists with a can-do spirit and unlimited ambitions.
* Visit him at SurfSoulTiki.com and Facebook.
BAND/MUSIC OF THE WEEK: Stolen Idols
There’s been a surprising resurgence in classic exotia groups releasing great albums over the past several years, from Southern California to Japan to Sweden and beyond. One ensemble that sometimes doesn’t get the recognition it deserves is the Stolen Idols, toiling away in Tampa, far from the Tiki hotspots. Moonlight Offerings, the band’s first full-blown album, was released in May and easily stands alongside any top-tier contemporary jazz/exotica release. The 13 songs pay homage to mid-century masters Martin Denny and Les Baxter while also giving listeners a contemporary experience with plenty of original tunes. The cover art by Robert Jimenez is icing on the cake.
* Check them out at StolenIdols.com
TIKI BAR OF THE WEEK: Latitude 29
When Jeff “Beachbum” Berry says he created his own competition, he’s only half kidding. In the 17 years since he released his first of six books on Tiki cocktails and culture (Grog Log, 1998), the modest and self-deprecating author has inspired a generation of enthusiasts to literally raise the bar, totally changing the landscape of the modern cocktail world. Berry nows comes to the plate to show the kids how it’s done with his first establishment, Latitude 29 in the French Quarter of New Orleans. The intimate lounge and restaurant opened Nov. 12, serving “exotic drinks and chow” in a classy atmosphere reminiscent of Trader Vic’s. But this is not your father’s Tiki bar. Berry and his acclaimed staff are pushing the envelope with their cutting edge cocktails and food.
* Official websites: Latitude29Nola.com | BeachbumBerry.com
RUM OF THE WEEK: Havana Club Anejo 3 Años
With last month’s easing of U.S. sanctions against Cuba, there was a collective cheer from American rum lovers who have been denied easy access to some of the world’s best spirits for the past 54 years. Travelers will soon be able to return to the U.S. from Cuba with small amounts of rum, but in the meantime I was lucky enough to secure a bottle of this aged white rum from a third party in another country. Havana Club Anejo 3 Años has quickly become the best white rum in my bar, edging out the much cleaner and more traditional Havana Club Añejo Blanco. Three years of aging imparts this rum with great woody and spicy flavors, making it perhaps the best Daiquiri rum in the world. More at HavanaClub.com.
COCKTAIL OF THE WEEK: Classic Daiquiri
* 1 ounce fresh lime juice
* 3/4 ounce simple syrup
* 2 ounces silver Cuban or Cuban-style rum
Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Simple and elegant, this is one of the prototype cocktails from Cuba that inspired Trader Vic and other Tiki pioneers. It’s a great small sipper with a clean white rum, but even better with a flavorful aged rum such as Havana Club Anejo 3 Años. There’s much debate about the proper amount of lime juice and sugar to use, but feel free to adjust to your particular taste. I like the proportions above.
* Related recipe: Lost Cocktails of The Mai-Kai: Short-lived daiquiri disappared when Cuba fell
WEBSITE OF THE WEEK: 5 Minutes of Rum
A great new addition to the rum and Tiki cocktail scene when it launched in 2013, this site serves as the home base of Kevin Upthegrove’s informative podcast that serves up “notes on rum, a few minutes at a time.” His talks can actually stretch to 20 minutes or more, but there’s no filler and Upthegrove delivers some of the best insights and advice for rum drinkers and Tiki cocktail fans. All the podcasts are posted on the site, so you don’t necessarily need to subscribe in iTunes (though I recommend you do.) You’ll also find nice tips on proper tropical mixology tools and techniques, making homemade syrups, and a handy list of rums you can substitute in cocktails.
* Check it out: 5MinutesOfRum.com
SAVE THE DATE: Upcoming events
***** In Florida *****
* Jan. 24 – Revenge of the Tiki lV, Kreepy Tiki Lounge, Fort Lauderdale. Featuring 20+ bands, burlesque, car show, vendors.
* Jan. 24 – Planet of the Lost Tikis, Indian Harbor Beach. Live surf music, Tiki cocktails, artists, vendors, tiki carving.
* Feb. 20 – The Art of Tiki: A Cocktail Showdown, South Beach Wine & Food Festival, Miami Beach. Featuring Emeril Lagasse, Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, Martin Cate.
* Feb. 28 – Rockabilly Ruckus at Skipper’s Smokehouse, Tampa.
* March 14 – Dapper Day at Disney World.
* April 17-19 – Miami Rum Renaissance Festival. The ultimate rum festival and trade expo. [Past coverage]
* June 10-14 – The Hukilau at the Hyatt Regency Pier 66 hotel and The Mai-Kai restaurant, Fort Lauderdale. The world’s most authentic Tiki event. [Past coverage]
* Oct. 1-3 – Ohana: Luau by the Sea, Fort Lauderdale. A weekend of ohana in sunny South Florida.
***** On the Eastern Seaboard *****
* May 15-17 – Instro Summit, Chapel Hill, N.C.
* June 25-28 – Ohana: Luau At The Lake at The Tiki Resort, Lake George, N.Y.
* July 15-19 – Tales of the Cocktail, New Orleans, La.
***** Across the U.S. *****
* Feb. 12-22 – Modernism Week, Palm Springs, Calif.
* March 1 – Dapper Day at Disneyland.
* April 11-13 – Mojave Oasis, Newberry Springs, Calif.
* May 14-17 – Tiki Caliente, Palm Springs, Calif.
* July 10-12 – Tiki Kon, Portland, Ore., and Vancouver, Wash.
* Aug. 13-16 – Tiki Oasis, San Diego, Calif.
Keep us informed: If you have news or events to report, simply e-mail email@example.com and let us know what’s happening, along with any appropriate links. Feel free to send photos and flyers. You can also send a message via the Facebook page. If you post news or updates on a regular basis, let us know how to follow you (website, Facebook, Twitter, etc.)