Minimalist Tiki

The Week in Tiki (March 2, 2015): The Hukilau mug giveaway, Bacardi cocktail champ, $153,400 Tiki Room bird

The Week in TikiThis week’s news includes a contest to win the new event mug for The Hukilau 2015 by Tiki Diablo, plus a preview of a New York City cocktail event featuring the crew from Tiki Mondays With Miller. We also recap last week’s Legacy Cocktail Competition in Miami Beach sponsored by Bacardi, and an auction of Disney parks collectibles that netted $1.7 million. Our weekly features spotlight artist Robert Jimenez, and The Quiet Village, exotic band Ixtahuele, and former Tiki hotspot The Castaways in Miami Beach. The rum of the week, Denizen white, is featured in the Rebel With a Cause cocktail.
* 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

THIS WEEK’S HIGHLIGHTS (March 2-8, 2015)

The Hukilau mug giveaway Tuesday

The Hukilau

On Tuesday (March 3), The Hukilau will be unveiling a contest that will give participants a chance to win the official 2015 event mug by Tiki Diablo.

You must have a past mug (or mugs) from The Hukilau and an Instagram account to enter. Follow The Hukilau and check the Facebook page for more info.

The annual Polynesian Pop weekender will be held June 10-14 at the Hyatt Regency Pier 66 and The Mai-Kai restaurant in Fort Lauderdale. Musical guests and performers include Alika Lyman Group, The Intoxicators, Gold Dust Lounge, Pablus, Slip and the Spinouts, Kinky Waikiki, Skinny Jimmy Stingray, Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid, and King Kukulele. Symposium presenters are Arthur Dong, Kevin Kidney and Jody Daily, Jeff “Beachbum” Berry and Brian Miller, Domenic Priore, Jeff Chenault, plus Jon Bortles and Tiki Gardener.

Get your wristbands and symposium tickets now at before they sell out. The 14th annual Tiki weekender will also include two one-of-a-kind events: The Tiki Tower Takeover featuring Jeff “Beachbum” Berry (Latitude 29, New Orleans), Martin Cate (Smuggler’s Cove, San Francisco), Paul McGee (Lost Lake, Chicago) and Brian Miller (Tiki Mondays With Miller, New York City) mixing up special cocktails in the Pier Top Lounge. And a special “Three Hour Tour” cruise with actress Dawn Wells, aka Mary Ann on classic TV show Gilligan’s Island.

The Hukilau: Latest news, previews from The Atomic Grog

Tiki pirates invade New York City bartending event

Ryan Liloia and Brian Miller
Ryan Liloia and Brian Miller

Fresh off his cocktail showdown triumph at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, Tiki Mondays With Miller mastermind Brian Miller and his “corporal captain” will be making a special appearance Wednesday (March 4) for the kickoff of the 2015 “Besties Guest Bartender Series” in New York City. The event, presented by online magazine Punch and Momofuku, will run from 5 to 10 p.m. at Má Pêche in the Chambers Hotel on West 56th Street.

Miller and Ryan Liloia will be slinging four Tiki drinks from their arsenal, with a portion of the proceeds going to charity. The event evolved from Momofuku mixologist John deBary’s gatherings of former co-workers and bartender friends into a monthly celebration of “camaraderie and good drinks.”

Gotham residents may not want to miss this opportunity to throw back some of Miller’s expertly crafted cocktails before he migrates to the West Coast. After winning the “The Art of Tiki: A Cocktail Showdown” in Miami Beach on Feb. 20, he announced that he’ll soon be setting up shop in Los Angeles.
* Punch: Event preview, recipes, interviews with Miller and Liloia (Punch)

LAST WEEK IN REVIEW (Feb. 24-March 1, 2015)

Bacardi crowns U.S. winner of Legacy Cocktail Competition

Massachusetts bartender Ran Duan
Massachusetts bartender Ran Duan and his winning drink, Father’s Advice.

An acclaimed Massachusetts bartender won the U.S. finals of Bacardi’s Legacy Cocktail Competition at the Temple House on Miami Beach last Tuesday (Feb. 24). Ran Duan will move on to the global finals in May in Sydney, Australia, with participants from 35 other countries.
* Official Facebook page

Ran Duan works his magic at The Baldwin Bar at Sichuan Garden, his family’s restaurant in Woburn, Mass. He beat out eight other finalists who all had won regional competitions. The winning cocktail was Father’s Advice: 1 1/2 parts Bacardo Gold rum, 1/2 part Punt E Mes, 1/2 part Cardamaro, 1/2 part Amontillado Sherry Lustau, and 1/4 part Creme De Banana Giffard. To prepare, combine all ingredients and stir for 45 seconds. Pour into a chilled coupe glass and garnish with an orange swath.
* Related: Behind the Bar at Sichuan Garden II (Boston magazine)

The competition is sponsored by Bacardi, the global rum brand based in Miami, and presented by the United States Bartenders Guild. Its goal is to to find the next iconic rum drink, defined by balance, flavor, quality of ingredients and aesthetic appeal, plus an enduring back story. Contestants used Bacardi Superior and Gold rums.

Other finalists included South Florida’s Trevor Alberts (Orange Blossom, Miami Beach) and Julio Cabrera (The Regent, Miami Beach). Judges were Chad Michael George (president, Colorado chapter of the USBG), Jim Meehan (author and creator of PDT in New York City), Naomi Levy (2014 National Legacy winner), Willie Ramos (Bacardi’s senior brand master), and Juan Coronado (Bacardi’s senior brand ambassador).

Enchanted Tiki Room bird fetches $153,400 at Disney auction

 Enchanted Tiki Room bird
An Enchanted Tiki Room bird sold for $153,400. (Van Eaton Galleries)

Nearly 1,000 items vintage items from Disneyland and Disney World, including a bird from the Enchanted Tiki Room and an original Pirates of the Caribbean attraction skeleton, were auctioned off Saturday and Sunday for a cool $1.7 million. Bids came from around the world for the auction held online and at Van Eaton Galleries in Sherman Oaks, Calif.

The green animatronic Tiki Room bird from Disneyland (circa 1970s) was the most expensive item at $153,400. The 1967 Pirates skeleton, which holds a cutlass and chugs from a bottle, went for $129,800. The total bids were double what the gallery owners anticipated.

The collector who will reap the windfall was identified as Jordan Reichek, an animator from Southern California. He started the collection about 25 years ago, but he wouldn’t say how he got the items. Apparently, he knew a few employees of Disney.

Other items sold include a doll from the It’s a Small World attraction, a 1965 Pirates of the Caribbean concept painting by animator Marc Davis, and a 1954 concept drawing of Disneyland’s Tomorrowland by Bruce Bushman.

* Media coverage: Los Angeles Times | Orange County Register

***** Links of the week*****
* Tiki drink wizard and fire artist at Tacoma Cabana (A Mountain Of Crushed Ice)
* Rum Journal: Why this is the Caribbean’s greatest cocktail (Caribbean Journal)
* Too good to mix: 9 rums perfect for sipping (Serious Eats)
* Stocking the Tiki bar: Rums (Rated R Cocktails)
* From top-shelf sipper to no thanks: The fall of Zaya rum (The Rum Collective)
* Rum flavour map launched to aid ‘confusing’ category (The Spirits Business)
* New Liverpool rum festival to launch (Liverpool Echo)

Robert Jimenez at Wonderground Gallery at Disney World's Downtown Disney

Robert Jimenez

Brooklyn native and South Florida resident Robert Jimenez is a prolific artist inspired by 20th century pop culture, including both Tiki and Disney. His colorful style of painting is complex and whimsical, owing much to his many influences, from comic books to B monster movies to pulp art. His work has appeared on album covers, in magazines and at galleries across the country. He’ll be appearing at the opening of the new Wonderground Gallery at Disney World’s Downtown Disney (soon to be Disney Springs) on Friday and Saturday (March 6-7), signing prints and greeting guests. He previously appeared at the original Disneyland location of Wonderground, a cutting-edge gallery featuring contemporary and Disney art. Get more info on the Disney parks merchandise website.
* More on the WonderGround Gallery: WDW News Today | WDW for Grownups

You can also catch Robert at The Hukilau in Fort Lauderdale on June 10-14 showing off and selling his work in the Tiki Treasures Bazaar.
* Visit Robert at and | Facebook page
* See past artists of the week

DigiTiki and The Quiet Village

DigiTiki and The Quiet Village

DigiTiki is the online nom de plume of Mark Riddle, aka musician Marty Lush (Tikiyaki Orchestra, Tiki Joe’s Ocean, Marty Lush & His Latin Livers, Alika Lyman Group). His website, podcast and new streaming radio station are a treasure trove of classic and modern exotica music. This should come as no surprise considering Riddle is one of the scene’s most notable experts in the field. Though very informative and historically accurate, his website and broadcasts are certainly not dry and boring. Join DigiTiki in his “hut” as he prepares a Mai Tai and plays host at a festive and entertaining Tiki cocktail party. You also never know who will drop by for an interview, from musicians past and present to Tiki luminaries such as Jeff “Beachbum” Berry. And don’t forget to check out the site’s Collector’s Corner for a comprehensive and continually updated list of exotica and Hawaiian music, with links to where you can find it.
* homepage | The Quiet Village: Podcast | Streaming radio
* Related: Eclectic podcasts broadcast the soundtrack to the Tiki revival
* See past websites of the week

Ìxtahuele at The Hukilau 2013
Ìxtahuele, shown performing at The Mai-Kai, made its U.S. debut at The Hukilau in June 2013.


It’s hard to believe that Ìxtahuele has been a band for just four years. Founded on 2011, the 5-piece ensemble based in Göteborg, Sweden, has released one of finest examples of classic exotica in decades (Pagan Rites) and backed that up with dazzling live shows across the globe. Pagan Rites is an modern exotica classic, immediately bringing to mind the mid-century masters (Martin Denny, Arthur Lyman, et al.) but adding a fresh and powerful dynamic that leaps out of the speakers. It’s even more impressive when you realize that Ìxtahuele’s music is all original material. The 10-track album is full of great songs, including Black Sand, Rarohengan Dance, Stone Gods Of Bimini, Orust Luau, and Dengue Fever. If this is the future of exotica, we’re definitely in good hands.
* Official band website | Facebook page
* Amazon: Buy Pagan Rites (vinyl, CD, MP3)
* See past bands/music of the week

The Castaways

The Castaways, Miami Beach

This sprawling resort complex rose on both sides of oceanside Collins Avenue during the height of the mid-century Polynesian Pop craze in the 1950s. It closed in the early ’80s, eventually replaced by condominiums. But during its quarter-century run, it was one of the most over-the-top examples of Tiki excess. The resort featured seven bars, more than 500 rooms, a private dock, five swimming pools, tennis courts, and a putting green built on 15 acres, including a man-made island. The distinctive main building, designed by architect Charles McKirahan (The Mai-Kai), featured the Tahitian Bar and the sunken-ship themed Wreck Bar. By the mid-’60s, the subterranean den had become a hip hangout with its porthole windows into the pool, live rock ‘n’ roll, and go-go dancers. Its patrons included The Beatles, Frank Zappa and Jimmy Hendrix, who also performed (see vintage flyer).
* From Wreck Bar to the wrecking ball, the history of The Castaways (Curbed Miami)
* Missing Miami: The Castaways (Tropic magazine)
* Critiki profile, photos | Tiki Central discussion
* See past Tiki bars of the week

RUM OF THE WEEK: Denizen aged white rum
The award-winning Denizen white rum, introduced in the United States in 2010, is among a new breed of unique premium silver rums. But unlike many others, it doesn’t come with a premium price tag. Founder Nick Pelis is very hands-on with his product and was kind enough to send along a couple sample bottles. Denizen also makes Merchant’s Reserve, a distinctive gold aged rum that we’ll be reviewing soon. Denizen white includes unaged and aged (up to 5 years) rum from Angostura distillery in Trinidad, plus 15 different pot-stilled rums from Jamaica. It’s then blended by masters and bottled in Amsterdam. I found the rum to be complex and refined with many levels of flavor. Vanilla and molasses mingle with slight touch of spice and oak, creating a well-rounded mixing rum that gives the top dogs a run for their money. While distribution has not reached Florida, you can get it through online retailers or check here for availalability in your state.
* See past rums of the week

COCKTAIL OF THE WEEK: Rebel With a Cause
(From Denizen rum)

Rebel With a Cause
Rebel With a Cause featuring Denizen aged white rum. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward)

* 2 ounces Denizen aged white rum
* 3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
* 3/4 ounce agave nectar
* 2 dashes Angostura bitters
* 4 (or more) mint leaves
Muddle mint and agave in a shaker, then add other ingredients and shake well with a cup of ice cubes. Strain over crushed ice in a rocks glass and garnish with a spring of fresh mint.

Denizen bills this as a “liberated Mojito,” and I was pleasantly surprised at how much the Rebel With a Cause elevates that often mundane concept. It’s light and refreshing but also sweet and spicy. It reminds me a bit of a lighter Queens Park Swizzle. The mint adds nice aromatics and flavor, while the bold Denizen white rum shines through with its rich and sophisticated flavor. The bitters is the key, keeping the drink from becoming too light. If you don’t have access to Denizen white, try another aged white rum with bold flavors.
* See past cocktails of the week

SAVE THE DATE: Upcoming events

The Hukilau

***** In Florida *****
* March 14 – Dapper Day at Disney World.
* April 17-19 – Miami Rum Renaissance Festival. The ultimate rum festival and trade expo. [Atomic Grog 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. [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 – 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.

Tiki Oasis

***** Across the U.S. *****
* 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. 8Surf 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

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.)

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