The summer Tiki event season is heating up, and we have the latest news on The Hukilau coming to Fort Lauderdale in June, plus updates on this month’s Tiki Caliente. There’s also news on Tiki Oasis tickets and the just-announced Hot Rod Hula Hop, plus the scoop on the temporary closing of the Tiki-Ti. Weekly features spotlight artist Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker, A. Panda’s Tiki Lounge blog, acclaimed lounge band Martini Kings, and the vintage Trader Vic’s location in Atlanta. The rum of the week, The Real McCoy 3, is featured in the Vicious Virgin #3. * Keep up with The Week in Tiki: Facebook page | RSS feed | See past weeks | Archive * Weekly features: Artist | Website | Band/music | Tiki bar | Rum | Cocktail | Events
The Hukilau gears up for 14th annual Tiki weekender, exclusive events
With the 30-day countdown for the East Coast’s premiere Tiki weekender quickly approaching, organizer Christie “Tiki Kiliki” White has released a flurry of news and information about The Hukilau, coming June 10-14 to Fort Lauderdale. Here are the latest updates on the event, which will be headquartered for the first time at the historic Hyatt Regency Pier 66 hotel:
* Photos of all four glazes of the 2015 event mug by Tiki Diablo have been released. A limited run of 400 mugs will be produced, 100 per glaze. The four styles are Ocean, Fire, Sand and Volcano. The mug was inspired and adapted from a design by artist Dave “Basement Kahuna” Wolfe. Tiki Diablo, aka Southern California artist Daniel Gallardo, is an in-demand craftsman and mug designer whose past projects include The Hukilau 2012 mug and a special 2014 Mai-Kai mug. Also look for pendants based on the mug to be available during an upcoming pre-sale. To reserve The Hukilau mug, email email@example.com. Coming soon: More info on other merchandise available at the event.
* Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid and her pod of aquaticats will perform two special swim shows at the nearby B Ocean Resort for attendees of The Hukilau only. These will be in addition to the regular Friday and Saturday shows at 6:30 p.m. that can be viewed from the resort’s historic Wreck Bar. The exclusive new shows at the former Yankee Clipper hotel on Fort Lauderdale Beach will take place at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 10, and 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 13, White said. To ensure clear sightlines for everyone, The Wreck Bar will not be filled beyond its seated capacity. Tickets for the additional mermaid shows are $10 each and are on sale now.
* The highest-level event tickets have sold out. Big Kahuna passes – which includes admission to all five days, not including symposiums and special events – are no longer available. But you can still pick up an Aloha Pass (Thursday-Sunday) and Luau Pass (Friday-Sunday), or single-day tickets. Buy tickets now before they sell out. Big Kahuna, Aloha and Luau passholders will also receive swag bags containing an exclusive commemorative coffee mug, White said. If you plan on attending, it’s also a good idea to book a hotel room sooner rather than later. Also sold out is the first Saturday night dinner show at The Mai-Kai, the 58-year-old Polynesian palace that’s the nerve center of the event. You can still get into the second seating to see the famous Polynesian Islander Revue (est. 1961), the longest-running authentic South Seas stage show in the United States, including Hawaii. Call The Mai-Kai at (954) 563-3272 to make reservations.
* Also likely to sell out are two special events that you won’t find anywhere outside of The Hukilau. On Thursday, June 11, guests will be able to enjoy a one-of-a-kind happy hour in the 17th floor Pier 66 revolving cocktail lounge overlooking Fort Lauderdale Beach. The Tiki Tower Takeover will feature four of the country’s most acclaimed Tiki cocktail masters together in one room, personally mixing up their own signature drinks. Attendees can enjoy full-sized, fully garnished cocktails from Paul McGee (Lost Lake, Chicago), Martin Cate (Smuggler’s Cove, San Francisco), Jeff “Beachbum” Berry (Latitude 29, New Orleans), and Brian Miller (Tiki Mondays With Miller, New York City). Click here for tickets and more info.
When the original review of this “lost cocktail” was posted, it was just the second in a series that I hoped would shed just a little bit of light on some classic drinks that were retired from The Mai-Kai’s menu over the years and largely forgotten. Little did I know that nine months later, the light would be shining brightly on this and two other recipes returned from the vault for a special event at the conclusion of The Hukilau 2013.
More than three years later, at The Mai Kai’s 60th anniversary party, the same three cocktails returned from the vault once again to be enjoyed by a new generation of enthusiasts who may not even have been born the last time they appeared on a menu. * See the 60th anniversary “lost cocktails” menu
Mai-Kai general manager Kern Mattei, who worked behind the bar back in the 1980s and is familiar with many of the drinks before they were retired, was the driving force behind the return of these vintage recipes. Along with the current menu recipes, he keeps retired recipes under lock and key in his office and ensures their quality and authenticity. When it came time to select three drinks for the 2013 party, he committed to two of the previously revealed concoctions (Last Rites and Demerara Float) plus one newly revealed tipple.
Seeking a mild option, Mattei suggested the Liquid Gold or Impatient Virgin, and he prepared samples of both. We were both impressed with the flavor-packed Virgin and went with this slightly reconfigured version for the party. See the tasting notes and tribute recipe below for more info.
Like many of The Mai-Kai’s legendary tropical drinks (31 on the current menu and nine lost classics), the Impatient Virgin can be traced back to Tiki bar pioneer Donn Beach, aka Don the Beachcomber. His Vicious Virgin was a staple at his chain of restaurants in the years prior to The Mai-Kai’s birth. As has been well documented on this blog, one of Beach’s top bartenders, Mariano Licudine, was hired away to The Mai-Kai, and the rest is history.
Licudine took Beach’s classic recipes and ran with them. Many stayed virtually the same, but he also did a lot of tinkering with ingredients and flavors. He also tinkered with the names, documented by Tiki drink historian Jeff “Beachbum” Berry in his definitive book on the heyday of tropical mixology, Sippin’ Safari.
Mariano’s son, Ron, told Berry about how the task of naming the drinks became a family affair. Before The Mai-Kai opened, the Licudine family gathered in the living room to come up with new (often better) names for the Beachcomber drinks that the master mixologist had reconfigured (and usually reinvigorated). “They changed the Vicious Virgin into the Impatient Virgin, the Cobra’s Fang into the Cobra’s Kiss, and the Never Say Die into the Oh So Deadly,” Berry wrote.
Most of the names were improved, with an obvious attempt to be more tourist-friendly at the fledgling Fort Lauderdale restaurant. The inspiration of those names remains a secret of the Licudine clan who gathered for those early brain-storming sessions.
However, one name in particular remained a favorite of Mariano’s son, Ron Licudine, who elaborated on the history of the Impatient Virgin in an interview for the PBS documentary Plastic Paradise: A Swingin’ Trip Through America’s Polynesian Obsession. Coincidentally, the film premiered at The Mai-Kai during The Hukilau 2013, just before the Lost Cocktails Party. Sadly, two weeks after The Hukilau, Ron Licudine lost a long battle with cancer at age 69.
The namesake of the drink, Licudine relates in the film with a smile, was actually a cousin in the Philippines named Virginia. We won’t speculate on the degree of her patience, but we certainly appreciate the purity and virtue of this lost-but-not-forgotten classic cocktail.
Okole Maluna Society review and rating
Flavor profile: Intense sweet and sour juices, falernum, and a hint of gold rum.
Review: A tantalizing combination of juices, syrups and rum with a distinctive Mai-Kai flair.
Ancestry: Based on Don the Beachcomber’s Vicious Virgin, the Impatient Virgin was on the original 1956-57 Mai-Kai cocktail menu and spotted as recently as the mid-1980s. At this point, however, drinks in small cocktail glasses were quickly losing popularity, a factor that might have had something to do with the Impatient Virgin’s demise.
* 3/4 ounce fresh lime juice * 1/2 ounce Cointreau * 1/4 ounce falernum * 1/2 ounce Puerto Rican dark rum * 1 ounce Virgin Islands light rum
Pour into blender. Add a handful of cracked ice. Blend for 15 seconds at high speed. Serve in a thin 6-ounce champagne glass that has been frozen in a deep freezer.
Don’t confuse this drink with Vicious Virgin #2, a tequila drink featured in Beachbum Berry Remixed.
I went with Bacardi 8 and Cruzan Estate as my rums. My falernum choice, as usual, was Fee Brothers.
The result is quite sour and tart, with a nice kick from the aged Bacardi. The absence of a overtly sweet syrup makes for a drink that’s on the sour side. It’s similar to a classic sour frozen daiquiri, Hemingway style.
Tribute to The Mai-Kai’s Impatient Virgin, v.2 – circa 2013-2016 By The Atomic Grog
* 3/4 ounce fresh lime juice * 3/4 ounce fresh orange juice * 1/4 ounce falernum (Fee Brothers) * 1/4 ounce grenadine (Fee Brothers) * 3/4 ounce Appleton Special gold Jamaican rum * 3/4 ounce white Virgin Islands rum * 1/2 teaspoon fassionola (see below)
Pulse blend with 1 cup of crushed ice for 3-5 seconds. Serve in a small rocks glass. Or strain into a small martini glass or cocktail coupe. Garnish with a optional maraschino cherry.
Notes and tips for home mixologists
The Impatient Virgin was originally served in a small cocktail glass, just like its ancestor. According to Mattei, it even had the same maraschino cherry that settled in the bottom of the glass (see Vicious Virgin artwork above). When it was first resurrected from the lost cocktails graveyard in 2013, it was served in a rocks glass with ice (see photos above and below).
But in December 2016, we were pleased to see it return to its old form as a strained cocktail, served in a small martini glass. A small detail, but much appreciated. Otherwise, the drink seemed to stay pretty much the same. It’s a rich and sweet cocktial, with hints of gold rum offsetting the juices and syrups.
Prior to its 2013 appearance, we posted this a tribute recipe that isn’t too far off the latest version above …
Tribute to The Mai-Kai’s Impatient Virgin, v.1 By The Atomic Grog
* 3/4 ounce fresh lime juice * 1/2 ounce fresh orange juice * 1/4 ounce falernum (Fee Brothers) * 1/2 ounce Appleton Estate Extra dark Jamaican rum * 1 ounce Appleton Special gold Jamaican rum * 1/2 teaspoon fassionola (see below)
Blend with 1/2 cup of crushed ice until smooth. Serve in a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a maraschino cherry. Wahine optional.
Notes and tips for home mixologists
In both tributes, I went with Appleton Jamaican rum, which is used in many of the restaurant’s current cocktails. It gives the drink a richer rum flavor to accent the sour notes.
The addition of both grenadine and fassionola give the drink a pink hue and intense sweetness. The original Impatient Virgin was indeed a “girly drink,” Mattei confirmed, and it has a distinctive color. Fassionola, an obscure bar syrup from the early days of tropical mixology, is used here much the same way as the similarly colored Tahitian Breeze. Used in small doses, it adds color but doesn’t alter the flavor.
Fassionola substitute: The intense red and fruity syrup is an old-school ingredient that’s rarely used today. The Atomic Grog endorses the Jonathan English brand that we found on eBay. But an easier solution is to mix equal parts of a dark, rich grenadine (Fee Brothers does the trick) and Smucker’s Red Raspberry Syrup.
Both fassionola and grenadine are necessary to achieve the full, rich flavor – much like the Cobra’s Kiss. In fact, this could be considered a mild version of that drink with that same combination of falernum, grenadine-fassionola, OJ and lime used to great effect.
Was the Impatient Virgin too similar to those other, more popular, cocktails to survive a menu purge in the 1980s? Perhaps. We’re just grateful it returned, undefiled, from the ranks of The Mai-Kai’s long-lost cocktails.