Highlights and photos from the 15th annual Polynesian Pop weekender in Fort Lauderdale. The memorable second day included two special events in the 17th floor Pier Top Ballroom: The Tiki Tower Takeover featuring five top bar teams from around the country; and Shag’s SkyLounge featuring the artist Josh Agle hosting a one-of-a-kind cocktail party. As rum sponsors began pouring samples in the Atrium, the Tiki Treasures Bazaar opened in the with a kickoff party in the Crystal Ballroom.
Day 1: Pre-Party at The Mai-Kai, The Wreck Bar mermaid show
THURSDAY, JUNE 9, 2016
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* 11 a.m. – Tiki: A Story for Bartenders by Humuhumu Trott (The Mai-Kai)
* 11 a.m.-10 p.m. – Registration at Pier 66
* 2 p.m. – Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid’s Savage Jungle Swimshow (The Wreck Bar at the B Ocean Resort)
* 3:30-7 p.m. – Welcome party and Tiki Tower Takeover (Latitude 29, Smuggler’s Cove, Lost Lake, Tiki Mondays With Miller, Fort Defiance)
* 5:30-10 p.m. Tiki Treasures Bazaar Grand Opening and Kickoff Party (Jason Lee and the Black Tides, The Quiet Villagers, King Kukulele)
* 10 p.m. – Shag’s SkyLounge (Shag, DJ Xerox, The Disasternauts)
* 10 p.m.-2 a.m. – After Party at Kreepy Tiki Lounge (Slip and the Spinouts)
Bonus cocktail recipes: Paradise City from Rhum Barbancourt
* The Master Ninja from Beachbum Berry and Latitude 29
* A tribute to Captivation from Martin Cate and Smuggler’s Cove
Humuhumu’s symposium for bartenders, Registration at Pier 66
The Hukilau was graced this year by the presence of Humuhumu Trott, a longtime and prolific Tiki revivalist who has helped keep the true spirit and ideals of the original movement alive for more than a decade. The creator of the essential Critiki and Ooga-Mooga websites presented a special symposium for bartenders, “Tiki: A Story for Bartenders,” at 11 a.m. at The Mai-Kai.
* Official sites: Humuhumu | Critiki | Ooga-Mooga
* Critiki News: The real and the fake: Polynesian culture and how we perceive it
Humuhumu takes the stage at The Mai-Kai for a sold-out symposium for industry professionals. Her talk, which she presents to much acclaim at events large and small, is designed to introduce bartenders to the wider scope of Tiki, with an emphasis on Polynesian Pop culture. (Photo by James McDonald)
More tips: Click here to see Humuhumu’s story (“Keep The Hukilau going at home) that ran in the event program.
Back at the Hyatt Regency Pier 66, guests begin gearing up for the first full day of The Hukilau. (Photo by Go11Events.com)
The Hukilau’s takeover of the Pier 66 began in earnest as hordes of aloha-shirt-wearing villagers arrived and began checking in at the registration desk. Many were excited to receive a goodie bag stuffed with freebies from The Hukilau and its sponsors. “Amazing swag bags! Thank you,” wrote Glenn & Carol from SoCal on the official app.
Villagers are greeted by a special sign and display in the lobby of Pier 66. Many of the Tikis are from the personal collection of artist Will Anders. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward / The Atomic Grog)
Christie “Tiki Kiliki” White – The Hukilau’s co-creator, co-founder, producer, and organizer – greeted guests on the app: “Kick back and relax. You have a busy night ahead of you. You haven’t seen nothin’ yet!” Meanwhile, some guests posted their progress as they made the trip south. “Hukilau or bust,” Mr Kane wrote in the app. “Leaving Orlando now for Tiki nirvana.” On Facebook, AnnaMarie Khan of Jupiter wrote: “Just spotted a coconut on the shoulder of I-95 – we must be close!”
Jose Villasana and N! Satterfield work the registration booth, distributing tickets and event programs in the Atrium outside the Crystal Ballroom in the main tower building at Pier 66. (Photos by Go11Events.com)
The Hukilau’s special swag included a coffee mug, swizzle sticks, matches, sunscreen, sunglasses, and a do-not-disturb door hanger, most featuring Shag-designed artwork. Among the many other items in the themed bag were a Hukilau mug, a Rhum Barbancourt jigger, a Mai-Kai sticker, and an extensive full-color program.
The modern lobby of Pier 66 takes on a Polynesian Pop feel as villagers pick up their special passes and tickets for the day’s events. (Left photo by Barb Lawrence, right photo by Jose Villasana)
Guests also used the The Hukilau’s official app to ask questions about the schedule as well as seeking, selling and trading event tickets, hooking up with friends, and sharing details about the hotel. There was also a good deal of activity surrounding the new Smuggler’s Cove trading cards, with many villagers quickly getting into the spirit of quickly collecting the full set. Others shared the aloha spirit in other ways: “Some time tomorrow I have a half gallon of barrel aged Zombies I need to share,” Keith Hudgins wrote. “Who’s with me?”
Early arrivals get in the spirit of The Hukilau. (Photo by Go11Events.com)
On Facebook, many who couldn’t make it also followed along and posted their regrets about not being able to attend. “Tiki Gardener just wanted to pass on that he misses you guys,” said Scott Honour, a 2015 symposium presenter.
Official photos: Browse Thursday’s Pier 66 photos from Go11 Events
Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid’s Savage Jungle Swimshow at The Wreck Bar
(All photos by Otto von Stroheim, except where noted)
The first of three special events presented by Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid and her pod of aquaticats was held Thursday afternoon at The Wreck Bar at the B Ocean Resort, just across the Intracoastal Waterway bridge from Pier 66. Formerly known as The Yankee Clipper, this historic hotel was a previous site of The Hukilau and home of Marina’s retro swimshows since 2006.
* Past coverage: A deep dive into the history of porthole cocktail lounges and their mysterious mermaids
Marina and her fellow performers wore costumes that fit the jungle theme, including fur tops and a spear. Marina wore a zebra, sequined fishtale.
The Wreck Bar was decorated for the show with vines, plus African masks and sculptures. The performance was based on mid-century pulp magazines that featured “jungle girl” photos.
Marina flirts with the crowd, showing off her Crazy Al Evans mermaid mug. I wonder where she got that?
(Photo provided by Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid)
Merman Crazy Al spots Marina with his pilfered mug.
Tiki Tower Takeover welcome cocktail party at Pier 66
Back at Pier 66, delays in the arrival of glassware for the Tiki Tower Takeover pushed back the opening for more than an hour, but that only gave villagers more time to enjoy the “welcome cocktail” from Kreepy Tiki Lounge. The Heathen featured Cherry Heering, Velvet Falernum, fresh-squeezed lemon juice, fresh-pressed pineapple, Angostura bitters, and American Prairie Bourbon, garnished with a lemon twist and Luxardo cherry. “Nice job Kreepy Tiki,” Scott Deeter wrote on the app. “That was a tasty pre-game cocktail.”
Ayme Harrison and her Kreepy Tiki crew prep the Heathen cocktail, which they served in the hotel’s Windows on the Green. (Right photo by Hurricane Hayward of The Atomic Grog, left photo provided by Ayme Harrison)
As the crowd gathers on the ground floor of Pier 66 to await the elevator ride to the 17th floor ballroom, King Kululele serenades them from above. (Left photo by Jose Villasana, right photo by Kevin Upthegrove)
Kreepy Tiki bartenders crank out cocktails for the thirsty hordes. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward / The Atomic Grog)
Kreepy Tiki’s Demi Anne Natoli prepares a special cocktail for Atlanta chef and Food Network personality Jim Stacy (Photos by Hurricane Hayward / The Atomic Grog)
Kreepy Tiki’s Heathen cocktail is a hit with many villagers as they socialize during the pre-party. (Photos by Go11Events.com)
Villagers eagerly await the call to head up to the Pier Top Ballroom for the Tiki Tower Takeover. (Photo by Go11Events.com)
Tiki Tower Takeover in the Pier Top Ballroom featuring Latitude 29, Smuggler’s Cove, Lost Lake, Tiki Mondays With Miller and Fort Defiance
The second annual Tiki Tower Takeover, sponsored by Rhum Barbancourt, made up for a delayed start with an onslaught of cocktails from five of the top Tiki bar teams from across the country. “Thanks so much for everyone’s patience as we hit a little snafu tonight,” Tiki Kiliki posted on the app. “I have the best villagers.” The event that wowed The Hukilau in 2015 was back, bigger and better than ever. Featuring the return of Jeff “Beachbum” Berry (of Latitude 29 in New Orleans), Martin Cate (of Smuggler’s Cove in San Francisco), Paul McGee (of Lost Lake in Chicago), and Brian Miller (of Tiki Mondays With Miller in New York City), the 2016 incarnation saw the addition of St. John Frizell, owner-operator of Fort Defiance in Brooklyn and host of The Sunken Harbor Club. Guests enjoyed new, full-sized signature cocktails from all the bars, plus hors d’oeuvres and a one-of-a-kind experience.
Bonus cocktail recipes: The Master Ninja from Beachbum Berry and Latitude 29
A tribute to Captivation from Martin Cate and Smuggler’s Cove
The Hukilau’s Christie “Tiki Kiliki” White is happy to welcome back Jeff “Beachbum” Berry for his second Tiki Tower Takeover. (Photo by The Atomic Grog)
Rebecca and Martin Cate of Smuggler’s Cove in San Francisco serve the Captivation to eager villagers. (Photo by The Atomic Grog)
Earlier, Tiki Kiliki posted on Facebook: “When I attended Tales of the Cocktail in 2014, it was a game changer for me. I left that event wanting The Hukilau to be the equivalent in the Tiki world. It’s 2016 and we are well on our way!! Thanks to Jeff “Beachbum” Berry for your encouragement and loyalty, Tales for all the inspiration and Liquor.com for including the event as a cocktail conference you don’t want to miss!”
Paul McGee and Shelby Allison of Lost Lake in Chicago return to the Tiki Tower Takeover for a second year. (Photo by The Atomic Grog)
“We took over the tower! What a great event,” Frank Nosalek posted on the app. “Awesome cocktails and friends.” Said Chad Davis: “TTT was worth the wait! We are having the best time ever.” The Tiki Tower Takeover sold out more than six months in advance, which speaks to the popularity of the participating bars and the prestigious nature of the event.
The Tiki Mondays With Miller crew (from left): Capt. Brian Miller, Garret Richard, Jelani Jah Edwards-Jöhnson, Ryan Liloia. (Photo by The Atomic Grog)
The first Tiki Tower Takeover in June 2015 was a groundbreaking concept: Four of the country’s most acclaimed Tiki bar teams serving up signature drinks in the revolving 17th-floor Pier Top Ballroom. Berry, Cate, McGee and Miller teamed up to give The Hukilau a new signature event that was made even bigger in 2016 with the addition of a fifth bar.
* The Atomic Grog’s 2015 recap, photos, recipes
St. John Frizell of Fort Defiance in Brooklyn serves up a White Zombie, while the Pier Top Ballroom serves up great views of Fort Lauderdale Beach. (Left photo by The Atomic Grog, right photo by Go11Events.com)
The new kid at the Tiki Tower Takeover was St. John Frizell, a veteran of the New York City bar scene. While Fort Defiance is not a Tiki bar per se, it’s known far and wide for The Sunken Harbor Club, a celebration of Polynesian food and drinks that has been named “Brooklyn’s Best Tiki Bar” even though it happens just once a month.
Beachbum Berry serves excited guests at the Latitude 29 bar. (Top photo by The Atomic Grog, bottom photo by Go11 Events.com)
Beachbum Berry’s The Master Ninja was a simple yet flavor-packed tactical strike by one of Tiki’s most acclaimed mixologists. It features Rhum Barbancourt 5 Star, Don Q Anejo rum, Angostura bitters, lime juice, Latitude 29 Formula orgeat, and plum syrup.
* Click here to see the official recipe below
Martin Cate pours his Captivation cocktail, which features two distinctive rums. (Left photo by The Atomic Grog, right photo by Go11Events.com)
Cate’s cocktail captivated the receptive audience. It was rich and creamy but also offered a surprising amount of nuance. Ingredients included Rhum Barbancourt 5 Star, Plantation Jamaican rum, Taylor’s falernum, Angostura bitters, lime juice, cinnamon syrup, sweetened condensed milk, and seltzer water.
* Click here for The Atomic Grog’s tribute recipe below
Among the many VIPs in attendance were artist Crazy Al Evans (left), plus author Tim “Swanky” Glazner (Mai-Kai: History and Mystery of the Iconic Tiki Restaurant) and wife Stephanie Romer. (Photos by The Atomic Grog)
Paul McGee and Shelby Allison of Lost Lake, known for their elaborate cocktail garnish and presentations, didn’t disappoint at the Tiki Tower Takeover. (Photos by The Atomic Grog)
Master mixologist McGee came up with something over-the-top for The Tiki Tower Takeover with All Static, All Day. If featured Rhum Barbancourt 5 Star, Rhum Clement Premiere Canne, Taylor’s falernum, Lustau Oloroso sherry, pineapple juice, and “Lost Lake Likker.” Served in a young coconut, the presentation was the hit of the event, and the sherry gave it a distinctive flavor.
Villagers enjoy their cocktails from Lost Lake, served in a coconut. (Photos by Go11Events.com)
Brian Miller (Tiki Mondays With Miller) is hard at work preparing the Funky Derelict. (Photo by Go11Events.com)
Brian Miller presented a spin on an Old Fashioned featuring Rhum Barbancourt 5 Star, Giffard Peche de Vigne Liqueur, Miller’s own “Derelict Spices #2,” an orange bitters blend, plus Angostura bitters. It was strong and potent, befitting Miller’s swashbuckling persona.
Rum expert Joe Desmond enjoys a cocktail with Jeanne Beauregard Vidrine (left). Meanwhile, wife Nicole Desmond (right photo, left) helps create another colorful photo op. (Photos by Go11Events.com)
The Tiki Tower Takeover presented a unique experience: The ability to embark on a casual bar crawl across the country to some of the world’s most acclaimed Tiki establishments by just walking a few feet. Smuggler’s Cove (est. 2009) won the Spirited Award for Best American Cocktail Bar of 2016 at Tales of the Cocktail. Lost Lake, which opened in January 2015, was a finalist for the same award and also a semifinalst for a James Beard Award for Outstanding Bar Program in 2016. Since opening in November 2014, Beachbum Berry’s Latitude 29 has quickly become a revered Tiki temple, ranking second only to The Mai-Kai in the annual list of the Top 10 Tiki bars in the world on Critiki.com. Meanwhile, Cate has joined Berry as an accomplished author, and McGee continues to rake in industry awards for his bartending prowess.
St. John Frizell and Erich Kantz of Fort Defiance are busy cranking out White Zombies. (Photos by The Atomic Grog)
The White Zombie is one the of the signature cocktails at Fort Defiance and The Sunken Harbor Club. It earned Frizell first place in The Art of Tiki: A Cocktail Showdown at the New York City Wine & Food Festival in the fall of 2015. Slightly tweaked for Tiki Tower Takeover, it featured Rhum Barbancourt white, Flor de Cana 4, Clement Mahina Coco, absinthe, Luxuardo Maraschino liqueur, lime juice, grapefruit juice, cinnamon syrup, Fort Defiance house falernum, and passion fruit syrup. Easily the most complex drink of the event, it was also the biggest surprise with a smooth and refreshing flavor.
Shag (left) and Hurricane Hayward have their hands full with Lost Lake’s All Static, All Day. (Photo by The Atomic Grog)
While the bar teams were cranking out drinks at a rapid pace, lines grew as evening approached. It’s fair to say that the bigger names (Berry, Cate, McGee) drew the biggest crowds, but all five drinks were extremely well received. While logistics ended up delaying the start of the event, the addition of special glassware was much appreciated.
A panoramic view of the Pier Top Ballroom. (Photo by Kevin Upthegrove)
At the Latitude 29 bar, Beachbum Berry serves The Master Ninja while Brad Smith keeps the cocktails flowing. (Photos by The Atomic Grog)
The Master Ninja was Beachbum Berry’s tribute to legendary Tiki bartender Ray Buhen Sr., who helped inspire his decades-long exploration of Tiki cocktails that resulted in five essential books, from Beachbum Berry’s Grog Log (1998) to Beachbum Berry’s Potions of the Caribbean: 500 Years of Tropical Drinks and the People Behind Them (2013).
Despite the stormy weather outside, it was a Tiki cocktail paradise inside the Pier Top Lounge. (Photo by Go11Events.com)
A welcome addition for guests this year was food stations around the ballroom. The wide selection of appetizers paired well with the cocktails, and the crowd gobbled up the small bites. Unfortunately, the logistics of running cables for power to all the locations around the room forced the hotel to shut off the revolving floor. It’s unfortunate that we couldn’t enjoy the lounge’s distinctive feature.
Erin Hayes of Lost Lake keeps the rum flowing. (Photo by The Atomic Grog)
While the cocktail creators and bar owners tend to get most of the credit, the Tiki Tower Takeover participants were once again backed up by one or more great partners. In several cases, they were wives and life partners (Rebecca Cate, Shelby Allison). Berry and Frizell brought key bar staff, while Miller sailed south with his whole scurvy crew (who were assisting with other Rhum Barbancourt events at The Hukilau). Kudos also to The Hukilau’s expert bar staff, who toiled endlessly behinds the scenes to make this event a reality (photos by Barb Lawrence). Tiki cocktails don’t appear magically. There’s a lot of manual labor involved in those fresh-squeezed juices and garnishes. Mahalo to spirits coordinator Dean Hurst, cocktail coordinator George Jenkins and the rest of The Straw Hat Barmen, plus all the volunteers.
Tiki Kiliki (second from left) shares a cocktail with the villagers. (Photo by Go11Events.com)
Renée Korbel Quinn of Spirited South Florida praised the “fabulously organized event” on Facebook. “The Tiki Tower Takeover was one of the best Tiki events I’ve attended.”
Brian Miller’s The Funky Derelict has a defiant message. (Photo by The Atomic Grog)
While Brian Miller has cultivated the persona of a ne’er-do-well pirate, he may soon have his own bar to call home in New York City. Plans will be announced after Tiki Mondays With Miller concludes its run in February 2017.
A good time was had by all: Mai-Kai owner Dave Levy (left) with King Kululele. And 5 Minutes of Rum podcaster Kevin Upthgrove with Hurricane Hayward (right). (Photos by The Atomic Grog)
The most common question circulating among the villagers enjoying the cocktails this evening: What’s your favorite? But do you really need to choose? All the drinks were outstanding in their own way, and I would have a hard time picking one over the other. So I broke them down by category, with a special distinction for each:
Most traditional: The Master Ninja (Beachbum Berry)
Smoothest: Captivation (Martin Cate)
Most distinctive flavors: All Static, All Day (Paul McGee)
Strongest: The Funky Derelict (Brian Miller)
Most refreshing: White Zombie (St. John Frizell)
Official photos: Browse the Tiki Tower Takeover gallery from Go11 Events
Tiki Treasures Bazaar Grand Opening and Kickoff Party in the Crystal Ballroom and Atrium
The Tiki Treasures Bazaar opened as scheduled at 5:30, with a wide array of vendors showing off their vintage wares. “It’s like a twilight zone at the bazaar,” Barron Elam posted on Facebook.
Paradise City, one of several complimentary cocktails at the Rhum Barbancourt bar. (Photo by The Atomic Grog)
* 1 ounce Rhum Barbancourt 5 Star
* 1 ounce Barbancourt Pango Rhum
* 1 ounce pineapple juice
* 3/4 ounce lemon juice
* 3/4 ounce falernum
* 1/2 ounce ginger syrup
* 2 dashes Angostura bitters
Shake with ice, strain and serve in a Collins glass filled with ice. Garnish with mint.
Our review: Both sweet and bitter, with exotic flavors to match the distinctive rhums. The Pango, pineapple and bitters dominate, but hints of falernum and ginger lurk in the background of this complex cocktail.
A Sailor Jerry representative shows off the brand’s iconic spiced Navy rum from the Caribbean. (Photo by The Atomic Grog)
Also opening were booths that over the course of the long weekend would feature complimentary rum samples, cocktails plus more from well over a dozen sponsors. Rhum Barbancourt was back with their massive, elaborately themed bar just outside the ballroom. On Thursday, “pouring sponsor” booths in the Atrium also included Sailor Jerry, Tanduay, Don Q, Blue Chair Bay, Ron Diplomático, and Koloa. Inside the Crystal Ballroom in the Tiki Treasures Bazaar’s Rum Shack, villagers also enjoyed Flor de Caña, Rhum Clèment and Richland Rum. Gubba Rum also had its own booth in the Bazaar.
Tanduay Rum reps are happy to pour their gold and silver rums from the Philippines in cocktails for villagers to sample. (Photo by The Atomic Grog)
Ron Diplomático offers high-end sipping rums and a welcoming punch. (Photo by The Atomic Grog)
King Kukulele hosted the festivities in the ballroom that included musical performances by Jason Lee and the Black Tides, plus The Quiet Villagers.
Disney World cast members Mike Pastore and Laura Cooper are an unusual sight when you enter the Tiki Treasures Bazaar. Meanwhile, villager Jose Villasana stops for a photo with some of his favorite artists: Crazy Al Evans (left) and Tiki Diablo. (Left photo by The Atomic Grog, right photo provided by Jose Villasana)
Harold Golen helps pop artist Valentina of Kawaii Universe show off her colorful designs in his gallery booth. (Photo by The Atomic Grog)
The impressive lineup of bazaar vendors included: The Hukilau official merchandise booth, Tiki Kiliki Productions, artist Robert Jimenez, Eekum Bookum Tiki mugs, Art & Alligators, artist Richie Fahey, artist Clee Sobieski, Big Mike’s Tiki Gods, Deco Dermott’s Bakelite Jewelry and Collectibles, New Legend Productions / Tiki Zombie, Livin’ A Dream, Wally’s Tikis & More, Roadside Attraction, artist Tiki Diablo, artist Eric October, artist Basement Kahuna, The Green Tiki (artist Patrick Vassar), artist Tom Fowner, Sophista-Tiki (artist Dawn Frasier), artist Kat Reeder, Harold Golen Gallery, the Boynton Beach Haunted Pirate Fest & Mermaid Splash, TikiSwag, Grider & Co., Tropiki, pinup photographer Erika Nelly, Barkin’ Barefoot Tikis, Pie Eyed Tikis, artist Big Toe (Tom Laura), plus Audrey Moorehead and Tee-Ki Togs.
California artist Big Toe is happy to tell you about his selection of custom mugs and artwork. At the nearby Rum Shack, Rhum Clèment offers a delicious punch. (Photos by The Atomic Grog)
Mugs from Pie Eyed Tikis are featured at a special booth, while David and Carol Cortright offer a variety of retro goods from their Roadside Attraction store in Dunedin, Fla. (Photos by The Atomic Grog)
“Thursday alone was worth the weekend pass,” Jason Murphy posted on the app. “Love the Bazaar – incredible artists. I’m not going empty handed.”
California artists who made the trek to The Hukilau include Clee Sobieski (left) and Eric October (right, with partner Manuel). (Photos by The Atomic Grog)
While villager Barron Elam hunts for a new aloha shirt, he’s met with in image that bears a striking resemblance. (Photo provided by Barron Elam)
Hurricane Hayward meets up with several industry VIPs: Adam Kolesar (left), creator of the Orgeat Works products from New York City, who offers samples of his Latitude 29 Formula Orgeat in a Mai Tai in the Rum Shack. And Ed Hamilton of the Ministry of Rum website, who has made a splash on the rum scene with his Caribbean Spirits portfolio.
Jason Lee and the Black Tides hit the stage in the Crystal Ballroom at Pier 66. (Photo by The Atomic Grog)
Hailing from San Diego, Jason Lee and the Black Tides are the mellower and loungy alter ego of Jason Lee and the R.I.P. Tides. The instrumental surf trio, a regular at West Coast events such as Tiki Oasis, was making its first appearance at The Hukilau.
Jason Lee (left) and his band get the party into gear. (Photos by Kevin Upthegrove)
Also performing Thursday night were The Quiet Villagers, a South Florida trio that specializes in vintage cocktail jazz, bossa nova and mid-century exotica. Featuring flute and bongos, the group harkens back to classic lounge combos.
Dancers cut a rug while Jason Lee and the Black Tides kick out the jams. (Photo by Kevin Upthegrove)
The inclement weather also threw plans off kilter out at the hotel pool. Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid had been scheduled to perform a Feature Figure Swim at 9 p.m. But the storms forced a change of plans and Marina ended up doing a dance and drum performance on the Tiki Treasures Bazaar stage instead. “The thunder was brought indoors,” Marina posted on Facebook.
Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid and her husband, Roy Anderson, perform “Tiki to Taiko,” combining Polynesian and Japanese drumming. (Left photo provided by Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid, right photo by Kevin Upthegrove)
The special performance “combines Polynesian and Japanese rhythms in a natural way,” Marina said later. The duo have performed the unique mash-up at other events, such as Tiki Kon in Portland. They’ve also performed taiko drumming at venues throughout South Florida, including the prestigious Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale. Appearing with Roy and Marina at The Hukilau was Kabuki Itchener, a drummer at The Mai-Kai.
Official photos: Browse the Kickoff Party gallery from Go11 Events
Shag’s SkyLounge in the Pier Top Ballroom
As the Kickoff Party and Tiki Treasures Bazaar wound down, there were still a few bashes left for the late-night revelers. One of most highly-anticipated events was Shag’s SkyLounge, where villagers had a rare chance to not only rub elbows with the acclaimed artist, but also be part of one of his paintings come to life.
* Related: I want to live in a Shag painting (The Heel Power)
* Visit Shag at Shag.com and ShagTheStore.com
* On The Atomic Grog: Artist of the Year | Shag at The Hukilau 2010 | More Shag
The Hukilau’s Christie “Tiki Kiliki” White welcomes Shag (left), while Jeff “Beachbum” Berry and other special guests join the party. (Photos by Go11Events.com)
Most guests were perfectly in theme with the event. (Photos by Go11Events.com)
Hurricane Hayward stays in character as The Bad Son’s Dad in photos with Tiki Kiliki and Humuhumu, but he gets a little giddy with Otto von Stroheim. (Photos by The Atomic Grog)
Villagers who were lucky enough to score tickets to this sold-out event joined Shag for a “Martini meet and mingle” from 10 p.m. to midnight, featuring spectacular night views of Fort Lauderdale Beach. The hotel’s distinctive 17-story tower opened in 1965 and has become an icon of the beachside skyline. The ballroom rotates 360 degrees every 66 minutes, a tribute to the hotel’s original owners, Phillips Petroleum.
The Cantina Band dropped by the party from Shag’s “A Wretched Hive” painting of the cantina scene from the first Star Wars film. (Photos by Go11Events.com)
* Related: Drink like Han Solo at the Star Wars Cantina Bar (Liquor.com)
The Mai-Kai’s Pia Dahlquist (with Timothy Johns), is among the many villagers enjoying the Shag party. (Photos by Go11Events.com)
Musician Rose Marie and owner Dave Levy from The Mai-Kai are among Tiki Kiliki’s special guests (left). At right, Mike Zielinski of Idle Hands Events (The Hukilau’s production company) welcomes locals Lonnie and Virginia Decker, two of the team responsible the new King Kai carving at The Mai-Kai. (Photos by Go11Events.com)
At Shag’s Skylounge, guests also enjoyed DJ Xerox spinning exotic lounge tunes while they immersed themselves as characters in a surreal Shag painting. The room was also decorated and furnished in the artist’s distinctive style.
Lampshades (a Shag staple) are a popular headwear accessory. (Photos by Go11Events.com)
There are many Shag characters in attendance. (Photos by Go11Events.com)
Shag and Hurricane Hayward pause for the photographer in the midst of the festivities, while Otto and Baby Doe von Stroheim (Tiki Oasis) are their usual dapper selves. (Photos by The Atomic Grog)
Shag (aka Josh Agle) is a beloved Southern California painter, designer and illustrator. He created The Hukilau’s 2016 promotional artwork that features a familiar cast of characters hanging out in the Pier Top Lounge.
The Hukilau’s mixologists provide great classic cocktails to match the evening’s theme. (Photos by Go11Events.com)
Nicole and Joe Desmond (from left) join Ann Bancroft and Phil Haire for a toast. Meanwhile, Peter Ward rubs elbows with Tim “Swanky” Glazner and Mrs. Swanky (aka Stephanie Romer). (Photos by Go11Events.com)
Martinis in hand, Kim DeGarmo and Scott Deeter are ready for the soirée, but they seem a little annoyed at the photographer. (Photo by Go11Events.com)
Shag fans enjoy cocktails at the unique meet-and-mingle in the Pier 66 skylounge. (Photos by Go11Events.com)
As the party reaches its climax, simian surf band The Disasternauts set up in the center of the lounge for a rip-roaring set of instrumental mayhem. While they may not be straight out of a Shag painting, it’s not hard to imagine they could be. (Photos by Karen Schell)
Fans have the unique opportunity to join Shag in one of his own paintings at The Hukilau special event. (Photos by Go11Events.com)
The Disasternauts jam late into the night, keeping the go-go dancers busy. (Photos by Go11Events.com)
Shag is joined by some of his swankest friends for a final group photo before the Skylounge shuts down for the night. (Photo by Go11Events.com)
Official photos: Browse the Shag’s SkyLounge gallery from Go11 Events
After Party at Kreepy Tiki Lounge
Villagers who still had gas in the tank headed a few miles down the road to Kreepy Tiki Lounge, where they got revved up with live roots and rockabilly from Slip and the Spinouts and expertly crafted cocktails from owner Ayme Harrison and her crew of bartenders. In 2015, Kreepy Tiki was named one of the best 22 Tiki bars in the country by Condé Nast Traveler.
Fort Lauderdale’s Kreepy Tiki Lounge is the site of The Hukilau’s Thursday night After Party, featuring Slip and the Spinouts. (Left photo by Barb Lawrence, right photo by Barron Elam)
Many of the villagers were impressed with the newly refurbished venue. Scott French (aka The Rum Trader) posted on The Hukilau app: “LOVED our visit to Kreepy Tiki. A great space with great cocktails. Don’t want to wait a year for my next visit!”
Bassist Kristi Lÿnx and guitarist Slip Mahoney play rockabilly classics and originals, while the Kreepy Tiki bar is well-stocked for The Hukilau late-night partiers. (Left photo by Barron Elam, right photo by Barb Lawrence)
After the event, Ayme Harrison posted on Facebook: “Just wanted to personally thank everyone who took the time to come visit us at Kreepy Tiki Bar & Lounge or stopped by to have a welcome cocktail with us before the Tiki Takeover. It was nice to see so many familiar faces and make so many new friends. To all of the volunteers, staff, vendors, bar team and whomever I may have overlooked; you all rock.”
* 1 ounce fresh lime juice
* 3/4 ounce Latitude 29 Formula orgeat
* 1/4 ounce plum syrup (recipe below)
* 1 1/2 ounces Don Q Anejo rum
* 3/4 ounce Rhum Barbancourt Réserve Spéciale 5 Star rum
* Dash Angostura bitters
Shake with ice cubes. Strain into a small snifter or double rocks glass filled with fresh ice cubes. Garnish with an edible purple orchid stuck with a Japanese flag pick and a Latitude 29 stir stick.
The distinctive orgeat and plum syrups temper the rums and create a rich and exotic burst of flavor. The bitters and lime create balance and enhance the rums and syrups in this simple yet perfectly balanced creation from Tiki cocktail master Jeff “Beachbum” Berry. Perfectly executed at the Tiki Tower Takeover by Berry and his Latitude 29 bar manager Brad Smith (see photos above), The Master Ninja is a homage to legendary Tiki barman Ray Buhen Sr. of the Tiki Ti.
* Ingredient notes: Latitude 29 Formula orgeat, created to Berry’s specifications by mad scientist “Tiki Adam” Kolesar, is available through Amazon and the Orgeat Works store. Plum syrup (aka li hing mui syrup) is a hot new ingredient in the Tiki and craft cocktail world, featured in a slightly different formula in Martin Cate’s new Smugger’s Cove book (see below) and used to great effect by Berry in The Master Ninja. The Bum provided his specs along with The Master Ninja recipe above.
* 1 cup organic cane sugar
* 1 cup water
* 2 teaspoons Grandpa Mui’s Li Hing Mui Powder (red)
Stir together the li hing powder and sugar until combined, then set aside. Bring the water to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer. Add the sugar-li hing mixture and stir until dissolved, up to a minute. The liquid should become clear enough to see the bottom of the pot. Remove from heat and let cool. Bottle and refrigerate.
(A tribute to the cocktail served by Martin Cate of Smuggler’s Cove at The Hukilau 2016)
* 2 ounces Rhum Barbancourt Réserve Spéciale 5 Star rum
* 1 ounce Plantation 2001 Jamaica rum
* 1/4 ounce Taylor’s falernum
* 2 dashes Angostura bitters
* 1 ounce fresh lime juice
* 1/8 ounce cinnamon syrup
* 1 ounce sweetened condensed milk
* 3/4 ounce seltzer water
Pulse for 6-8 seconds in a spindle blender with 1 1/2 ounces of crushed ice. Strain into a pilsner glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a Smuggler’s Cove swizzle stick.
Creamy, rummy and rich with outstanding sour, bitter and spicy notes that add a tremendous depth and intrigue. Featuring a unique taste and mouthfeel, Captivation lived up to its name at the Tiki Tower Takeover on June 9, served up with gusto by Martin and Rebecca Cate of Smugger’s Cove in San Francisco (see photos above).
* Ingredient notes: The recipe (sans exact measurements) was posted at the event, so we took our best guess at the proportions based on our Tiki Tower Takeover tasting. The rums and spices (Taylor’s falernum, Angostura and cinnamon are Smuggler’s Cove staples) are used to great effect, balancing the sweet and creamy condensed milk. Just the right amount of lime and seltzer complete the package, resulting in a unique creation that’s both modern and reverential. Also, if you can’t find this specific Plantation Jamaican rum, don’t fret. You can sub any 80-proof Plantation Jamaican rum, including the new Original Dark (make sure it’s the new batch that includes Jamaican rum). Also, any good blended dark rum from Jamaica, such as Coruba, should work well.
Don’t miss: Smuggler’s Cove: Exotic Cocktails, Rum and the Cult of Tiki is the new Bible of the Tiki cocktail movement, a masterpiece from Martin and Rebecca Cate that continues to garner rave reviews during the couple’s never-ending book tour. It includes more than 100 recipes from the acclaimed San Francisco bar, tons of mixology instructions and tips, plus a revolutionary new way to categorize rums. Beyond the drinks, you’ll find perhaps the most comprehensive history and eye-catching photos of the Tiki’s heyday and the modern revival ever committed to a hard-cover book. Click the link above for complete info on ordering your copy now.
Postscript: As it turns out, the Tiki Tower Takeover was not the only place in the world where you could sample the five cocktails above in one sitting. Following The Hukilau, St. John Frizell served all five to the lucky patrons of The Sunken Harbor Club at Fort Defiance in Brooklyn (see menu). Then, for good measure, he brought back his White Zombie along with The Master Ninja and Captivation a few weeks later (see menu).
Day 3: Shag, Beachbum Berry and Mai-Kai symposiums; rum, cocktails and music flow at High Tide party
More recaps and photos on The Atomic Grog
Day 1: Pre-Party at The Mai-Kai, The Wreck Bar mermaid show
The Hukilau: June 8-12, 2016, at the Hyatt Regency Pier 66 and The Mai-Kai restaurant in Fort Lauderdale. Featuring Shag, Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, Martin Cate, Paul McGee, Brian Miller, St. John Frizell, Jim Stacy, Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid, King Kukulele, Tikiyaki Orchestra, Jason Lee and the R.I.P. Tides, The Intoxicators, Skinny Jimmy Stingray, The Quiet Villagers, The Disasternauts, Gold Dust Lounge, Slip and the Spinouts, Otto von Stroheim, Paul Roe, Tim “Swanky” Glazner, Humuhumu, Crazy Al Evans, Tom Fowner, Will Anders, Jeff Chouinard, Angie Pontani, Kitten de Ville, Lila Starlet, James Teitelbaum, Stephen Remsberg, plus more.
* TheHukilau.com, Facebook: Page and Group, Twitter, Instagram
* Download the app, Leave a text or voicemail: (754) 900-TIKI
Past Atomic Grog recaps, special features
* Tiki Kiliki: 15 years of The Hukilau, 15 years of memories
* Video: A look back at The Hukilau’s first 14 years
* 2015: The Hukilau soars at mid-century marvel Pier 66 hotel
Photos: Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday/Sunday
* Previous years: 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009
* High Tide party announced, rum sponsor rundown, merchandise preview
* Tiki Road Trip announced, Pier 66 and The Mai-Kai sold out, new rum sponsors
* The Hukilau guests to take a Tiki Road Trip; new Shag merchandise in the works
* Raiders of the Lost Tiki Culture symposium, new sponsors, Pier 66 hotel news
* Entertainment, music and symposiums announced, full website launches
* First dinner show full, Shag event and hotel near sellout
* All Tiki Tower Takeover tickets are taken, 5th bartender announced
* The Hukilau: All five-day tickets are sold out
* Tiki Tower Takeover bartenders return, Marina to perform in expanded Wreck Bar
* The Hukilau 2016 passes on sale now at 2015 prices
* Passes, special event tickets and rooms available soon
* Shag to help toast The Hukilau’s 15th anniversary