W.W.T.V.D. with lemons?

I’ve had a couple people tell me I can make a Tiki drink, it’s flattering to hear and certainly something I enjoy doing. If I can it’s certainly not because of any special talent aside from being well read, and possessing of a palate ready to try almost anything. No if anything I gain more knowledge from reading the recipes of the original masters. Seeing what they did, and then comparing them to their own similar recipes and those of others. I decided to take this research paper approach to lemons in Tiki drinks. This study naturally took me to the Trader.

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I’m very glad the Bum wrote about Trader Vic in his new book Potions of the Caribbean. He’d told us about Donn but to be honest information on the Trader was less available. It’s funny because back in the day Vic was the one who favored publicity more. Vic did things differently than Donn even though they both got the idea for their drinks in the Caribbean. Even more surprising then that Vic dove on ingredients that aren’t very Caribbean like lemons, gin, brandy, and orgeat. When one examines lemon Tiki recipes in Jeff Berry’s books however you find something fascinating, rarely is lemon the only juice. The Kava Bowl, Rum Keg, Sibooney, and Trader Vic Grog use a blend of pineapple and lemon. Where as the Fogg Cutter, Scorpion Bowl, and Tiki bowl use an orange-lemon combination. Vic seemed to think, based on his recipes, that lemon became lonely so he gave it a friend.



We could use many classic recipes to illustrate this point, the Kava Bowl and Rum Keg being two of my favorites. I’ll not however give away the baby with the bath water so I encourage you to seek out a copy of Beachbum Remixed or the new Total Tiki app for these recipes. I will however share the classic Trader Vic Grog below to show you the strength of varying your juices when using lemons.

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Trader Vic Grog
As presented in Beachbum Remixed page 100
1 oz fresh pineapple juice
1 oz fresh lemon juice
1 oz passion fruit syrup
2 oz dark Jamaican rum
1 dash Angostura bitters

Shake well with ice and pour into a tulip glass. Garnish with a mint sprig and if you want to be like the Atlanta Trader Vic’s add a menehune spear with a cherry and pineapple square.



When the garnish is in it is present it shows readily on the nose which is why I don’t recommend spanking it so you can get some of those lovely pineapple, passion fruit, molasses aromas. This is a balanced drink, a lot of Vic cocktails tend to have a big sour kick. The syrup and lemon both add to the sour medley but they are brought together by the pineapple and rum. The flavor begins subtly with a rush of pineapple and passion fruit notes that flow into delicious brown sugar and bright lemon. The finish sticks around with some spice and funk notes from the bitters and rum.


Our Tiki forefathers make this site what it is. I hope you were as thrilled as me to make this discovery. We’ll be back next week with an original lemon creation based on our findings here. Until then…


“You get Hammered America!” - JFL

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Rattled by Lemons

Lemons are, in my opinion, a pain to work with. Other bartenders don’t seem to have this problem, but in days where limes are like caviar a Tiki man must be inventive. Lemons are much more sour than limes, their sourness lingers longer to in my opinion. I take comfort in the fact that the original Tiki man, Donn Beach, found them terrible to work with as well. Trader Vic however embraced the devil fruit. Vic was a man with a style all his own. Yes the Trader could make some amazing drinks that broke all the beachcomber “rules” at times. So with the lime crisis swelling and people crying “Tiki is dead” we spit in their eye and declare this month an ode to lemon. If nothing else it will help me learn a drink ingredient which I have historically had a block with.

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Lemons and honey are natural bedfellows. So natural that they are even chemically altered, preserved, and placed in cough drops. So naturally I chose to start here when planning my attack. Originally this cocktail was a long drink and a whiskey drink at that. Feeling the drink was to sharp with the whiskey slowly we added very well rounded rums to give the flavor body. Lemons still seem to be the star at times the flavor bold and dominant when allowed to be the majority over the sweet. The name comes from the strike of bold sour flavor, and the ripples a fat man makes in a coupe when walking on an old patio. Seriously one good foot plod ruined my first take, Tyrannosaurus would be proud.

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The Thunder Lizard
1 oz Appleton 12 Year dark Jamaican rum
1 oz Matusalem Silver
¾ oz fresh lemon juice
½ oz double strength honey syrup
½ oz Dekyuper or Marie Brizard peach brandy
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1 scant grate of fresh nutmeg

Shake all ingredients together except nutmeg and strain into a coupe. Then grate nutmeg over the top and add a slice of lemon.


The nose is rich of fresh nutmeg and rich honey. The flavor begins with honey and subtle flavors of sweet peach. Lemon provides bright twang and constant companionship while constrained behind flavorful bars so as not to maul your palate. They then melt into spicy twangs with a wave of steadfast, sturdy, rum funk and spice. The Matusalem really boosts a dryness here at the end though you could try brugal or maybe even Batavia Arrack for added funk. It’s a refreshing afternoon style sour that keeps you coming back to sniff and sip.

Man, lemons, I’m not the biggest fan. They are however a good and important ingredient. I hope you’ll join me this month as we explore the lemon in classic Tiki and how it can be used today. Next week we’ll be looking into classic Tiki cocktails to see drinks the masters of yore made with our theme ingredient. Until next time…
“You get Hammered America!” - JFL

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The Rose of Mahina

Coconut month nears it’s end and brother it’s been fun. We’ve made a drink with every drinkable coconut product I can think of and I still probably missed a few. I hope you’ve thought of some fun uses for coconut in drink as well. This underutilized flavor is delicious, readily available, and valid for use in creative craft cocktails. We finish the month with coconut not only in the drink, but the drink in the coconut as well.

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We decided to make use of a brown coconut to make our mug since yours truly was to busy to track down a machete or skill saw to break through a green meanie. The brown ones are easy to make a mug out of so long as you select a few good ones. With a sharp knife simply score one top end of the coconut in a circle where you’d like the opening to be. After leaking drink all over us by choosing the wrong end we suggest you use the end where the three “eyes” of the coconut are. The skin is thinnest here and you can easily get a hole if you make this the bottom of your cup. Then use a hammer and chisel to pop the scored top off the nut. For stability we then take the top and hot glue it underneath the mug to give it a footed surface to cut down on spillage. Using a metal teaspoon we then just scoop out the yummy contents, perhaps to use in coconut syrup. For the coconut milk in this drink make sure it’s the unsweetened variety. It keeps about a week once opened covered in the fridge. I like the way Koloa white plays in this drink but it is sometimes hard to find. If you must use a substitute we’ve had interesting results with Brugal white rum and Cruzan white rum.

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Rose of Mahina
1 ½ oz El Dorado 12 year
1 oz Koloa white rum
¾ unsweetened coconut Milk
¾ oz pomegranate syrup (grenadine)
1 oz fresh lime juice
¼ oz Absinthe vert
1 hearty dash Peychaud’s bitters

Combine ingredients in a shaker tin with ice and shake hard then pour into a schooner or coconut mug. Garnish with a red flower and or a red parasol then serve with a straw.

The nose has a huskiness from the coconut with anise, fennel, sugar, and pomegranate. The first flavors are spicy sparks of rum and light floral anise to greet you. The drink has a thick creamy body that coats the mouth as absinthe, lime, and grenadine play with mild coconut flavors in the foreground and well into the middle. The finish is a pleasing crescendo of light sour, smokey demerera and, and dry floral rum.

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We’ve had a lot of fun trying the different ways coconut can be used in drinks and I hope you all have to. What was your favorite? Creamy unsweetened coconut milk will definitely make it into future libations around here. Until next time…

“You get Hammered America!” - JFL

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Evils abound at Whiro’s Whim

For this month’s MxMo the blog World of Drinks brings us the theme of Preserves. For us coconut month rolls on and this week we make one of my favorite coconut cocktail additives. It’s not the most standout or bold application, but it provides a funky flavor that simple syrup just can’t. With a sharp peeler and a little elbow grease you to can make this syrup as well and keep that fresh coconut flavor close by.

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The last time we made coconut syrup we unleashed The Phantom of the Luau. One of my favorite cocktails on the site. It’s a subtle syrup that does more to provide funky background notes than it does to provide dominant bold coconut flavors. It takes a little more time to make but a sharp peeler makes peeling the skin of the coconut pieces quicker work. Aside from that the process is very similar to other spiced and infused syrups I make.

Fresh Coconut Syrup
The peeled meat of one fresh Brown Coconut.
1 cup white sugar
1 cup coconut water

While stirring often bring the combined mixture to a quick boil then immediately reduce the heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove the heat and let sit for 4 hours before straining and bottling.

For the drink I wanted to make something rummy that would play abit more to the coconut aspect. The combination of the Cognac for fullness and coconut syrup for sweetness was magic last time so I kept the band together. Pineapple and coconut also needed to make an appearance together this month with some spice and lime to keep their relationship professional.

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Whiro’s Whim
1 ½ oz El Dorado 8 year
½ oz Camus VS Cognac
½ oz fresh pineapple juice
¾ oz fresh coconut syrup
¾ oz fresh lime juice
1 hearty dash of Bittermen’s Elemakule Bitters


Shake ingredients hard with plenty of ice and pout into a tulip glass. Garnish with purple flowers and a straw.

A lively aroma of molasses, the faintest wisps of smoke, met by ginger, and a husky nuttiness. The cognac and rum play well together with a nice full bodied burnt sugar sweetness. Flavors of pineapple, candy, and nuanced coconut come to the forefront but diminish near the middle of the sip. Refreshing lime and spice take over to restrain the pineapple-coconut medley and bring the drink to a nuanced, balanced end. The coconut syrup is light in character, never becoming the star flavor, but it brings a curious background flavor that is irreplaceably lost when switched with simple syrup.


Join us next week as we hack apart a coconut to finish off the month with a tasty cocktail in a one of a kind mug. Hopefully I’ll maintain all my fingers when addressing you all next time. Till then…

“You get Hammered America” – JFL

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Saint’s Preserve Us: The Banshee’s Eye

Coconut water is subtle in flavor, but richer than most white spirits in body. It has a unique twang that can lend mystery to cocktails. Though happily procured from whole coconuts there are plenty of brands that produce a not from concentrate coconut water that is very delightful. It is an elegant ingredient and I daresay, in someways, ladylike as a gentleman should treat them with care. Since we are addressing ladies and because we introduced you to a ghostly gentleman last year for the feast of Saint Patrick. So we now must introduce you to his ghastly lady love.


The wicked banshee Mary is one conniving minx, and all around the world her old man she seeks. As he chases women, and his brown liquor drinks, the banshee Mary trails him to end his wanderin streak. For this angry dame a careful mix must meet, of sweet floral liquid build to bring rest to her feet. The strong it must be subtle, to calm her angry will. The sour crafted freshly, and foreign liqueurs fill. Then serve it smiling brightly, with a crooked peel of lime, for if the captain must escape, you must give him time.”


If bad poetry inspires you to drink then your in luck. This drink’s body comes largely from the coconut water lengthener with sweetness added by the Aperol and dominantly the St. Germain. The coconut water also gives a lovely twang further diversified by the Aperol.


Banshee’s Eye

1 ½ oz Matusalem (Or Havana Club) white rum

¾ oz St Germain

¾ oz Coconut Water

½ oz fresh lime juice

¼ oz simple syrup

¼ oz Aperol

Shake with ice and strain into a coupe, garnish with a gnarled lime peel. If more sweetness is desired use vodka instead.


This drink has a nice balance that is largely influence by the rum choice. A dryish rummy flavors melts into notes of sugared grapefruit and bittersweet orange all held together by a tight skeleton of fresh lime. The finish is rich on bittersweet orange and funky coconut. This cocktail is light but full bodied, an effect that must be attributed to the coconut water.


Coconut Month chugs along but trust me brother, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Unless my hopes are dashed we wanna hack apart a green coconut so we can show you how to make a coconut mug. There’s also coconut milk to think about. Until then…

“You get Hammered America” – JFL

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When Things Get Hairy go Nuts!

I Saw a Werewolf drinking a Pina Colada at Trader Vic’s; his hair was perfect.” – Werewolves of London, Warren Zevon.


Coconut cream makes bar snobs bristle. It’s sticky, sweet, clings to your shaker and jigger. You have to rinse and dry your tools after using it because it will taint non coconut cream drinks. Despite all this I have a deep and abiding love for the stuff. I can and have eaten it with nothing but a spoon and a small sipper of demerera. It’s like a spoonful of dessert with the yummy bits that make us think of Coconut Cream pie. A sinful treat larger than life on the table and tempting us after a big barbecue lunch.

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Like coconut rum last week it’s not uncommon to see coconut cream behind a well stocked bar. Sadly it’s becoming less common being replaced with premixed Pina Colada garbage that’s better used to attract roaches than pour into a shaker. Despite the sneers some give it’s a useful ingredient. It’s in essence a premade syrup substitute with good flavor that adds both body and sweetness. You could make your own, but despite my DIY tendencies you won’t find me breaking my back over it. By all accounts it’s a long and irritating process that doesn’t yield product noticeably different from Coco Lopez.



The drink was inspired by my love of coffee in Tiki drinks primarily. From their it was a short trip to find rums that pair with it and coconut cream for sweetness and body. Scrappy’s Chocolate bitters are pretty damn key here surprisingly. I like their brand of bitters quite a lot but a single hearty dash of their chocolate bitters gives the whole thing harmony and structure. Two dashes if your curious brings ruin and dismay. Three dashes might just make you soil yourself so don’t try it.

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Lobo Colada

1 ½ oz Appleton V/X

¾ oz Myers Dark Jamaican Rum

1 oz dark coffee (Regular strength drip)

1 oz fresh lime juice

¾ oz Coco Lopez coconut cream

1 dash Scrappy’s Chocolate Bitters

Shake together with ice and pour unstrained into a chimney. Garnish with a ball of pineapple and a cherry as well as some bushy mint or a swizzle stick if desired.


A rich coffee aroma with hints of cream, bitter chocolate, and molasses hit the palate. The marriage of coffee and lime is a wonderful mix of tart and bitter softened by sweetened coconut which also aids in a rich body. Coffee, coconut, and lime play well throughout as the rums enter in the early middle providing a warming molasses flavor. This flavor flows with pleasing notes from the aromatic and exotic bitters. The rum funk is gentle, but it makes a tropical cacophony that somehow sounds alright on the tongue.

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We’ve covered the two most common coconut ingredients in the cocktail scene so far. For the rest of the month we’ll explore ways we’d like to see included in the pantheon of coconut mixology. Until next time…


“You get Hammered America” -JFL

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Coco Crazy with the NiuNaut

There are few flavors that say Tiki to most people like coconut. While classic cocktailians and tikitenders alike both use rum, lime, and sugar classic cocktailians seem to shy from the flavorful coconut. Aside from being delicious in myriad manufactured forms, it is both edible and drinkable. If it can be presented in so many forms why not moreso in the bar? From floormats and dyes; to wine, vinegar, and sugar the coconut is processed into tons of products. However behind most bars it exists only in the most artificial of essences inside a bottle of mildly alcoholic suntan oil. Why is this? Maybe the Pina Colada gave it a bad name. Hell maybe a can of coconut cream broke some bartender’s toe as a child. All I know is we need to get it back in our shaker tins.

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This month we hope to use coconut in many different ways to show you how lovely and versatile it can be as an ingredient. We’ll start with the most popular form it can be found in these days which is Coconut Rum. Now right about here is where I’d be getting lynched by the cocktail community. I can already hear the mobs outside the windmill ready to set fire to the monster. Stay your hand and hold your barbs and arrows, Not all coconut rums are equal. Some even taste like -gasp- coconut. This is why, endorsement fee free I might add, we’ve been telling you about Koloa Coconut. With only a quarter left of our sample bottle we’re hot on the trail of some places to order it from. I simply must state again that you’ll find no more natural tasting bottling unless you live on an island and infuse rum with coconuts from your back yard.


So why March to show off the Coconut? Ah well in spring a fat moustached man’s fancy turns to gin, lime, and coconut. It’s refreshing and fresh tasting. It has a unique panache anyone can identify. Also it’s my website and I do this for free. This drink is out of this world like some alien coconut hurled from space our Niu(Tahitian for Coconut)Naut may not have been to the moon, but it might get you there after a couple.

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1 ½ oz london dry gin (we used Beefeater)

1 oz Koloa Coconut Rum **

1 oz fresh lime juice

½ oz white grapefruit juice

¾ oz orgeat

6-8 drops angostura orange (Not to precise just don’t overdue it with a big dash.)

Shake ingredients together with ice and pour into a double rocks glass. Garnish with a few yellow pansies or a flaming lime bowl.


** Koloa Coconut Rum is a high quality, craft, flavored rum with truly exquisite flavor. It’s not super easy to find sadly. We recommend looking harder and making some calls, but if you must substitute we recommend consulting the guide penned by Inu a Kena. It won’t be as good but that’s life! I’ve been told you can also visit www.melandrose.com and use Coupon Code KOLOARUM as they are extending a 10% discount through June 30, 2014 on all Kōloa Rum products. Mahalo to Jeanne for letting me know!


Aromas of young coconut, juniper, citrus and orange peel waft to the nose. The flavor seems to change as you enjoy it. Whether through the glass or straw sometimes you find citrusy sour and orgeat playing up front. Other times you enjoy tidbits of herbal gin brightness and green coconut depth. In the Galaxy of the NiuNaut there’s a lot to explore. This is a perfect afternoon sipper on a warm spring day or a cool spring afternoon after doing some gardening. The sour spark it brings can refresh and enliven.

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Did you know coconut in dutch was kokosnoot? We’re stealing that for a drink name. Join us next week as we continue to use coconut products for the good of boozehounds everywhere. Till then…


“You get Hammered America” – JFL

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Rated R Podcasting: Episode 1

Podcasting has been high on our list ever since the radio big wigs decided my loud mouth went a little to far. As much as I adore writing about all things cocktail and Tiki I also truly love the sound of my own voice. We’re far from perfect podcasters but I and my friends are committed to making progress in the realm of audio perfection. Curious for a verbal overview of our San Antonio trip or the crazy cocktail contemplations of the past month? Then we bid you click on my friends.



Tracklist (In Order of Play)

1. Zombie Dance Party – Beware the Dangers of a Ghost Scorpion

2. Made in China – B-sea Surfers

3. Halloween in Terra Town – B-Sea Surfers

4. Triforce – The Mad Titans


We hope you liked our little audio antics and we hope you’ll join us next month. Do you have questions for Rated R Cocktails? Ask them here and and next month we’ll answer them. Until then…


“You Get Hammered America” – JFL

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Sours from Volcanic Soil

Sour is something we’re always working with here at Rated R Cocktails. Luckily sour is the theme this month for MxMo. We’re very grateful to our host Andrea of Ginhound for choosing such a versatile and seasonal theme. For our part we were inspired to work with a citrus we had previously never touched in the realm of cocktail.


Tangerines are a unique citrus in many ways. Though similar to oranges in many ways they are much sweeter and have a melon like taste to my palate. I chose to pair them with some funky Martinique rhum like Neisson and balance that with roasty sweet Koloa Dark rum. The profile is very nice and we love Koloa Dark. Should it not be available in your area you can try to get close to the flavor by using equal parts El Dorado 12 year and Myers Dark Jamaican rums. The name comes from the wonderful lecture we experienced at SACC 2014 that taught us how much the volcanic soil influenced the crops and rhums of Martinique.


Sol Volcanique

1 oz VSOP Martinique Rhum like Clement or Neisson

1 oz Koloa Dark Hawaiian Rum

1 oz fresh tangerine juice

½ oz fresh lime juice

¼ oz honey syrup

1 tsp allspice dram

Shake with ice and strain into a coupe. Garnish with edible flowers.

Aromas of sweet honey, dark soil, and sweet chocolate blend into scents of tart melon. The flavor is spicy with plenty of unique funky agricole notes. Sour and earthy notes follow flavors of honey and earth. Tangerine really adds a lot of sweetness and melon notes. If you can’t get tangerines in your area we recommend adding abit more honey to your orange juice.


Sours are great and tasty drinks, and really Tiki has a lot of roots in classic sours. We hope you’ve enjoyed our cocktail and until next time…

You Get Hammered America” - JFL

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Cocktail Olympics with the Forge God

Sometimes it can be fun to compete, whether with others or yourself. I often make it a game to see if I can get more hits than I got the last month, then if I do I buy myself a nice beer or go to a movie. However until Sunday I’d never actually put my cocktails up for consideration in a real live competition. I squared off with four real bartenders who favored boozy classic cocktails, I the lone blogger with my Tiki regalia. Apparently that day the judges were looking for a real whiskey forward sip and a play on the old fashioned won the day. All the drinks were great and I consider each competitor a good friend and member of our local USBG chapter family. We may not have carried the judges but the crowd sure did swarm my little table. Some seconds, even thirds of my cocktail were served to eager attendees. In the end it was an honor to stand and compete with real talented bartenders who ply their trade every night. To commemorate the event I’d like to present for your consideration our submission to the first annual Vulcan Cocktail Competition.

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The sponsor for the contest was Clyde Mays whiskey. They are projected to open Alabama’s second ever distillery this fall and bring some jobs to our lovely state. Their whiskey is a mix of corn, wheat, and rye with green apple, cinnamon, and vanilla added to it as it rests for a year. This recipe is based on the Christmas Whiskey that a a bootlegger of the same name would give to customers. We added our homemade grenadine to give it a rusty red color like I remember Vulcan having when I was a child. To that we balanced it with some fresh citrus and added some Benedictine to play up the spices already present in the whiskey. Though it would have been to many ingredients for the contest we do encourage you to add a few drops of Angostura to the recipe. It provides the much needed something that I had wanted for the cocktail.

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Forge God

2 oz Clyde Mays whiskey

½ oz Benedictine

1 oz fresh lime juice

½ oz white grapefruit juice

¾ oz pomegranate syrup (Grenadine)

a few drops Angostura bitters


Shake together the ingredients with ice and then pour unstrained into a chimney glass. Garnish with a metal straw and a sprig of mint.

For the syrup: Combine equal parts pomegranate juice and white sugar in a small saucepan while stirring often bring to a boil, then reduce to low heat. Allow to simmer for two minutes and then remove from the heat. Cool and bottle.


Notes of lime, apple, pomegranate and warming spices meet the nose. The palate is greeted by bits of apple and oak which explodes into wonderful spices in which cinnamon is dominant. Pomegranate and citrus notes provide a tart structure to hold the flavor. It finishes with a mix of tartness, oak and apple. Should the mint offend we suggest removing it before enjoying the drink.

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Hey you can’t win them all but it was an honor to compete with friends and experienced colleagues. We look forward to more competitions in which we can show off just how great we think Tiki cocktails are. Did you see us there? Have you tried the drink? Drop us a line and comment below. Until next time…


You Get Hammered America!” – JFL

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