Cocktail Kingdom has joined forces with Jeff “Beachbum” Berry for the release this week of some cool vintage Tiki cocktail gear. The Hukilau’s official mug and pendant are now on sale as the June 10-14 event announces a new rum sponsor and updated entertainment schedule. Other news includes a special cocktail event at The Mai-Kai, the reopening of the Tiki-Ti, a historic unveiling at the Caliente Tropics hotel during Tiki Caliente, plus new Shag artwork at a Palm Springs party and New York City exhibit. Weekly features spotlight artist Mookie Sato, the Southern Surf Stomp! blog, instro icons Los Straitjackets, and Psycho Suzi’s Motor Lounge in Minneapolis. The rum of the week, Wicked Dolphin Silver, is featured in the Piña Colada.
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Cocktail Kingdom launches new line of Beachbum Berry Tiki barware
Just in time to jazz up your summer cocktail creations, premium barware company Cocktail Kingdom has teamed up with Tiki’s leading tropical drink historian, Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, for a new collection of vintage barware. The Swizzle Cup, Pearl Diver Glass, and Skull Bar Spoon join the Navy Grog Cone Kit (released in 2013) as worthy additions to any bar, Tiki or otherwise.
As with all of Cocktail Kingdom’s retro-inspired items, much care was taken to recreate the original, classic items. The combination of Berry’s meticulous research and the dedication of Cocktail Kingdom, which is owned by cocktail history enthusiast Greg Boehm, results in the best possible products. The publishing arm of Cocktail Kingdom also released Berry’s sixth book, Potions of the Caribbean: 500 Years of Tropical Drinks and the People Behind Them, in late 2013. In November 2014, the author became a Tiki bar proprietor with the opening of his first exotic lounge and restaurant, Latitude 29 in New Orleans.
The skull-topped barspoon is not based on any particular vintage item, but rather was inspired by pirate history and headhunter lore. You could put it to good use mixing a floater of 151 rum into a Shrunken Skull [See recipes] or other ominous concoction. It joins Cocktail Kingdom’s extensive selection of premium barspoons.
The arrival of the new glassware will likely be toasted at home and commercial Tiki bars across the land, where these rare items have been sought-after for years. The Swizzle Cup is made of lightweight stainless steel to the same specifications of the heavier metal versions that were popularized in the 1940s and 1950s. Newer versions of the sleek and stylish cups are used in a select number of the world’s top Tiki bars, such as The Mai-Kai in Fort Lauderdale, but the more common variety found on eBay just don’t measure up to the original. The new cup should allow for many more cocktail enthusiasts to enjoy a perfect 151 Swizzle, the deadly drink most commonly featured in the steel vessel to keep its contents ice cold. [See classic, Mai-Kai recipes]
The Pearl Diver Glass is even more mysterious. You’ll find it on old cocktail menus displaying Don the Beachcomber’s Pearl Diver and The Mai-Kai’s Deep Sea Diver [See recipes], but it hasn’t been seen “in the wild” in decades. It was also closely associated with the proto-Tiki classic, the Planter’s Punch. Frustrated that he was never able to find this glass in more than 20 years of hunting in the most obscure stores and swap meets, Berry turned to Boehm to recreate the vessel with the distinctive rippled stem and flared top.
Cocktail Kingdom specializes in elegant yet functional bar supplies for professionals and enthusiasts with an emphasis on historical accuracy and significance. Plans are in the works for more items produced in collaboration with Berry over the course of the year, a spokesman said. In addition to the online store, you can pick up Cocktail Kingdom products at the company’s New York City showroom and at Beaachbum Berry’s Latitutde 29 in New Orleans. Cocktail Kingdom will also have its barware for sale at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans in July.
Don’t miss: Berry and Cocktail Kingdom will both be at The Hukilau in Fort Lauderdale in June. Save the shipping costs and pick up the Tiki barware at the Cocktail Kingdom booth in the Tiki Treasures Bazaar from Thursday, June 11, through Saturday, June 13. Berry will also be appearing in several high-profile events. The Tiki Tower Takeover on June 11 in the 17th floor revolving lounge at the Hyatt Regency Pier 66 hotel is a rare opportunity to sample cocktails from Berry and three other leaders in the Tiki world: Paul McGee (Lost Lake, Chicago), Martin Cate (Smuggler’s Cove, San Francisco), and Brian Miller (Tiki Mondays With Miller, New York City). Berry will also be co-hosting a symposium with Miller on June 13, “Brigands, Barons & Beachcombers: The Many Faces of Planter’s Punch.”
Cocktail Kingdom: Buy the new barware now
Media coverage: Imbibe magazine | Food Republic | A Mountain of Crushed Ice
Beachbum Berry on The Atomic Grog:
Navy Grog Cone Kit | Take 5 interview | All posts
The Hukilau event mug now on sale, new details announced
The Hukilau’s official 2015 event mug by Tiki Diablo has been released to both attendees of the East Coast’s premiere Tiki weekender and the general public. A limited run of 400 mugs is being produced with four different glazes, 100 per glaze. You can choose from Ocean, Fire, Sand and Volcano. Designed and produced by Southern California artist Daniel Gallardo, aka Tiki Diablo, the mug was inspired and adapted from a design by artist Dave “Basement Kahuna” Wolfe. As a bonus, the mugs comes with a special LED swizzle stick. Also available now are pendants based on the mug by artist Perry Drake in four different colors.
* Order mugs and pendants now
Procrastinators who have yet to book a room at the host Hyatt Regency Pier 66 hotel are encouraged to do so now, before the special rate of $129 per night expires on May 28. The hotel, a mid-century landmark that towers 17 stories above the south end of Fort Lauderdale Beach, will be the site of most of the June 10-14 festivities, along with the historic Mai-Kai restaurant. Both date back to 1956 and have seen explosive growth over the years. The hotel features the iconic 17-story space-age tower built in 1965, 384 rooms, five restaurants and lounges, plus a newly remodeled marina. It also recently completed a $20 million renovation.
* Book a hotel room now
Haiti’s venerable Rhum Barbancourt is the fifth rum sponsor to come on board to provide tastings and cocktails featuring their award-winning spirits. You can find Rhum Barbancourt at the Tiki Tower Takeover, Jeff “Beachbum” Berry’s Planter’s Punch symposium and the “Three Hour Tour” cruise with Dawn Wells, aka Mary Ann on TV classic Gilligan’s Island. There will also be tastings to be announced in the Tiki Treasures Bazaar. Previously announced rum sponsors are Wicked Dolphin (Cape Coral, Fla.), Gubba (Massachusetts), The Real McCoy (Connecticut), and Fwaygo (Fort Lauderdale).
The daily schedule has been updated with many of the bands and perfomers now listed during specific time slots. Wednesday’s Pre-Party at The Mai-Kai will feature Miami’s Gold Dust Lounge. Thursday’s Tiki Tower Takeover will feature a solo set by Pablus of The Crazed Mugs. Thursday’s Kick-Off Party at Pier 66 will include The Intoxicators, Kinky Waikiki, King Kukulele, and Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid. The lineup for Friday’s Main Event at Pier 66 is the Alika Lyman Group, Kinky Waikiki, Slip and the Spinouts, The Disasternauts, and Burlesque perfomer Lila Starlet. The Mai-Kai’s Saturday and Sunday’s lineup is still to be announced, but it’s sure to include King Kukulele, The Intoxicators, the Alika Lyman Group, Skinny Jimmy Stingray, plus more of the previously mentioned bands. Also scheduled for Saturday at Pier 66 from 1:30 to 3 p.m. is a book signing and autograph session with Dawn Wells, plus symposium presenters Kevin Kidney and Jody Daily, Jeff Chenault, and Domenic Priore.
Atomic Grog previews
* The Hukilau gears up for 14th annual Tiki weekender, exclusive events
* The Hukilau welcomes Tiki’s top bartenders, Dawn Wells of ‘Gilligan’s Island’
* The Hukilau announces six historic symposiums, ticket sales for June event
* The Hukilau is movin’ on up … to the landmark Pier 66 hotel on Fort Lauderdale Beach
Quick hits: Flights at The Mai-Kai, Tiki-Ti reopens, Tiki Caliente celebrates Caliente Tropics, Shag party and exhibit
The lineup of cocktails has been revealed for Saturday’s special event at The Mai-Kai in Fort Lauderdale that salutes the competitors in “The Art of Tiki: A Cocktail Showdown” held during February’s South Beach Wine & Food Festival. The flight of three cocktails will include two of the big winners, general manager Kern Mattei says. The Pain Reliever, the Judge’s Choice winner by New York City’s Brian Miller, will be joined by Paradise Found, the People’s Choice winner from Miami’s The Broken Shaker. The $15 flight of small tastings will also include The Mai-Kai’s own Molokai Swizzle. [See updated recipe] You can order the flights, presented by the Gumbo Limbo chapter of the Fraternal Order of Moai, in The Molokai lounge from 5 to 7 p.m. As usual, you can also enjoy half-priced cocktails and pupus from The Mai-Kai’s vast menu of Tiki classics.
* Atomic Grog coverage: Emeril brings Tiki to South Beach | Mai-Kai Cocktail Guide
Crisis averted: The recent closing of the legendary Tiki-Ti in Los Angeles was apparently short-lived. The Sunset Boulevard icon, which dates back to 1961, was scheduled to re-open on Friday, May 22. [See story] The bar’s Facebook page contains a banner touting the “return to normalcy” and “regularly scheduled schenanigans.” The closing for “restructuring and stuff” was announced May 6, resulting in a wave of concern in the Tiki cocktail world. The small, vintage bar is run by Mike Buhen and his sons, the second and third generation mixologists carrying on the tradition of founder Ray Buhen. The elder Buhen created the famous menu of 90+ tropical cocktails after working for decades in California’s original Tiki bars, including Don The Beachcomber.
History was made at the recent Tiki Caliente event at the Caliente Tropics hotel in Palm Springs. After more than a decade, the vintage carved signs created by artist Bosko Hrnjak finally found their home throughout the restored property. The signs were unveiled at a special ceremony hosted by Crazy Al Evans. The hotel is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2015 and recently changed ownership, precipitating the completion of Bosko’s long-dormant project. The seventh Tiki Caliente was a four-day celebration held May 14-17, featuring the Martini Kings, The Ding Dong Devils, Tiki Joe’s Ocean, art shows, room parties, and much more.
* Tiki Caliente 7 live podcast (Zen Tiki Lounge)
Shag: The Store is celebrating its fifth anniversary with a party on Sautrday (May 23) in Palm Springs. The swank retail spot dedicated to the works of Josh Agle (aka Shag), will debut 15 original hand-painted masks, plus Shag’s “The Girl from Coachella” print. You can also meet the artist at the event, which runs from 7 to 9:30 p.m. and includes complimentary cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and a DJ. [Facebook event] Meanwhile, on the East Coast, the Jonathan LeVine Gallery in New York City is presenting the “All My Bones” exhibit spotlighting new works by Shag. The artist’s fifth solo exhibition at the gallery opened May 14 and runs through June 13. It features a paradoxical narrative influenced by Biblical stories, with the pieces inspired by a book of stories Agle had as a child. In these paintings, the artist places unlikely Biblical characters in the usual hedonistic atmosphere of a typical Shag painting. [See the artwork]
***** Links of the week*****
* Photos: Retro Roadmap Vintage Wildwood Tiki Weekend a success! (Retro Roadmap)
* New Orleans’ Tiki bar revival brings rum to the forefront (Best of New Orleans)
* Branden Powers’ new bar brings Tiki to Chinatown (Vegas Seven)
* Where did the Tiki mug come from and why the current resurgence? (LA Weekly)
* Shipwreck could hold vast stock of 250-year-old rum (The Drinks Business)
ARTIST OF THE WEEK: Mookie Sato
Based a world away in his native Japan, Mookie Sato is nevertheless a key participant in the modern North American Tiki scene. Usually known simply as Mookie, this young mid-century inspired artist has a considerable following in the states and regularly attends events such as The Hukilau in Fort Lauderdale. His artwork and designs have graced merchandise at several past events, and he recently joined the Tiki Farm family with a signature mug, U’i Lani. His art is always whimsical, with traditional Tiki imagery meshing with modern and Japanese influences. Truly a unique talent in the scene, Mookie revived the 1960s Japanese wooden figurines known as Popsies for The Hukilau in 2014.
* Find Mookie: Facebook | Etsy | Instagram
* See past artists of the week
WEBSITE OF THE WEEK: Southern Surf Stomp!
Even if you live in the region, you may not be aware that the Southern United States is one of the world’s biggest hotbeds for instrumental surf music. You can’t blame longtime Atlanta-based musician Chad Shivers, who is doing his best to spread the word with his Southern Surf Stomp! blog, podcast, and monthly concerts. His website, launched in early 2014, includes a handy gig guide for shows throughout the region, plus great music on the Southern Surf Stompcast. Episode 9 features many of the 28 bands who played the seventh Instro Summit, the world’s largest instrumental music festival, in North Carolina earlier this month. Shivers, who plays with The Mystery Men?, is part of a new breed of plugged-in musician/promoters (along with the Intro Summit’s Crispy Bess) who are spreading the gospel about all the great bands in the region and helping put Southern surf music on the map.
* SouthernSurfStomp.blogspot.com | Facebook | Twitter
* Chad Shivers’ Southern Surf Stomp channels the past, present, and future of Atlanta’s surf scene (Creative Loafing)
* Related: Florida at forefront of surf rock’s contemporary renaissance
* See past websites of the week
BAND/MUSIC OF THE WEEK:
One of the world’s most acclaimed instrumental guitar combos is also one of the most mysterious, thanks to the ubiquitous Mexican wrestling masks the band members are rarely seen without. Formed in Nashville in 1988 by guitarists Danny Amis (aka Daddy-O Grande) and Eddie Angel, the band has released 14 studio albums, four collaboration albums and four live albums. They followed up the excellent Jet Set (2012) with Play The Great Instrumental Hits!!!!!! (2014), a collaboration with Deke Dickerson. While they band’s music is commonly grouped with surf music, it transcends that genre with many influences and flourishes that include ’60s pop, Latin, spy and spaghetti Western, country, and more. Los Straitjackets will be touring throughout the Northeast over the next few months, including a headlining slot at Ohana: Luau At The Lake.
* Why is Los Straitjackets guitarist Danny Amis moving to Mexico? (LA Weekly)
* Eddie Angel talks surf, masks + genuine rock and roll (Diffuser)
* Official website | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube
* Buy Los Straitjackets music: Amazon | Band store
* DaddyOGrande.com | EddieAngel.com | Yep Roc Records
* Past Atomic Grog coveage: Los Straitjackets soar again with the release of Jet Set
* Audio slideshow flashback: Los Straitjackets highlight a rockin’ 2009 Hukilau
* See past bands/music of the week
TIKI BAR OF THE WEEK:
Psycho Suzi’s Motor Lounge
Proudly carrying the Tiki torch in the very non-tropical environs of Minneapolis for more than a decade, Psycho Suzi’s has also gained national attention via appearances on TV’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives (Food Network) and more recently Best Bars in America (Esquire Network). Opened in late 2003 in an old A&W Drive-In, Psycho Suzi’s moved to a larger location right on the Mississippi River in November 2010. It combines elements of classic Tiki bars with a healthy dose of lowbrow culture and kitsch, providing a little something for everyone. Psycho Suzi’s boasts lots of signature mugs, potent cocktails, plus classic and reimagined diner food. The vast space includes the main bar, a riverfront patio, and a second level “Shangri-La” with three distinctly themed lounges (the Shrunken Head, Forbidden Cove, and Ports of Pleasure). The hours are also extensive and include breakfast, brunch and lunch. Don’t miss the house band, Exotik-A-GoGo.
* Official website | Facebook | Twitter | Pintrest | Instagram
* Critiki profile, photos | Tiki Central discussion
* See past Tiki bars of the week
RUM OF THE WEEK:
Wicked Dolphin Silver
A new line of artisan rums with a Florida flair, Wicked Dolphin is distilled on the southwest Florida coast in tiny Cape Coral. The distillery keeps it local by using native ingredients, including molasses from Florida sugar cane, to produce its award-winning products. If you find yourself on the Gulf Coast, be sure to check out the free distillery tours. Since launching in 2012, owner JoAnn Elardo has expanded with new flavors and impressive distribution at 2,000 locations across Florida. Headway was recently made into South Carolina and Georgia, with Delaware and Washington, D.C., coming aboard June 1. Wicked Dolphin Silver was the first rum to come out of the distillery’s copper still, winning a gold medal at the 2013 Miami Rum Festival. It’s a rich and complex white rum with sophisticated balance. It’s a little woody, thanks to aging in used oak barrels, a great touch. The overall taste leans toward a clean, classic Spanish-style rum, but it’s not extremely dry. You can pick out an assortment of subtle flavors (vanilla, honey, citrus, etc.).
* Official sites: WickedDolphinRum.com | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
* Wicked Dolphin a splashing success in Cape Coral (Fort Myers News-Press)
* See all past rums of the week
Don’t miss: Wicked Dolphin will be pouring samples of its rums in the Tiki Treasures Bazaar at The Hukilau in Fort Lauderdale from Thursday, June 11, through Saturday, June 13.
COCKTAIL OF THE WEEK: Piña Colada
* 2 ounces white Puerto Rican rum
* 1 1/2 ounce coconut cream (Coco Real or Coco Lopez)
* 1 ounce pineapple juice (fresh preferred)
* 3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
* 1/2 ounce pineapple syrup
Shake with 1 cup of ice cubes and strain over crushed ice. Garnish with fresh grated nutmeg and a cherry-pineapple spear.
The Piña Colada gets little, if any, respect in the cocktail world and most recipes follow the classic template that includes lots of pineapple juice, plus heavy cream. It’s a decent drink when done right, particularly when served on the rocks instead of blended into a smoothie. But the above recipe breaks the mold and is easily my favorite. My apologies to the creator since I didn’t note the source when I filed this away years ago. Kudos for dialing way back on the juice and eliminating the cream, then adding lime for balance. It gives the drink a much-needed sour element, and the pineapple syrup (available from Small Hand Foods, Monin and elsewhere) adds sophistication and more intense flavor. The nutmeg is also a nice touch, adding familiar aromatics similar to a Painkiller. The assertive but not overpowering Wicked Dolphin Silver is the perfect rum for this recipe. It has that sharp and crisp Puerto Rican style that cuts through the sweet and creamy elements, and it also adds enough complexity to elevate this maligned classic.
* Mai-Kai cocktail review: Tradition, quality give Piña Colada much-needed dose of respect
* Past coverage: Piña Colada Paternity Test at 2012 Miami Rum Festival
* See all past cocktails of the week
SAVE THE DATE: Upcoming events
***** In Florida *****
* 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.
***** Across the U.S. *****
* July 10-12 – Tiki Kon, Portland, Ore., and Vancouver, Wash.
* Aug. 7-8 – Hot Rod Hula Hop, Columbus, Ohio.
* Aug. 8 – Surf Guitar 101 Convention, Garden Grove, Calif.
* Aug. 13-16 – Tiki Oasis, San Diego, Calif.
* Sept. 12 – California Rum Fest, San Francisco.
* Dec. 4 – Midwest Rum Fest, Louisville, Ky.
***** Worldwide *****
* May 23-25 – RhumFest Paris, Paris, France.
* June 18-21 – Surfer Joe Summer Festival, Livorno, Italy.
* June 26-28 – Tiki Pop Fever, Saint-Tropez, France.
* Oct. 3-4 – German Rum Festival,, Berlin
* Oct. 17-18 – The RumFest: London, United Kingdom
* Nov. 6-7 – Caribbean Rum & Beer Festival, St. Maarten
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.)