This week’s highlights are Miami Rum Fest Cocktail Week and Miami Rum Renaissance Festival. We also have a preview of Tiki Mondays With Miller’s Spring Equinox Edition, plus news on June’s Ohana: Luau at the Lake selling out. Weekly features spotlight artist Doug Horne, website Inu a Kena, surf guitar legend Dick Dale, and Chicago’s Lost Lake. The rum of the week, Plantation Original Dark, is featured in Trader Vic’s Tutu Rum Punch.
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Miami Rum Festival and Cocktail Week is here
The seventh annual Miami Rum Renaissance Festival and second annual Miami Rum Fest Cocktail Week are in full swing this week as some of South Florida’s top bars host nightly events and enthusiasts gather for weekend grand tastings at the Doubletree by Hilton Miami Airport Convention Center.
The Cocktail Week events are free. Check MiamiCocktailWeek.com for dates, times and venues. Tickets for the convention center main events are $75 for Saturday, $50 for Sunday, and $100 for a three-day VIP pass, which includes Friday’s International Trade Expo for industry representatives. Note that tickets must be purchased in advance via MiamiRumFest.com or by phone at (877) 855-3378. No tickets will be sold at the door.
This year’s focus is new rums: 35 are making their U.S. debut, and another 28 are making their Miami Rum Festival debut. Nearly 200 expressions will be available for tasting at the convention center, where you can also learn about rum at 10 seminars by industry experts and scholars. There’s also live music and entertainment, island lifestyle vendors and interactive cocktail demonstrations.
Tiki Mondays With Miller: Spring Equinox Edition
The premiere Tiki cocktail event in New York City, Tiki Mondays With Miller, is back with a Spring Equinox Edition on Monday, April 20. Miller, fresh off his recent victory in “The Art of Tiki: A Cocktail Showdown” at February’s South Beach Wine & Food Festival, admits that he’s a month late (the first day of Spring was March 20), but we’ll give him a pass after looking at his lineup of spirits for the bash at East Village cocktail bar Pouring Ribbons.
Look for El Dorado rum, Yaguara cachaça, Coruba rum, Captain Morgan, Zacapa rum and Heaven Hill Distillery products to all be featured in drinks by Miller and his able crew of Tiki pirates. The mayhem starts at 6 p.m. and lasts until 2 a.m. Be forewarned: According to the Facebook event, sarongs aren’t mandatory but are highly encouraged.
Coming in June: You can catch Miller at The Hukilau in Fort Lauderdale on June 10-14 . He’ll be pouring cocktails with fellow Tiki cocktail trailblazers Beachbum Berry, Martin Cate and Paul McGee at the Tiki Tower Takeover and joining forces with Berry for the symposium “Brigands, Barons & Beachcombers: The Many Faces of Planter’s Punch.”
* The Atomic Grog’s preview of The Hukilau
Ohana: Luau at the Lake sold out
If you haven’t already made plans to attend Ohana: Luau at the Lake this June in upstate New York, you’re probably out of luck. Just a little more than two months after tickets went on sale for the June 25-28 event, organizers announced that the only way to attend is to sign up for a waiting list on the official website and hope someone cancels. There will be no single-day or “day of” ticket sales.
This is the seventh annual Ohana event at The Tiki Resort in Lake George, N.Y., featuring three days of music, cocktails and ‘ohana in a classic Polynesian setting. It’s one of the signature events of the Fraternal Order of Moai, the Tiki and Polynesian Pop social organization with chapters across the country that hold regular fund-raising events for charities such as the Easter Island Foundation. Last year’s event raised $7,000 for the Easter Island Foundation Scholarship program.
The Tiki Resort, a 1950s era Polynesian-themed motor inn, will host hundreds of revelers including carvers, artists, musicians and vendors coming together for room parties, a cocktail contest, mini golf contest, an authentic luau, and more. Performers include Los Straitjackets, The Neanderthals, Waitiki, The Outta Sites, Men in Gray Suits, 9th Wave, and MC Jet Sterling. See photos and keep up with the festivities on the Facebook page.
***** Links of the week*****
* Here’s a ‘beach bum’ who’s serious about one thing: Tiki cocktails (Washington Post)
* 7 original, old-school Tiki bars you must visit now (Orbitz)
* The world’s 10 best Tiki bars (The Spirits Business)
* This guy says he can make 20-year-old rum in 6 days (Wired)
* Why the world is obsessed with midcentury modern design (Curbed)
* Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room Disney Scene Investigation (WDW Radio podcast)
ARTIST OF THE WEEK: Doug Horne
Based in Long Beach, Calif., Doug Horne has been creating distinctive Tiki art for the past 15 years. Also working under the Swamp Fire Lounge banner, Horne is best known for his colorful and surreal paintings, along with some unique Tiki mugs. Horne designed the Tiki Caliente 7 event mug, which was sculpted by Eeekum Bookum. Also be sure to check out the limited edition prints in his Etsy shop.
* Visit Doug: Facebook | Etsy | Ebay
* See past artists of the week
WEBSITE OF THE WEEK: Inu a Kena
Make no mistake: Josh Miller’s Inu a Kena (Hawaiian for “drink until satisfied”) specializes in one thing: Rum reviews. But he does that one thing very, very well. Miller, based in San Francisco, has his finger on the pulse of the modern rum and cocktail revival, posting insightful reviews, plus classic and Tiki cocktail “mixology madness.” Among the best features are the light rum, dark rum, and coconut rum “challenges,” where he ranks his favorite brands in each category.
* Inuakena.com | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
* Interview with Josh Miller (The Rum Lab)
* See past websites of the week
BAND/MUSIC OF THE WEEK: Dick Dale
The fact that Dick Dale – famously known as the King of the Surf Guitar – is still out on the road and touring at age 77, after 60 years as a professional musician, is miraculous. But when you consider he’s beaten cancer multiple times and continues to blow away guitarists half his age, it’s more like divine intervention. Dale, who turns 78 on May 4, is touring Florida this week, with dates in Gainesville, Melbourne, Fort Lauderdale and Jacksonville. His influence is undeniable, with nearly every instrumental surf band that followed his late ’50s debut lifting elements of his sound and style. Dale’s signature song, Miserlou, became the theme song of the 1990s surf revival thanks to its inclusion in the movie Pulp Fiction. But Dale’s true legacy may be his perseverance and personal strength, both on stage and off.
* Official website: DickDale.com
* Buy Dick Dale music on Amazon.com
On The Atomic Grog:
Exculsive Dick Dale interview: ‘I had both feet in the grave’
Live photos: April 2013 | April 2012 | June 2011
* See past bands/music of the week
TIKI BAR OF THE WEEK: Lost Lake
After helping create Three Dots and a Dash – one of the country’s top bars, Tiki or otherwise – in 2013, master barman Paul McGee hooked up with new partners late last year to launch a new passion project in Chicago. It didn’t take long for Lost Lake, a homage to the pre-Tiki tropical getaways of the 1930s, to become one of Chicago’s top Tiki and craft cocktail bars after opening in January. Be prepared to wait on busy nights, when loyal customers line up to get into the intimate bar, which shares space with American-Chinese takeout counter Thank You. The drinks taste just as good as they look, with inventive originals appearing alongside Don the Beachcomber classics such as the Cobra’s Fang. It’s fair to say that McGee is the driving force behind the Tiki cocktail revival in Chicago. Next week’s Chicago Area Tiki Tour will make stops at both Lost Lake and Three Dots and a Dash.
* Lost Lake: Official website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
* Past Atomic Grog coverage: Lost Lake opens in Chicago | Lost Lake cocktail recipe
* See past Tiki bars of the week
Don’t miss: Paul McGee will be mixing up cocktails with fellow Tiki bar luminaries Martin Cate (Smuggler’s Cove, San Francisco), Jeff “Beachbum” Berry (Latitude 29, New Orleans), and Brian Miller (Tiki Mondays With Miller, New York City) at the Tiki Tower Takeover, a special event on Thursday, June 11, at The Hukilau in Fort Lauderdale. Click here for tickets and more info. [Preview]
RUM OF THE WEEK:
Plantation Original Dark
The venerable boutique rums from Plantation regularly dominate rum festival awards around the world. At last year’s Miami Rum Festival, the brand owned by France’s Cognac Ferrand won a festival-best eight “best in class” or “gold” ribbons. One of the big winners was Plantation Original Dark, a blend from Trinidad & Tobago that took home the best in class award for aged rum. The award was well-deserved. The base rum is aged 3 to 5 years in the Caribbean, then blended with a heavier 8-year-old rum. It’s then shipped to France and aged for up to 18 months in oak cognac barrels, resulting in a very smooth and flavorful rum, on par with the best dark Jamaican rums. Funky and savory, this can do double-duty as a sipper and mixer. Plantation is back at this year’s Miami Rum Fest with eight rums, including Original Dark. It’s almost unfair to the competition. UPDATE: A new Original Dark that adds Jamaican rum to the blend hit the market in 2016 (see photo). It imparts a slight bit of funkiness to the mix that makes this standout rum even better.
* Past rum of the week: Plantation Jamaican
* See all past rums of the week
COCKTAIL OF THE WEEK: Tutu Rum Punch
(From Trader Vic’s Tiki Party! Cocktails and Food to Share with Friends)
* 2 ounces dark rum
* 3/4 ounce white grapefruit juice
* 3/4 ounce unsweetened pineapple juice
* 1/2 ounces fresh lemon juice
* 1/2 ounce falernum
Pulse blend with 1 cup crushed ice for a few seconds, then pour into a double old-fashioned glass. Add more crushed ice to fill. Garnish with a rock candy stick and mint sprig.
The juices create a sweet and tart base, but the rum and falernum are the stars in this classic Trader Vic’s cocktail. Plantation Original Dark works well, making itself known but not overwhelming the drink. Our favorite brand of falernum – a flavorful Caribbean syrup containing almonds, cloves and lime – is Fee Brothers.
* See past cocktails of the week
SAVE THE DATE: Upcoming events
***** In Florida *****
* 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. [Atomic Grog 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 – Vintage Tiki Weekend at the Caribbean Motel, Wildwood, N.J.
* 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. *****
* April 24-26 – Chicago Area Tiki Tour
* May 14-17 – Tiki Caliente, Palm Springs, Calif.
* July 10-12 – Tiki Kon, Portland, Ore., and Vancouver, Wash.
* Aug. 8 – Surf Guitar 101 Convention, Los Alamitos, Calif.
* Aug. 13-16 – Tiki Oasis, San Diego, Calif.
***** Worldwide *****
* May 23-25 – RhumFest Paris, Paris, France.
* June 18-21 – Surfer Joe Summer Festival, Livorno, Italy.
* Oct. 3-4 – German Rum Festival,, Berlin
* Oct. 17-18 – The RumFest: London, United Kingdom
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