Minimalist Tiki

The Week in Tiki (Jan. 1-15, 2016): New Tikis to rise at The Mai-Kai, Lost Lake honored, Smuggler’s Cove book release, Tiki in South Beach, plus more!

The Week in Tiki The new year is off to a roaring start with comprehensive coverage of the carving and planned installation of two giant Tikis at The Mai-Kai during The Hukilau. Chicago’s Lost Lake was named Cocktail Bar of the Year, while Martin Cate of Smuggler’s Cove announced the release date for his long-awaited rum and cocktail book. In South Beach, “The Art of Tiki: A Cocktail Showdown” sells out, and we receive exclusive news on a new Tiki bar from celebrity chef Ralph Pagano. We also preview an art and rum event in Fort Lauderdale, plus Tiki Caliente in Palm Springs. Quick sips include The Broken Shaker opening an outpost in Los Angeles, Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid heating up Las Vegas, and the introduction of Rum Minute videos. Regular features spotlight lowbrow legend Robert Williams; Indianapolis surf band The Madeira; The Rum Line cocktail bar on Miami Beach; and the Imbibe website. The Rum of the Week, R.L. Seale’s 10-year-old from Barbados, is featured in the Winter Daiquiri.
* Keep up with The Week in Tiki: Facebook page | RSS feed | See past weeks | Archive
* Weekly features: Artist | Band/music | Bar | Website | Rum | Cocktail | Events

Note: For 2016, The Week in Tiki will remain bi-weekly, but we’ve simplified the schedule. Look for blogs recapping the first and second half of each month.

Giant carved Tikis to be donated to The Mai-Kai in June

Fort Lauderdale carver Will Anders works on a Tiki that will rise in The Mai-Kai's outdoor gardens in June. The log behind him will become the second Tiki. (Photo by Christie "Tiki Kiliki" White, January 2016)
Will Anders works on a Tiki that will rise in The Mai-Kai’s outdoor gardens in June. (Photo by Christie “Tiki Kiliki” White, January 2016)

The Mai-Kai in Fort Lauderdale is renowned for the massive Tiki carvings that grace its grounds, some dating back a half-century. But in recent years, many have sadly succumbed to the elements. Every year, it seems, you’ll find another tribute mug to one of The Mai-Kai’s fallen Tikis.

A Tiki carved by Barney West in the early 1960s is seen in The Mai-Kai garden in 2005, before it fell victim to the elements. (The Palm Beach Post)
A Tiki carved by Barney West in the early 1960s is seen in The Mai-Kai garden in 2005, before it fell victim to the elements. (The Palm Beach Post)

In June, however, there will be a welcome new sight at the 59-year-old historic landmark. Two monumental Tiki carvings standing up to 10 feet tall will be unveiled in the restaurant’s outdoor tropical garden during The Hukilau, the annual Polynesian Pop celebration that draws enthusiasts from around the world. Marking the project happen were The Hukilau’s Christie “Tiki Kiliki” White and master carver Will Anders, plus several other people whose contributions were indispensable.

Anders began work on the Tikis in November, when two gigantic logs estimated to weigh 4,000 to 6,000 pounds each arrived at his Fort Lauderdale home. By early January, when White snapped the photo above, the first Tiki was already taking shape. She later announced the project on Facebook, calling it a dream come true. “I have to say, when you see a man of 119 pounds carving a 4,000-pound tree into such an amazing work of art, it humbles you,” she wrote.

Using tools including chainsaw and chisel, Anders said he “bangs away for about four hours every morning” on the Florida Black Olive tree trunk that started out 10 feet tall and 3 feet across at the small end. It sits in a special rigging system, a “come along,” to enable him to move and turn the massive log. Once it’s complete, he’ll begin work on the Florida Live Oak and its much harder wood, a task he said he’s not looking forward to. But he’s gladly accepted the challenge.

In late November, two logs weighing 4,000 to 6,000 pounds each await carver Will Anders in Fort Lauderdale. (Photo by Will Anders)
In late November, two logs weighing 4,000 to 6,000 pounds each await carver Will Anders in Fort Lauderdale. (Photo by Will Anders)

But the story begins long before chisel hit wood. Saddened by the loss of The Mai-Kai’s massive Tikis, created by legendary carver Barney West in the early 1960s, White made it a mission to replace them. She enlisted the help of Tiki and Mai-Kai loyalists, and remarkably everything fell into place. “It’s a true labor of love for all involved,” she wrote on Facebook.

“It didn’t take long to get others inspired, and to date we have been successful in getting everything donated – from the giant Tikis, to the trucks to get them to us to the man who has set out to carve them,” White wrote. “All of them have donated their efforts, time and money.” She said the goal is to “keep the spirit of The Mai-Kai alive by replacing the large idols in the gardens” and unveil them at The Hukilau in June.

First, White recruited Anders, who has a longtime relationship with The Mai-Kai that includes a unique artistic role casting dozens of smaller Tikis in cement from their original molds. A mutual friend and former Mai-Kai employee, Lonnie Dryden, donated the heavy equipment needed to transport the logs. And a frustrating search for wood in Florida that was large enough and suitable for carving finally ended when Dryden’s friend, Lee Cicchella of Paradise Found Landscaping, donated the two trees. Pete Ginn donated all the heavy equipment, and the plan was in place.

A close-up of the giant Hawaiian Ku, carved by Will Anders from Florida Black Olive wood, that's bound for The Mai-Kai's outdoor garden. (Photo by Will Anders)
A close-up of the giant Hawaiian Ku, carved by Will Anders from Florida Black Olive wood, that’s bound for The Mai-Kai’s outdoor garden. (Photo by Will Anders)

As for Anders, White said he “has been working tirelessly, driven to finish and work hard for this project.” Over a month’s time, White said, the artist spent more than 120 hours on the first Tiki. “He’s cut himself several times, exhausted himself and gets up every morning with a new game plan to finish another area,” she wrote.

His game plan for the Hawaiian Ku design, he said, is “try to keep it as traditional as possible.” Everything from the arms to the legs to the headdress follows the distinctive style, he said. Click here to follow the project on Tiki Central as Anders posts photos and answers questions. Look for more updates on The Atomic Grog, including an up-close look at Will Anders at work.

White can’t wait for June, when the Tikis are standing proudly in their new home. “From all of us to all of you – we hope you are just as excited as we are to put these beautiful carvings into place for The Hukilau,” she wrote.

A cast cement Tiki created by Will Anders from a mold that The Mai-Kai's original owner, Bob Thornton (pictured), had the foresight to have made. (Photo by Will Anders)
A cast cement Tiki created by Will Anders from a mold that The Mai-Kai’s original owner, Bob Thornton (pictured), had the foresight to have made. (Photo by Will Anders)

In the meantime, you can see Anders’ handiwork throughout The Mai-Kai, where he has re-cast many of the crumbling wooden Tikis in cement. Bob Thornton, who owned the mid-century icon from 1956 until his death in 1989, had the foresight to have molds made of many of the original pieces. Years later, the molds were discovered in The Mai-Kai’s warehouse. [See photos of Anders’ work on Tiki Central] He’s also responsible for the giant foam Tiki in the back of the garden that pays tribute to the Mara-Amu cocktail.

Look for a couple castings from 50-year-old molds of decorative Hawaiian Paddles created by Anders in The Mai-Kai Trading Post. Also available while supplies last in the gift shop: Six artist proofs of Tiki mugs created by Tiki Diablo to celebrate The Mai-Kai’s 59th anniversary, paying tribute to the restaurant’s iconic Tikis.

Don’t miss: Will Anders will be teaching the class “DIY – Carving 101” at The Hukilau on Friday, June 10, at 10:30 a.m. at the Hyatt Regency Pier 66 hotel. Guests will learn how to carve a bar of soap, the first step toward learning the art of Tiki carving.

JUNE UPDATE: ‘King Kai’ leads procession of new Tikis into The Mai-Kai

More on The Hukilau: Official site | Facebook: Page and Group | Twitter | Instagram

Chicago’s Lost Lake named Cocktail Bar of the Year

Chicago's Lost Lake named Cocktail Bar of the Year by Imbibe magazine

After less than a year in operation, acclaimed neo-Tiki bar Lost Lake in Chicago added another award to its growing list of achievements when it was named Cocktail Bar of the Year for 2016 by Imbibe magazine. “It isn’t just about Tiki drinks. The Lost Lake experience combines the best in hospitality and drinks with fun and relaxing escapist vibes,” the magazine says. ” The mix of classics and modern drinks hold to the expected tropical framework, but many of the new recipes tip the scales of the genre.”

Led by craft and Tiki cocktail visionary Paul McGee, Lost Lake opened to much fanfare last January after the veteran barman revived Tiki in the Windy City at his prior establishment, Three Dots and a Dash. “While the drinks reign supreme, Lost Lake would largely be a pretty facade without its powerhouse staff,” Imbibe says. “Most of the crew was trained by McGee at Three Dots, and they excel at mixing large-format ‘drinks to share’ during peak hours. And for some the success of the bar is also a family affair — McGee’s wife Shelby Allison and her bartending brothers, John and Andy, all play a role in making sure Lost Lake remains one of the most hospitable, quality-driven bars in the country.”

Paul McGee and Shelby Allison, Lost Lake
Paul McGee and Shelby Allison represent Lost Lake in the Tiki Tower Takeover at The Hukilau in June 2015. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward)

McGee was humbled by the honor, posting on Facebook: “Before moving to Chicago, I would read Imbibe magazine as well as (current editor) Paul Clarke’s blog, Cocktail Chronicles, for recipes and inspiration — and pretty much idolized anyone featured in either. I thought that having a recipe published would be the absolute coolest thing, but seeing our bar featured as the Cocktail Bar of the Year is just beyond. It’s such an honor, especially coming from a source that I admire so much.”

Kudos also go out to McGee’s creative partners, the Land and Sea Dept. of Chicago, plus rum and Tiki guru Martin Cate of Smuggler’s Cove in San Francisco (see story below). It’s inevitable that great things happen when you put those creative minds together on a bar concept. A craft cocktail innovator, McGee still receives raves for his first Chicago project, The Whistler. His latest endeavour, the Milk Room in Chicago, is redefining the concept of a modern speakeasy.

Meanwhile, another highly regarded Tiki establishment, Beachbum Berry’s Latitude 29, was listed by Thrillist as one of the 21 Best New Bars in America. The French Quarter spot “marries solid spins on Thai food … with Tiki drinks good enough to convert even the most stoically landlubbing New Yorker,” Thrillist says.

Related: The 2016 Imbibe 75
Press coverage: Chicago Eater | DNAinfo | Chicagoist
On The Atomic Grog
* Lost Lake: Bar of the Month | Lost Lake cocktail
* Latitude 29: Bar of the Year | Bar of the Month

Smuggler’s Cove cocktail book arrives in port in June; order now!

Smuggler's Cove: Exotic Cocktails, Rum and the Cult of Tiki

Rum and Tiki cocktail trailblazer Martin Cate has confirmed that his long-awaited book, Smuggler’s Cove: Exotic Cocktails, Rum and the Cult of Tiki, will be released via 10 Speed Press on June 7. “You’ll find us all over the U.S. this summer taking our baby on tour,” Cate posted on Facebook. This will include multiple book signings (at The Mai-Kai and Pier 66) during The Hukilau in Fort Lauderdale on June 8-12. [See full event preview].

So what exactly is the baby? It’s a labor of love from Cate (with wife Rebecca), who called upon their vast experience in the upper echelon of the Tiki and rum scenes to produce an illustrated history of Tiki and rum culture in America. There will be cocktail recipes from Cate’s acclaimed San Francisco bar, Smuggler’s Cove, as well as a complete primer on the history and various styles of rum. The book will feature more than 100 recipes (both original and historic). Cate also weaves fascinating tales of the early days of Tiki cocktails, and the bars that served them. Find out how drinks were invented and stolen, and learn about Caribbean journeys, Hollywood scandals, mid-century dreams, and how an entire generation was swept up in the Tiki craze.
* Pre-order via Amazon
* More online vendors on the Smuggler’s Cove Facebook page

On The Atomic Grog: Smuggler’s Cove: Bar of the Year | Bar of the Month
* Martin Cate recipes: Pampanito | Henry & John | Mai Tai | 2070 Swizzle

Don’t miss: Martin Cate, Paul McGee and Jeff “Beachbum” Berry (see stories above) will all be mixing up signature cocktails at the sold-out Tiki Tower Takeover at The Hukilau in Fort Lauderdale in June. Also participating in the second-annual Tiki drink summit will be New York City’s Brian Miller (Tiki Mondays With Miller) and St. John Frizell of Fort Defiance (see story below).

Tickets for ‘The Art of Tiki: A Cocktail Showdown’ sell out; new Tiki bar coming to South Beach

If you put off buying tickets to the second annual Tiki cocktail event coming to the South Beach Wine & Food Festival in Febuary, you’ll probably miss out. The SoBeFest website lists “The Art of Tiki: A Cocktail Showdown,” set for Feb. 26 at the Surfcomber Hotel, as sold out. We could credit the growing popularity of Tiki culture and/or the popularity of the event’s host, Guy Fieri of Food Network. Let’s hope it’s more of the former and less of the latter.

Randy Perez (left) and Gui Jaroschy from The Broken Shaker in Miami took home the People’s Choice award at The Art of Tiki: A Cocktail Showdown in February at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival
Randy Perez (left) and Gui Jaroschy from The Broken Shaker in Miami took home the People’s Choice award at The Art of Tiki: A Cocktail Showdown in February 2015 at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward)

If you landed tickets, you’re in for a treat if this year’s event is anything like last year’s inaugural edition. Mixologists from nine top rum and Tiki-themed bars from across the country will face off, mixing up hundreds of signature cocktails for attendees and the judges. Last year, the Judge’s Choice award went to Tiki Mondays With Miller (New York City), while the the People’s Choice award was voted to The Broken Shaker (Miami Beach).
* Atomic Grog recap, photos, more

Miller will not be competing, but The Broken Shaker returns along with The Mai-Kai (Fort Lauderdale), and The Rum Line (Miami Beach). Newcomers to the competion are Fort Defiance (Brooklyn), The Happiest Hour (New York City), Kreepy Tiki Lounge (Fort Lauderdale), Foundation Tiki Bar (Milwaukee), Porco Lounge & Tiki Room (Cleveland), and The Golden Tiki (Las Vegas).

Fort Defiance owner St. John Frizell and The Happiest Hour bartender Garret Richard are veterans of The Art of Tiki event that was held Oct. 17 during the New York City Wine & Food Festival. The pair put on an epic battle, with Frizell taking home the top prize. [Atomic Grog recap, photos] In addition to the cocktails, guests can enjoy light “Polynesian-inspired bites” from 10 high-profile chefs, mainly from South Florida. Participating restaurants include Guy Fieri’s American Kitchen & Bar: Cancun, The Social Club (Miami Beach), Ian’s Tropical Grill (Stuart), and Temple Street Eatery (Fort Lauderdale).

Look for a full preview along with profiles of all the participating bars and mixologoists in an upcoming blog.

Naked Tiki

As it turns out, Tiki’s return to the SoBeWFF will coincide with the arrival of a full-fledged Tiki establishment to Miami Beach, home of such legendary mid-century mainstays as The Castaways and The Luau. (Somehow it slipped under our radar when we recently reported on all the upcoming Tiki bar openings in 2016.)

Ralph Pagano (
Ralph Pagano (

But in true South Beach style, this is not your father’s Tiki bar. Naked Tiki is a new concept from celebrity chef Ralph Pagano (competitor on Hell’s Kitchen, host of Pressure Cook), joining his upscale Naked Taco concept on Miami Beach. The new Polynesian-themed restaurant and bar will open in The Stiles Hotel (at 11th Street and Collins Avenue) on Feb. 20, according to an industry source. Pagano and Naked Taco will also be participating in The Art of Tiki at the the SoBeWFF, so the synergy is definitely intentional.
Official sites: | Facebook page

Pagano had earlier announced a Naked Burger concept at the Stiles that included burgers, pupu platters and Tiki drinks. But it’s good to see he’s going full-blown Tiki. We could do without the inevitable SoBe glitz, but in South Florida we’ll take what Tiki we can get. Touting “Polynesian Pop cuisine and Bamboo Lounge,” the website includes little info beyond the menu, but it’s definitely encouraging. The food menu is a madcap mashup of fun small plates from all over the Pacific, many with a modern twist: Dim sum, sushi, noodles, Chinese-style buns, plus vegetables and salads for non-carnivores. There’s a Hawaiian-style Big Kahuna Burger, plus lobster, steak and shrimp. For Tiki tradationalists, Pagano offers a pupu platter, fried rice and traditional lo-mein.

The cocktail menu at Naked Tiki, opening in February in Miami Beach.
The cocktail menu at Naked Tiki, opening in February in Miami Beach.

The cocktail menu is small but no less adventurous. It includes the classics (Mai Tai, Scorpion, Painkiller, Singapore Sling, Aku Aku) plus an unusual assortment of original creations. Most Tiki purists aren’t fans of vodka drinks, but the menu does show potential, particularly with the old-school selections. I’m told that all the food and drink recipes were created in-house by Pagano and bar manager Alex Von Tiki. Kieran Masek will come over from Naked Taco at the Dream Hotel be the executive chef, according to my source, while Justin Cerro will be the general manager.

Naked Tiki is an ambitious concept with grand aspirations. My source says there will be two main bars and a giant lounge: The Coconut Bar and The Bamboo Lounge are downstairs, while The Shark Bar is upstairs. The Stiles Hotel is going all-in with the transformation into a Tiki paradise, according to my source, with plans to include a themed pool, Tikis, Polynesian decor and flaming torches. Is South Beach ready for Tiki? Is Tiki ready for South Beach? Pagano seems to be shooting for that sweet spot where the two intersect. Only time will tell if he hits the target.

Upcoming events: Art of Rum in Fort Lauderdale, Tiki Caliente tickets

Art of Rum at FAT Village Artwalk

Fort Lauderdale’s monthly FAT Village Artwalk will celebrate the Art of Rum on Saturday, Jan. 30, thanks to South Florida Distillers, producers of Fwaygo Rum. The event will feature at least 10 area mixologists creating special Fwaygo cocktails inspired by a local artist’s work. From 7 to 11 p.m., artwalk guests can sample drinks as they explore the artwork, check out cocktail demos, live music, and a meet-and-greet with the makers of Fwaygo. The Fort Lauderdale distillery’s flagship white rum, made with locally sourced high-grade molasses, was an immediate success. It launched in February 2015 and won the Best in Class award for premium white rum at the Miami Rum Festival in April. The most recent addition is a limited-edition Grilled Pineapple rum.
* Buy tickets | Facebook event
* Press coverage: New Times Broward-Palm Beach

Tiki Caliente

General sales begin Jan. 30 for the eighth Tiki Caliente, set for May 12-15 at the Caliente Tropics in Palm Springs. This includes any on-site rooms still available, off-site room/wristband packages, individual weekend wristbands, symposiums, and official mugs. You don’t have to attend to buy the mug, but it has to be picked up at the event. The event is limited to 550 people to ensure an intimate experience. Entertainment includes the Martini Kings, Voodoo Organist, Creepxotica, The Do-Its, Marty Lush, and Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid. The mug, crafted by Doug Horne and John Mulder of Eekum Bookum, is limited to 200 and is based on the ancient Maori war club called a “Wahaika.”

Quick sips: The Broken Shaker is L.A.-bound, Marina heats up Vegas, Rum Minute videos debut

Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid at The Golden Tiki on Saturday Jan. 9. (Photo by Rick Miller)
Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid at The Golden Tiki on Saturday Jan. 9. (Photo by Rick Miller)

The Broken Shaker, the acclaimed Miami Beach cocktail den that was named Best American Hotel Bar at the 2015 Spirited Awards at Tales of the Cocktail, will soon be expanding to a third city. The Broken Shaker will open a rooftop pool bar at the upcoming Freehand L.A. hotel in downtown Los Angeles this fall, according to stories in Miami New Times and the Los Angeles Times. This follows last June’s opening of The Broken Shaker at the Freehand Chicago. The original location launched in December 2012 at the Freehand Miami, also the flagship outpost of the upscale hostel and hotel chain.

South Florida’s Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid made her debut performace at The Golden Tiki in Las Vegas on Saturday Jan. 9. By all accounts, her show in the new bar’s Flaming Skull Island was a scorching success.

Rum Minute

Looking for reviews of new rums done quickly and succinctly? Check out the Rum Minute on YouTube, brought to you by Robert A. Burr, the man behind Robert Burr’s Rum Guide and the Miami Rum Renaissance Festival. The 60-second reviews are recorded at the Burr family’s home Rum Wreck Dive Bar, which contains more rum than most commercial establishments we’ve ever seen. Reviews posted so far include Plantation Barbados 5, Fwaygo Grilled Pineapple, and Yolo Gold. The show is a true family affair with the Rum Scout (Burr’s son, Robert V. Burr) also contributing a Corn & Oil cocktail demonstration.
* See also: An interview with Robert A. Burr (Fat Rum Pirate)

***** Links of the week*****
* Beachbum Berry’s Peters Street Regulars #1: Stephen Remsberg (Difford’s Guide)
* Shameful Tiki Room revives the classic tropical bar experience (The Globe and Mail)
* Diary of The Golden Tiki: 16 hours in Las Vegas’ tropical all-night bar (Observer)
* How to host a winter Tiki party (Chilled)
* Annual report: Rum Top 10 (Drinks International)
* Upcoming U.S. rum releases from El Dorado, Rhum JM, Skotlander (Cocktail Wonk)
* Lost Spirits technology takes home global prize for innovation (The Floating Rum Shack)
* Another year, another Tiki on a Rose Parade float (The Tiki Chick)

Robert Williams
Robert Williams

Robert Williams

Pioneer and prime mover of the lowbrow art scene, Robert Williams is a legendary painter, cartoonist, and founder of Juxtapoz Magazine (est. 1994). His distinctive “super cartoon” paintings (including perhaps his most famous, Appetite for Destruction) grew out of his early work in the mid-’60s for Ed “Big Daddy” Roth and his love of car and Kustom Kulture. He was also one of the groundbreaking underground cartoonists responsible for Zap Comix in the late ’60s. His first book, The Lowbrow Art of Robert Williams (1979), coined the term lowbrow and brought his anti-establishment paintings to a wider audience, influencing a whole new generation of budding underground artists. In recent decades, his politically incorrect artwork has transceneded the underground and gained him entrée into prestigious galleries around the world. A 2015 exhibit at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery was seen by a record 20,000 visitors from Feb. 22 through April 19 and includes the namesake book, Slang Aesthetics! Robt. Williams.
* Official website:
* Buy his new book and other merchandise | Books on Amazon
* See past artists of the week

Don’t miss: Williams will receive a lifetime achievement award as part of a special exhibition of new works Jan. 27-31 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. A public after-party celebration will follow the invitation-only award ceremony on Thursday, Jan. 28, at galleries throughout the Chinatown district.

The Madeira

The Madeira

When you think of instrumental surf music, you immediately think “retro.” Sure, the genre has seen significant revivals over the years, but the general perception is still based on the legends of the past and the style’s inherent conventions. But unbeknownst to the mainstream, there’s a growing wave of progressive, inventive surf music being created across the world with The Madeira riding the crest. Ancient Winds, released in September on Double Crown Records, is The Madeira’s crowning achievement, gaining overwhelming praise from press and fans around the world. The band’s fourth full-length studio album (and sixth release overall) is a wonderfully diverse record, combining the band’s impeccable musicianship with inventive songwriting to create what’s justifiably been called the surf album of 2015. Chad Shivers of Southern Surf Stomp even calls it “the greatest surf album of all time.” Yes, it’s that good. [Stream free preview tracks] The album kicks off with Journey to the Center of the Surf and takes listeners on a epic adventure through 12 original songs, plus a cover of Coral Island by The Atlantics. This is not all shiny, happy surf music. It’s also dark and intense. The theme involves the Mediterranean, and the music is decidedly European in its classicism. Ancient Winds features songwriting collaborations with many revered surf musicians, including members of The Atlantics, Los Twang Marvels and the TomorrowMen. The Madeira formed in 2004 in Indianapolis and features lead guitarist Ivan Pongracic of the 1990s instrumental surf icons the Space Cossacks.
* Official website | Facebook | YouTube
* Buy Ancient Winds, more: Double Crown Records | Amazon | iTunes | CD Baby
* All past bands/music of the week

The Rum Line

Injecting a much-needed dose of rum and authentic exotic cocktails into trendy South Beach, The Rum Line opened on the outdoor terrace of the Loews Miami Beach Hotel in 2014 and continues to rake in the accolades. The swanky hotel bar is designed to evoke 1940s-era Cuba with Tiki torches, rum drinks and seafood snacks. Mixologist Rob Ferrara runs the the cocktail program at both The Rum Line and the hotel’s Lure Fishbar, creating a menu jam-packed with rum-centric cocktails. There are old-school classics (Hotel Nacional Special, Queen’s Park Swizzle, El Presidente No. 2), hand-shaken daiquiris (Trinidad, Martinique, Nuclear), and the bar’s creative new-school concoctions: Rum Line Punch features agricole and Mount Gay Black Barrel rums, red bell pepper, pineapple, honey, basil, lime, nutmeg, and Tiki Bitters. Zombie No. 305 comes with a two-drink limit due to its three rums (Bacardi 8, Mount Gay Black and Hamilton 151) plus tequila, Swedish Punch and more in an absinthe-rinsed glass. You can also find barrel-aged cocktails and special shots (banana-infused Appleton V/X, coconut butter fat-washed Atlantico Reserva) and communal punches (Scorpion, Mai Tai, Singapore Sling). Drinks are served in special mugs and distinctive glassware. UPDATE: The Rum Line closed in the summer of 2016 and is now used as a special event space. The spirit (and cocktails) of The Rum Line live on at Lure Fish Bar.
* | Facebook page
* See past bars of the week

Don’t miss: The Rum Line and Rob Ferrara will return for a second straight year to The Art of Tiki: A Cocktail Showdown at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival on Feb. 26. Hosted by Food Network’s Guy Fieri, the event will feature nine of the country’s best Tiki bars competing for cash prizes. See story above.
* The Atomic Grog’s recap, photos from the 2015 showdown


Billed as the “ultimate guide to liquid culture,” Imbibe is an award-winning magazine that since 2005 has not only covered the booming craft cocktail scene, but has become an integral part of it. The magazine has influenced and inspired untold legions in the movement with its prose, earning the James Beard Journalism Award for Best Wine, Spirits or Other Beverage Writing in 2012. Imbibe has also twice won the Spirited Award for Best Cocktail Writing at Tales of the Cocktail (2011 and 2014). Paul McGee of Lost Lake, named Imbibe‘s 2016 Cocktail Bar of the Year (see story above), cites the magazine and editor Paul Clarke as a crucial source for recipes and inspiration. The website includes those insightful articles, tons of recipes, and the annual Imbibe 75, which honors “the people, places and flavors shaping the way we’ll drink in the coming year.” That includes wine, spirits and beer to coffee and tea. But with Clarke at the helm, it’s the cocktail coverage that keeps drawing us back for another sip.
* | Facebook | Twitter | Pintrest | Instagram
* See past websites of the week

R.L. Seale's 10-year-old

RUM OF THE WEEK: R.L. Seale’s 10-year-old
This flagship rum from the venerable Foursquare Distillery in Barbados and master distiller/blender Richard Seale lives up to its reputation. The unique, curved bottle design is a throwback to an old leather bottle, and the rum itself is just as traditional. After all, Barbados is the reputed birthplace of rum more than 300 years ago. Seale has become an outspoken critic of a new breed of premium rums that feature added sugar, flavor and color. Foursquare rums are the antithesis of this, showcased in both house labels (Foursquare, Doorly’s) and other boutique brands (The Real McCoy, Tommy Bahama). The distillery manages to uphold traditional rum-production methods while staying on the cusp of new technology. The 10-year-old rum, bottled at 86 proof, is representative of Seale’s commitment to quality and history. Named for the company founder, Reginald Leon Seale (Richard’s great-grandfather), the rum is spicy and dry yet possesses a natural sweetness. Vanilla and fruit flavors linger after an initial jolt of nutmeg, pepper and cinnamon (maybe even a hint of coffee). A great example of an unadulterated Barbados rum, it’s not too complicated yet very satisfying. R.L. Seale’s 10-year-old is an excellent sipper and high-end mixer.
* Foursquare on Facebook
* Press coverage: Tour of Foursquare (Rum Connection)
The evolution of rum in Barbados (Rum Examiner)
* Related rums of the week: The Real McCoy 5 | The Real McCoy 3
* See all past rums of the week

(By Mindy Kucan, Hale Pele)

Winter Daiquiri. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward, January 2016)
Winter Daiquiri. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward, January 2016)

* 1 1/2 ounces aged rum
* 3/4 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice
* 1/2 ounce vanilla syrup
* 1/4 ounce allspice dram
* 1 dash Angostura bitters
Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime wheel studded with three cloves. Source: Cocktail Virgin

Sweet, spicy and strong – perfect for cold winter nights. The allspice dram (recommended: St. Elizabeth) is perfectly balanced by the tart lime just the right amount of vanilla syrup (recommended: B.G. Reynolds). More importantly, R.L. Seale’s 10-year-old rum adds a sophisticated rummy punch with no added sweetness to get in the way. It brings heat and flavor to the table, reminding you of a more temperate Caribbean isle. Finally, the lime and clove garnish is genius, elevating the experience by creating distinctive visual as well as a wonderful aromatic.
* Related recipes: Allspicy Daiquiri | Classic Daiquiri | La Floridita Daiquiri
* See all past cocktails of the week

SAVE THE DATE: Upcoming events

The Hukilau 2016 artwork by Shag

***** In Florida *****
* Feb. 20-21 – Polynesian Cultural Festival, Fort Lauderdale.
* Feb. 26 – The Art of Tiki: A Cocktail Showdown, South Beach Wine & Food Festival, Miami Beach.
* April 15-17 – Miami Rum Renaissance Festival. [Atomic Grog coverage]
* June 8-12 – The Hukilau, Fort Lauderdale. [Atomic Grog coverage]

***** On the Eastern Seaboard *****
* June 23-26 – Ohana: Luau At The Lake at The Tiki Resort, Lake George, N.Y. [Atomic Grog coverage]
* July 20-24 – Tales of the Cocktail, New Orleans, La.

Tiki Oasis

***** Across the U.S. *****
* Feb. 11-21 – Modernism Week, Palm Springs, Calif.
* April 14-17 – Viva Las Vegas.
* April 21-24 – Mojave Oasis, Newberry Springs, Calif.
* April 30 – Midwest Rum Festival, Chicago, Ill.
* May 12-15 – Tiki Caliente, Palm Springs, Calif. [Atomic Grog coverage]
* July 8-10 – Tiki Kon, Portland, Ore. [Atomic Grog coverage]
* Aug. 18-21 – Tiki Oasis, San Diego, Calif. [Atomic Grog coverage]
* Sept. 17 – Makahiki: A Night of Tiki, Indianapolis, Ind.

***** Worldwide *****
* Feb. 19-20 – Puerto Rico National Rum Festival, Old San Juan.
* Feb. 26-28 – Festival RumBahamas, Fort Charlotte, Nassau.
* April 2-4 – Rhumfest Paris
* May 30 – June 2 – International Rum Congress, Madrid.
* June 16-19 – Surfer Joe Summer Festival, Livorno, Italy.
* Oct. 22-23 – The RumFest: London, United Kingdom.
* Nov. 4-5 – 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.)

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