The Hukilau welcomes new rum sponsors, cocktail contest to wake the dead

Update: The Hukilau crowns winner of Deadhead Rum Cocktail Contest

The Hukilau: June 6-9, 2013, at the Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Beach Hotel, Best Western Oceanside, and The Mai-Kai restaurant. Latest updates at and Facebook.

Organizers of The Hukilau are asking attendees of the 12th annual Polynesian Pop weekender to come up with a signature drink for one of their new rum sponsors.

Deadhead Rum

The Hukilau’s Deadhead Rum Cocktail Contest is open to any paid ticket-holder. The winner will receive:
* A “Headhunter’s Ritual” on Friday, June 7.
* A $150 gift certificate from The Mai-Kai.
* And a complete set of The Hukilau’s 2013 glassware.

Rules are posted on the official Facebook page. The winning drink will be served at The Hukilau official after party on Friday, June 7, at midnight. The final three contestants will be chosen the week of April 8, so aspiring mixologists need to get their entries in soon.

Cocktails will be judged on the recipe, garnish, presentation and the name. Contestants must use Deadhead Rum in their final recipe. The drink submitted to qualify for the top three doesn’t necessarily need to be the final recipe. Finalists will be sent a bottle of Deadhead Rum and will be able to fine-tune or revamp their entry. The winning entry will be announced on The Hukilau’s Facebook page on May 1.

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The Hukilau releases schedule, updated website for this June’s Tiki bash in Fort Lauderdale

In just six months, hundreds upon hundreds of Tiki and retro culture enthusiasts from around the world will descend upon Fort Lauderdale in search of the most authentic Polynesian Pop experience imaginable. If Christie “Tiki Kiliki” White has any say in the matter, they won’t be disappointed.

The Hukilau

White has assembled another surprisingly eclectic cast of characters for the 12th edition of The Hukilau, a weekend celebration set for June 6-9 at the Sheraton Beach Hotel (aka the “Yankee Clipper”) and The Mai-Kai restaurant. As always, the event manages to embrace every nuance of mid-century kitsch: Exotica and surf music, rum and tropical cocktails, mermaids, Polynesian floor shows, Hawaiian shirts, Tiki mugs, vintage culture and artwork, Tiki carving, tattoos, and much more.

Co-founded by White in 2002 in Atlanta, the event found its permanent home at Fort Lauderdale’s legendary Mai-Kai in 2003 and has featured some of the biggest names in the modern Tiki revival, from author and mixologist Jeff “Beachbum” Berry (who returns for his eighth appearance this year) to author/photographer Sven Kirsten (The Book of Tiki) and artist Josh Agle (aka Shag).

The official website,, re-launched Tuesday and a new Travel Bulletin (the festival’s e-mail newsletter) was distributed with lots of event updates, including some new additions to the musical lineup and a detailed daily schedule.

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The Hukilau offers special deal if you book before 2013

The 12th edition of The Hukilau returns to its longtime June time slot in 2013, but it’s never too early to sign up for the East Coast’s premiere Tiki event.

The Hukilau

If you buy an all-access pass in the waning days of 2012, you’ll automatically be “grandfathered in” to any additional events – such as rum and cocktail tastings – that may require an additional fee if you book later. In past years, some great symposiums and special events were added added as the event approached, so here’s your opportunity to get in on the ground floor.

The Hukilau is scheduled for June 6-9 at Fort Lauderdale’s Sheraton Beach Hotel, aka the “Yankee Clipper.” Go to, the official website, to purchase your event tickets now. The site also includes instructions on how to book your room at the Sheraton. There’s a special $119 rate (per night, double occupancy), but you must click on the website link to get this deal.

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Zombie alert: 5 crucial things you need to know about the deadly cocktail

Don the Beachcomber's Zombie

November 2013 update: Zombies regaining critical mass: New e-book features 86 deadly recipes

The living dead are enjoying an unprecedented renaissance. From the excellent AMC miniseries The Walking Dead (based on the Robert Kirkman comic book series), to a never-ending stream of books, to “zombie walk” events springing up during Halloween season, it’s clear that we’re fascinated with corpses rising from the dead like never before.

All of this flesh-eating hoopla has done little, however, to popularize a much less trendy and much more misunderstood Zombie: The infamous tropical drink that rose to infamy in the 1930s and was for decades perhaps the world’s most well-known cocktail. True to its name, the classic drink was shrouded in mystery, later becoming one of the most butchered recipes in cocktail history.

But several people and places have kept this powerful rum concoction alive and kicking, and to them we raise a hearty Zombie glass in tribute this Halloween:

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Hukilau returns to June, historic ‘Yankee Clipper’ in 2013

Next year’s Hukilau will feature several changes that will return the annual gathering of the Tiki tribe in Fort Lauderdale to its roots: The 12th annual event will move from April to June, and it also will be centered around the Sheraton Beach Hotel, better known as the Yankee Clipper.

Hukilau 2013

Tickets are on sale now for the June 6-9 event at, and “passengers” are also being encouraged “book a stateroom aboard the Yankee Clipper” to ensure a prime spot at this extravaganza of vintage Polynesian Pop.

After five years in early June, the event was held in April last year and was centered at the Best Western Oceanside on the south end of Fort Lauderdale Beach. But with interest in mid-century culture still blooming, a move was made for 2013 to include the Sheraton, one of South Florida’s most iconic hotels. It will serve as the host hotel and will be the center of the action for most of the Hukilau activities. Guests will also receive perks for staying at this oceanfront classic, home of the legendary Wreck Bar and its enchanting mermaids, aka Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid’s Underwater Swim Show.

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