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 | See past weeks
* Weekly features: Artist | Website | Band/music | Tiki bar | Rum | Cocktail | Events
LAST WEEK IN REVIEW (Jan. 12-18, 2015)
It was a very busy week in the Tiki universe. Here’s a look back at the highlights. Click here or scroll down for info on how to keep us in the loop.
The Hukilau tickets include six symposiums on Tiki culture
It’s time to book your room and secure your tickets for the 14th annual gathering of Polynesian Pop devotees in Fort Lauderdale on June 10-14. A new, temporary website launched on Tuesday (Jan. 13) with an impressive lineup of symposiums covering an assortment of fascinating mid-century icons, such as Disney World’s original Polynesian Village Resort (by Disney artists Kevin Kidney and Jody Daily), Florida’s Tiki Gardens, and Southern California’s Pacific Ocean Park. In addition, Tiki cocktail historian Jeff “Beachbum” Berry will join forces with New York City’s Brian Miller to present an in-depth analysis of the Planter’s Punch. Also announced was an entertainment lineup featuring some new (Alika Lyman Group) and old (The Intoxicators, Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid) faces. The Hukilau will be hosted for the first time by the Hyatt Regency Pier 66 hotel, with additional events at the venerable Mai-Kai restaurant.
Coming soon, more details and tickets for a”Tiki Tower Takeover” by Berry, Miller and two other stars of the modern cocktail scene: Martin Cate (Smuggler’s Cove) and Paul McGee (Lost Lake). The special event will take place on Thursday, June 11, in the hotel’s 17th-floor, revolving Pier Top Ballroom.
* Get your event passes and tickets | Reserve a hotel room
* Full coverage from The Atomic Grog
Get your Miami Rum Festival tickets, hotel room now
With thousands of rum fanciers and industry experts expected to descend on South Florida on April 17-19 for the seventh annual Miami Rum Renaissance Festival and International Trade Expo for Rum, it might be a good idea to make your plans now. It was announced last week that tickets and hotel rooms can now be secured through the official website, MiamiRumFest.com. Organizers Robert A., Robin and Robert V. Burr warn that the host hotels have sold out all rooms in advance for four years straight for the world’s largest gathering of rum producers, professionals and consumers. For the third straight year, the rum fest will return to the Doubletree by Hilton Miami Airport Convention Center, where the future availability of Cuban rum is expected to be a hot topic.
* The Atomic Grog: Take a look back at last year’s rum fest
Lost Lake is found in Chicago
Acclaimed Tiki barman Paul McGee’s newest creation, Lost Lake, opened last week in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago. [See story and photos from DNAinfo Chicago] You can enjoy more than a dozen of McGee’s creative cocktails while sampling Asian fare from the attached Chinese takeout restaurant, Thank You. McGee, best known for his previous bar: the award-winning Three Dots and a Dash, has also brought in Martin Cate of San Francisco’s Smuggler’s Cove to curate a list of some 275 rums. The retro decor is suitably tropical, including a fish tank filled with skulls and live piranha.
Chicago Tiki Tour blows back into town
With Tiki seemingly making a big comeback in the Windy City, the Red Palms Chapter of the Fraternal Order of Moai last week announced the return of the Chicago Area Tiki Tour on April 24-26. The group promises a fun-filled ride across the Windy City hitting the best Tiki joints the Chicago area has to offer. Information about ticket sales, the host hotel, and itinerary is coming soon.
* Related story: Will Chicago’s Tiki renaissance last this time? (Chicago Reader)
Two Tomorrowland icons celebrate 40 years at Walt Disney World
In 1975, Tomorrowland in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom added two attractions that are now among the most iconic in of all the Disney parks. On Jan. 15, the original Space Mountain began thrilling guests with a ground-breaking indoor roller coaster that later was added to Disneyland (1977) and three other parks around the world. The space-age structure with its retro-futuristic design is now the oldest operating coaster in Florida. The genesis of Space Mountain can be traced back to Walt Disney himself in the 1960s, but it wasn’t until the early ’70s that the technology became available to make it a reality.
Even more historic is Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress, an attraction built for the 1964-65 World’s Fair in New York City and later moved to Disneyland. It made it’s final move in 1975, opening at the Magic Kingdom on the same day as Space Mountain. The 50-year-old marvel of imagineering features a ground-breaking revolving theater and is one of the earliest examples of Audio-Animatronics (along with the Enchanted Tiki Room). The Carousel was a pet project of Walt Disney, who can be seen in a video in the queue. It’s also considered the longest-running stage show, with the most performances, in the history of American theater.
* See Walt talk about the Carousel of Progress in a video posted on the Disney Parks Blog
* Special 40th anniversary T-shirt in the Disney Store (sold out)
Polynesian Village Resort timeshares available
As reported here last week, Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows were made available to current members of the Disney Vacation Club. Sales to prospective new DVC members begin Feb. 9. If you buy now, the contracts last for 50 years. The first phase is scheduled to open April 1, hopefully along with the much-anticipated Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto at the recently renovated Great Ceremonial House in the resort on the shores of Seven Seas Lagoon outside Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. [See previous coverage] For more info, check out this new article on Tikiman’s Polynesian Village Resort website and follow the Facebook page.
***** Tiki links of the week*****
* Moving swiftly, U.S. eases travel and trade rules on Cuba (Chicago Tribune)
* A. Panda’s Tiki Lounge: Interview with Jeff “Beachbum” Berry at Latitude 29 (audio)
* Mai-Kai dance party was more fun than your Saturday night (New Times)
* Want to feel like Don Draper? Go to the new Tiki Hideaway (CharlotteFive )
THIS WEEK’S HIGHLIGHTS (Jan. 19-25, 2015)
Tiki Mondays With Miller: Winter Solstice Edition
Tonight (Jan. 19) in New York City, Tiki barman extraordinaire Brian Miller returns with his latest cocktail event at Pouring Ribbons. The modern-day pirate promises to warm your cockles with drinks featuring sponsor rums El Dorado and Plantation, plus all his usual shenanigans for the Big Apple’s thirsty Tiki-loving rogues, scallywags and rapscallions.
Tiki gatherings in balmy Florida
Meanwhile in the Sunshine State, Florida’s tropical climate allows for festive indoor-outdoor Tiki-themed events even when the most of the rest of the country is hunkering down with a Hot Buttered Rum. On Saturday (Jan. 24), there are two to choose from: In Fort Lauderdale, Kreepy Tiki Lounge hosts Revenge of the Tiki lV, featuring 26 bands (Wayne Hancock, The Independents, et al.) and a burlesque show by Morgan La Rue and The Shimmy Shake Revue. This all-day event (noon to 3 a.m.) will also include include DJs, a car show, food, and loads of vendors of vintage merchandise (The Modern Historic, Tortuga Tile Works, et al.). At the oceanfront Irene H. Canova Park in Indian Harbor Beach, Astronaut Trailer Park will be hosting Planet of the Lost Tikis. Starting at 5 p.m., the beachside event will feature live surf music (Surfonauts, Balsa Bill and The Surfchasers, etc.), Tiki cocktails by Christina Jordan of the Straw Hat Barmen, artists and vendors (Ed’s Heads, Rocket City Retro, Hassan Patterson, DeTiki, et al.), live Tiki carving, and more.
Tasty cocktails meet tasteless movies at Tiki Horror Nights
Do you enjoy kitchy films with your favorite tropical libations? Luckily, so does the Miami Rum Festival’s Robert V. Burr, who has brought back his vision of a perfect night at the movies on a grand scale. The new Tiki Horror Night comes to the Blue Starlite Mini Urban Drive-In in Miami beginning this Thursday (Jan. 22) at 7 p.m. Think of it as a mash-up of Mystery Science Theatre 3000 and Tiki Bar TV. Burr and co-organizer Andrew Lazo will provide snarky commentary while the nearby Taurus bar will provide the drinks. A different movie is lampooned every two weeks.
* Facebook group| Press coverage: Miami New Times | Eater Miami
ARTIST OF THE WEEK: Bosko
The godfather of artistry in the late 20th century Tiki revival, Bosko Hrnjak was the first major new figure in the art community to revive the lost mid-century crafts of carving and mug-making. In the decades since, his works have been shown in galleries around the world, and he’s become a much sought after interior designer. When it came time to create his long-awaited New Orleans Tiki bar, Latitude 29 in the Bienville House Hotel, Jeff “Beachbum” Berry recently turned to his old friend from California to provide an array of idols, molding and structures, including 8-foot-high carved poles.
* Visit him at TikiBosko.com.
WEBSITE OF THE WEEK:
A Mountain of Crushed Ice
Tiki cocktail and rum bloggers come and go. Then there is Helena Tiare Olsen. Based far from the tropics in Stockholm, Sweden, Olsen has created her own Tiki paradise as a longtime rum connoisseur and Tiki cocktail enthusiast with a colorful flair for covering her passions like no other independent voice in today’s spirits scene. Her blog, established in 2008, is a visual feast that lures you in. Then, after you sample a few of her recommended rums and cocktail recipes, it becomes an intoxicating feast for all your senses that you’ll want to return to again and again.
* Check it out: AMountainOfCrushedIce.com
BAND/MUSIC OF THE WEEK: The Tiki Delights
The brainchild of Nashville singer/songwriter/author Darren Long, the music of The Tiki Delights is indeed a delight. The self-titled six-song EP (released in August 2013 on CD in addition to digital download) is a loving tribute to the classic exotica sounds of the 1960s. Written and produced by Long, the songs also feature other influences such as surf, hapa-haole, bossa nova, and Spaghetti Western. Among the five instrumentals and one vocal tune, my favorites are Scorpion Rider, Bali Safari, and Stormy Outrigger. Like any good exotica album, there’s also some outstanding cover artwork by prolific California artist Eric October.
* Check them out at DarrenLong.com
TIKI BAR OF THE WEEK: The Kahiki
One of the most beloved Tiki establishments of all time, The Kahiki was a massive complex in Columbus, Ohio, with a distinctive A-frame roof that featured indoor thatch huts, fish tanks, rain forests, an aviary, waterfalls and flaming Easter Island moai who greeted awe-struck guests for nearly 40 years. Opened in 1961, it sadly closed in 2000 to make way for a Walgreens. But The Kahiki lives on in the hearts of its devoted customers and fans (as well as a line of Asian frozen foods). Several of those fans got together and wrote comprehensive history book – Kahiki Supper Club: A Polynesian Paradise in Columbus, published in September. One of the authors, Jeff Chenault – an exotica music expert and writer who was responsible for the 2010 release of the Live at Kahiki 1965 album by the Beachcomber Trio, will be presenting a seminar on the revered restaurant at The Hukilau in June that will include a vintage cocktail from The Kahiki menu. [See full coverage]
* Buy the book | Columbus Dispatch story | Critiki.com profile
RUM OF THE WEEK: The Real McCoy 5
I was introduced to The Real McCoy’s 5-year-old rum at the 2013 Miami Rum Festival, shortly after its debut. I was impressed by this smooth gold rum with hints of caramel, toffee and spice. It quickly won multiple awards at rum festivals around the world, and I quickly learned that it’s a great mixer in Tiki cocktails. Distilled in Barbados by Sir Richard Seale at Foursquare and bottled in Connecticut, the rum also has one of the most fascinating back-stories. Named in honor of famed Prohibition-era rum-runner Bill McCoy (and distributed in bottles that harken back to that time), the rum is the brainchild of filmmaker Bailey Pryor. It grew out of his fascination with the subject while making the Emmy award-winning documentary film The Real McCoy (2012). The Real McCoy line also includes a 3-year-old white rum and 12-year-old aged rum. More at RealMcCoyspirits.com.
COCKTAIL OF THE WEEK:
La Floridita Daiquiri
* 3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
* 1 teaspoon sugar or simple syrup
* 1 teaspoon maraschino liqueur
* 2 ounces gold rum
Blend with crushed ice until smooth. Serve in a saucer cocktail or champagne glass. Garnish with a lime wheel.
In the wake of last week’s news about the new trade rules between the U.S. and Cuba, we present another timely and iconic cocktail. Published in Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails (2009) by Ted “Dr. Cocktail” Haigh, this recipe is taken from the 1934 Bar La Florida Cocktails guide. The legendary Havana watering hole was helmed by the influential Constantino Ribalaigua Vert, whose blended daiquiris were a favorite of Ernest Hemingway. This dry and sour daiquiri allows the rum to shine, and complements The Real McCoy 5 perfectly. Haigh simply calls it “the pinnacle of the classic daiquiri art.”
* Related recipe: The story of the Floridita Daiquiri rivals any novel
* Last week’s recipe: Classic Daiquiri
SAVE THE DATE: Upcoming events
***** In Florida *****
* 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.
* 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. 13-16 – Tiki Oasis, San Diego, Calif.
Keep us informed: If you have news or events to report, simply e-mail [email protected] 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.)