Last time on the Table Set, the gents were getting excited for the season premier of Mad Men. After watching it, Andy has decided that there was plenty to get excited about. He was especially swooning over the opening scene in Hawaii which featured a Blue Hawaiian Cocktail.
Greg is no stranger to a Blue Hawaiian, and ignoring the blue food dye, he thinks it’s one classy cocktail. Especially how he enjoyed it recently at a beach club in Hawaii.
Yes, Greg’s trip to Hawaii was quite the party. Cocktails on the beach followed by swimming with manta rays in the ocean!
Meanwhile in Los Angeles, Nathan attended an “Impromptu Tiki Party.” Looks like Greg wasn’t the only one with tropics on the mind.
So to keep the party going, the gents decided to take a trip deep into the valley to NORTH North Hollywood to visit LA’s oldest tiki bar: The Tonga Hut.
Greg declared it was the perfect balance of old school dive bar and hip tiki hot spot! Marie the bartender was whipping up some flippin’ great cocktails using all kinds of exciting ingredients including fresh watermelon juice, chai syrup, passionfruit and, yes, even a tiki drink made with Campari!
The Tonga Hut also features a challenge of Beachbum Berry’s Grog Log. Any drinker who can drink their way through the lengthy list of classic tiki drinks (some of which Marie admitted are awful) within one year get’s a special plaque on the bar wall, and a very stylish fez.
Perhaps you’ve also noticed that tiki drink ingredients are sneaking their way into non-tiki drinks at trendy bars lately. Ingredients like orgeat and falernum are really just dressed up sweeteners, so they can be pretty versatile Take Nathan’s pistachio orgeat, for example, here pictured in a genever-based drink.
Further proof that tiki culture is no longer confined to the dark basement of tiki bars. It’s on the forefront of what’s hip now.
But speaking of basements, the gents were reminded of the sweet tiki bar they visited in a basement of a house in LA. They made drinks there and have this video to prove it!
Rum may be the primary spirit used for tiki drinks, but you can easily dress up other spirits with tiki flavors. A classic vodka rendering would be the Chi Chi. Greg has a recipe for a blue concoction based in tequila.
If you’re looking for something simple, try making a Ti Punch, which is really not all that different from a Daiquiri. Rum, lime, sugar, done!
Or maybe you don’t want any booze in your drink at all. Many tiki drinks still taste quite splendid when you leave the booze out.
Unless your recipe is all booze, like Nathan’s tiki-inspired aromatic cocktail called The Tigress.
Regardless of the ingredient list, tiki is really all about style and presentation. Excess of garnishes? Check! Fun serving vessel? Check! Fire? Whoa!
Skip the Bacardi 151 and try Wray & Nephew’s delicious overproof rum for igniting your drink. Nathan soaks bread cubes in it and then lights them in a hallowed out lime half. A dash of cinnamon on the flames makes for exciting sparks!
The last piece of tiki flare for the evening: gifts from Greg from Hawaii!