MxMo Blue: Silk and Surf

Ah bleu drinks. Don’t you love them? Two years ago no one in high end cocktails would touch them with a 10 foot pole unless it was to push them into a hazmat bin. Trends change, winds blow, and now they are cool again. Around here they never really stopped, I try to be trend allergic. So I’m super happy that this month’s MxMo theme is Blue, hosted by the always awesome Andrea from Ginhound blog. So, lets bloo this.

mxmologoblueBlue drinks are pretty damn well in the Tiki pantheon, though not always in seats of honor. Sure there are mentions of Pre-Tiki blue drinks, but that is not our thing. Part of the power of Tiki mixology is the blending of flavorful rums from a wide variety of tropical locales. Sadly blue curacao is most often a great way to turn a good Tiki drink green, not blue. For a really a stunning blue you have to run from dark rums and sparingly touch gold ones. Often this mandates using clear spirits without the round flavors, depth, and body most Tiki drinks are known for. This isn’t always a bad thing though, Blue drinks done well can be lively, crisp, sweet, and deep in their own ways. Blue cocktails play differently than dark, spicy delights like the Three Dots and a Dash. You need to take these formulas and give them a lightness, brightness, and keep in mind just what colors are in the pot. Flavors like orgeat, coconut cream, anything with a light color but rich body can be crucial in establishing depth.

CeruSilk (6)
Cerulean Silk
1 oz Matusalem Silver
¾ oz Appleton Special
½ oz Cruzan 151
½ oz Senior or Bols blue curacao
¾ oz fresh lime juice
¾ oz fresh pineapple juice
½ oz ginger syrup
¼ oz orgeat
1 dash absinthe

Shake hard with lots of ice and pour unstrained into a tall glass. Garnish with blue kitsch, a cherry, maybe some mint if you have it.CeruSilk (4)

JFL’s Ginger Syrup
1 cup fresh ginger juice
1 cup 2:1 simple syrup
1 tsp vodka

Peel and microplane the ginger over cheesecloth then wring thoroughly to extract the juice. Combine well with simple and vodka before bottling.


Ginger, orgeat and absinthe smell way to good together. They meet with the rums to create a fragrant, softly spicy nose with the pineapple playing backup. This drink is peppy and bright with a slightly sweet finish. Pineapple has room to play ball with ginger and orgeat racing down the backfield. The rums are providing good blocking. They give subtle, but timely punches when needed. In the end the finish is sweet and slightly minty without being saccharine.


I hope you don’t think we blew it (Blue all the puns!). It’s always fun to play with pretty colors, but remember they have to taste on point to. Rated R Cocktails is shaking up Tiki delights every Wednesday at The amazing Collins Bar in Birmingham. Drop in before 9 pm central and say “Hi” sometime won’t you? Until next time…

“You get Hammered America” – JFL

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Bluau Bash: New year’s with the USBG

Ah a new year, full bad booze fueled decisions. We’re here to help fuel those decisions for you with every click of the keyboard and clink of ice. Recently my local United States Bartending Guild chapter called upon me to concoct some welcome punches for our members and their guests at our big year end bash. The punches were on point and more than one reveler found out the potency of the Tiki Gods at our blue themed luau or Bluau.

USBGPoseidonPunchMy personal favorite was a combination of Shellback silver rum and New Amsterdam coconut vodka. I kicked up the funk factor with a Chinese 5 Spice syrup I’ve been wanting to concot for awhile. Because of their backstory being associated with the mythical greek god Poseidon I dedcided to name the tipple after him. Wanna mix one up? Here’s how.

PoseidonPunch (4)
Poseidon Punch
1 oz Shellback Silver
¾ oz New Amsterdam Coconut Vodka
½ oz Bols Blue Curacao
1 oz lime juice
¾ oz five spice syrup

Shake ingredients with ice and pour unstrained into a chimney glass. Garnish with an orange peel, cherries, and a lime wedge.

PoseidonPunch (7)

Chinese 5 Spice Syrup
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 ½ star anise
2 cinnamon stick ceylon crushed
1 tsp whole black peppercorns
½ tsp whole fennel seeds
6 whole cloves

Roughly crush the spices in a morter and pestle, combine with water and sugar. Bring to a booil then lower to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes. Let sit, off the heat, and infuse for 4 hours before straining through a fine mesh.

Coconut is definitely in force here that New Amsterdam packs big flavor. Shellback comes through nicely with loads of vanilla and fashes of cane peppered in. An orange peel garnish is perfect here helping the curacao and lime make a heavenly nose. The coconut and five spice are graceful lovers dancing in your mouth. The lime and orange notes provide the step, and the shellback provides a lovely setting. This cocktail is on the sweeter side, but it still has a nice balance. Part of me wonders how this would be with an extra half ounce of orange or white grapefruit juice. I am digging that syrup to, but next time I make it I might try kicking up the amount of spices in the brew.

PoseidonPunch (8)

Poseidon Punch pack waves of flavor.

We had another punch filled with tequila goodness, sadly none of the pictures at the party turned out well and I’m out of product to make it. It must have been good since they drank it all. Filled with plenty of finery we present it to you below.

Maestro Mahina
1 oz Maestro Dobel
¾ oz fresh lemon juice
½ oz pineapple juice
½ oz Cuervo Cinge
½ oz Cappeletti
½ oz simple syrup (we dyed ours blue with food coloring)
½ oz blue curacao
1 dashes orange bitters.

Shake ingredients with ice and pour into a chimney glass, garnish with mint and pineapple.


This drink was rich and very full bodied, pineapple, cappeletti, and cinnamon are always a winning combo. The tequila added a really lovely herbal note to the party and kept it boozy and refreshing. I just regret all the pictures turned out so blurry, it was really a lovely bluish purple.


I’d like to thank all our sponsors for helping us reward our members with a great night of drinks and revelry. It’s nice to see the companies we pour every night support us this way. I’d also like to say if you have a local USBG chapter and your not a part of it your missing out. There’s no better organization for a beverage professional to join. Until next time…


“You get hammered America” - JFL

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Kahuna Cooking: Mai Tai Cookies

I may be a Grinch, but everyone loves cookies. The only nice part about this time a year is if you time visiting someone just right you can mooch a few and maybe a cocktail. In culinary school I was a lousy baker, I’ve dulled more from lack of practice. Like most chefs I stick to simple desserts when forced. However I just really like making cookies. They are versatile little buggers, and I don’t know anyone who hates them. The idea of going to a bar and just ordering a big plate of warm cookies is a mental opiate. Then in a drunken spree with twitter pals I hit upon an idea, MAI TAI COOKIES.


The thought that this could happen elated me. Immediately the idea became more and more complex, after all in true Tiki fashion “Less isn’t more, More is more.”. However when it came to Orgeat chips it turned out more like Jurassic Park. I was so concerned over whether I could do it I forgot to ask if I should. I found a recipe I thought I could use as a springboard, and unfortunately the whole thing just didn’t go as planned as I detail in the recipe. In the future I’d love to see how the cookies turn out if I omit the orgeat goop. Still these things taste awesome, the glaze I concocted will work marvelously on cookies, cupcakes, cakes, even your grandfather’s big toe. Don’t take my word for it, make um yourself.

Mai Tai Cookie (4)Orgeat “Chips” (by volume)
¾ cup Coconut Oil
½ cup Butter
¼ cup White Sugar
¼ cup demerera sugar
¼ cup orgeat
½ tsp Dark Jamaican Rum
½ tsp Orange Curacao
½ tsp lime zest

Okay so this is the part that didn’t pan out. Perhaps I should have used some xanthum gum to bind it. Or mix it longer, heating it up more so the sugar and liquid is more homogenous. For whatever reason this separated and I decided “Fuck it” mixing the whole thing in with the cookie batter. This step is what I believe made it more sugar cookie like. It didn’t make chips like I wanted, but it still made a damn good cookie. Procedure: Combine your ingredients in a big mason jar. And place that mason jar in a pot of simmering or boiling water. Stir until ingredients are well combined then place on a 9×13 baking dish lined with parchment and let set for 2 hours.

Mai Tai Cookie (5)Mai Tai Rum Glaze (by volume)
1 ½ cup of powdered sugar
1 oz (2 tbsp) Dark Jamaican rum (We used Coruba)
1 oz (2 tbsp) Gold rum Agricole (We used Clement VSOP)
1 tsp orange curacao
3 tbsp grated lime peel
½ tsp orgeat

Whisk together and top desired pastry immediately.

Mai Tai Cookie (2)Mai Tai Cookie (oz by weight)
10 oz pastry flour (About 2 ½ cups)
6 oz room temperature butter (About ¾ cup)
4 oz demerera sugar (about ¼ cup)
4 oz white sugar (About ¼ cup)
4 grams baking soda (About a tsp)
4 grams salt (About a tsp)
3 oz eggs (About 2 large eggs)
¼ cup lime zest
½ tsp Dark Jamaican rum
½ tsp orange curacao
1 recipe orgeat “chips”
½ cup slivered almonds
1 recipe Mai Tai Rum Glaze (Tops 26 cookies)


Measure and combine dry ingredients and butter in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer. Affix paddle. Cream until well chipped and light in a pebble like dry mix. Add eggs, rum, curacao and zest, beat until homogenous, then stop and scrape the edges down. Mix in nuts and “Chip” mixture. Place batter in 9×13 baking dishes lined with parchment. Use 8 oz or 1 cup of mixture per pan. The mixture will spread greatly during cooking, use a mason jar lid to make rounds or serve as blondies. Bake for 15 minutes in a preheated 375 degree. They will firm up after they cool. If you desire to cut shapes do so while hot. Glaze after cooled and serve.

So usually friends I like to bring you as close to perfect a product as I can. This time I bring you a product that hit some bumps in the road. It’s tasty, but it could be better, or atleast it could be simplified. The real star turned out to be the glaze. If you don’t make anything else make this glaze and just spread it on stuff. The cookies are damn good however so give um a try. Until next time…


“You get Hammered America” - JFL

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MxMo Apple: Pama Nui

Wow, I miss three MxMo‘s and I’m running late to a fourth. How’s that for efficiency? Well we may not be on time but we want to throw some love toward Fred Yarm our host this December and his theme Apples. Cocktail Virgin/Slut is still an institution for great cocktail blogging, and Fred himself is to be honored for also being MxMo’s showrunner/cat herder.

mxmo_apple2You don’t think Tiki when you think apples, so I was sort of surprised when I found the Hawaiians had a word for them. It doesn’t stop me from tinkering around though and I immediately took this as an excuse to buy some Calvados that I’d had a Tales. Calvados has that tart crisp orchard flavor and some bottlings almost have a unique sourness. This one is along the lines of a Domfrontais, young,light with flavors of fresh apple and pear. I chose to accent this with a lemon, orange, pineapple trio I’d seen the Trader use before. Lemon and apple seem to be great bedfellows then dashes of ginger and honey to add depth to the mix. A dash of cider on top gives it some effervescence, but your better off using a easy to find brand for this drink. I love a true, tart, acidic cider, however something round and sweet like woodchuck helps to balance the flavors here. All in all it wasn’t to hard to fit the apple into my tropical paradise. I’ll let you dear reader be the judge of my efforts.

Pama Nui (2)Pama Nui
1 ½ oz Christian Drouin Calvados Selection
¾ oz Cruzan Gold Rum
¾ oz fresh lemon juice
½ oz fresh orange juice
½ oz fresh pineapple juice
¼ oz honey mix (1:1 clover honey and hot water)
¼ oz ginger syrup (1 part fresh ginger juice mixed with an equal part of 2:1 simple syrup and a ½ tsp of vodka)
1 oz Cider (we used Woodchuck Amber)

Shake all ingredients except cider aggressively with ice then add cider to the tin. Pour unstrained into a chimney and add cracked ice to fill. Garnish with a apple wedge, straw, and perhaps a cherry if desired.

Mild hints of ginger with crisp fleshy apples show first with wafts of citrus coming up behind. The first flavor is tart and full bodied, mealy apple into tart lemon with a crab apple acidity. The mouthfeel is fleshy due to the amount of pear in the Calvados. The finish is long lasting with notes of spice being very mild letting the apple play a starring role. Intermingling with the apple in the finish is the tropical trio of pineapple, orange, and rum. All twirling about the apple like boats in the flavor river. As the drink dilutes more molasses comes out in the front. There’s a lot to taste and enjoy in this sipper folks.

Pama Noui1Calvados and Tiki, if you ask me they get along pretty nice. Thanks again to Fred Yarm for keeping this MxMo thing alive. Until next time…

“You get Hammered America” - JFL

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Kahuna Cooking: Asian Chili Ribs

It’s the time of year to stuff your face amongst other people. Luckily for me this year I did it with people I like. However one thing I don’t like is traditional holiday food. Be it Thanksgiving or Christmas I find the usual Stateside fare bland and insufferable. When I went to Culinary School I was a pain to my studied instructors. I was always more taken with books on eastern cuisine than the french food I was learning. So nowadays the fusion style just comes naturally in a mish-mash that would make Trader Vic proud.

So when I was invited to the Santa Ana De Camacho’s house for a holiday potluck I was thrilled. Not Just because Lenell, Demian, and their family are some of my favorite people, but they also set out nice food and wine to. Yours truly never turns aside a good drink with or without company. I decided to bring my best dish, as well as fixings for my Dark Isles and Lintong punches. I decided to share it with my readers as kind of a Christmas gift. I started making these Asian Chili ribs in culinary school, miraculously they remain fall off the bone tender from just under 3 hours in the oven. The sauce itself is the key to success, and you can vary it’s heat based on the amount of peppers and how you treat them. For the party I seeded and veined the peppers with a spoon before slicing. For my heatseeking buddies I leave the whole mess in and throw in a few extra. Enough rambling lets get out our novelty aprons and cook. If you can’t find bird’s eye chili’s in your market get playful. Select a chili you’ve never used before and toss it in. I like bird’s eyes for the flavor and heat. Oh and in a pinch it also makes a great wing sauce.

Dollar store bamboo placemat optional.

Dollar store bamboo place-mat optional.

Asian Chili Ribs
1 to 3 racks pork spareribs or St Louis cut


Asian Chili Rib Sauce
1 ½ cup soy sauce
¾ cup sriracha
2 tbsp Tabasco
2 tsp demerera sugar
4 stalks green onion (the white parts cut in half)
¾ cup yellow onion, diced
3 jalapeno, diced
3 serrano, diced
1-2 habernero, diced
1-3 bird’s eye chili, diced
3 tbsp fresh grated ginger
3 tbsp brown or hot chinese mustard
1 tbsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
1 tsp dried cilantro
Pinch salt

For the Sauce: In a tsp of grapeseed oil combine the peppers, yellow onion, and ginger to sweat until translucent. Add Soy and chili sauce then other ingredients stirring well every few minutes. Bring mixture to a boil and simmer until reduced by a fourth. Reserve for basting and topping.


fresh cilantro
thin sliced green onion, the green part

Preheat and oven to 300 degrees and place ribs meat side up in baking pans seasoning both sides with salt and paprika, cook for one hour. Remove ribs and generously brush your sauce on both sides. Place the ribs inside bone side up and cook for another 45 minutes. Brush both sides liberally again with your sauce and cook meat side up for one more hour or less depending on your oven. Slice into racks, top with more sauce, and garnish before serving.

Man they go fast so bring extra. These ribs are a flavorful change from the usual hum drum Christmas bird. I hope you’ll try it and send me some photos of how they turned out. Also a big thanks to Lenell, Demian, and family for a great evening of wine, food, and laughs. Until next time…


“You get Hammered America!” - JFL

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A Punch in the Kuko

Well last week may make it seem like I never get paid, which isn’t true but it rarely happens. In September however I was contacted by reps for Kinky Liqueur’s new Gold brand. Sure it may be a club brand that isn’t exactly getting hipsters hot and bothered under their suspenders, but they offered good money. Also note, they paid for just the recipes not this article. This I’m doing because I think there’s a moment for mutual learning here. That lesson being that good can come from bad.

This is something I have always believed in doing this site/show thing. The MxMo Crass to Craft really spoke to me because something we try to do here is redeem “lousy” cocktail ingredients. Largely I think we’ve had a lot of success, thus I was excited when Kinky approached me cash or no. I’d had the blood orange/pink before and I remember not being revolted by it. Once I tasted the Gold I saw a lot of potential. It has notes of orange, mango, passion fruit, even a mild sourness of it’s own to go with it’s sweet. I tried to use it like I might my passion fruit syrup while boosting and hiding certain aspects of it’s flavor. I think both versions are successful. The final names all had to be changed to be more branded, but originally this was the Kuko Punch. Kuko in Hawaiian means lust or desire which I though was in line with the brand though not as blunt.


Also my pal Trader Magnus told me Kuko means dick in Swedish. So remember folks to get a daily Dick Punch.

Kuko Punch
1 oz Cruzan Virgin Islands Gold Rum
1 oz Myers Dark Jamaican rum
¾ oz Kinky Gold
¾ oz fresh lime juice
½ oz fresh orange juice
½ oz honey syrup (1 part honey mixed with an equal amount of very hot but not boiling water)

Shake with ice and pour unstrained into a chimney glass. Add crushed ice to fill and top with a cherry and mint sprig.


Brown sugar, passion fruit, and mango greet the nose. The liqueur itself has sort of a mango/passion fruit bent to it on it’s own. So orange and honey play into that very well. Now normally I love Coruba and Appleton extra. This is one of those few drinks where the overly sweetened, molasses rich, myers really adds a lot in aroma and taste. It helps aid in a rich front before the notes of tropical and citrusy fruit shake their groove things in the finish. This is an easy to make, light, fun drink. I prefer something… slightly different.

Kuko Punch #2
1 oz Mount Gay gold Barbados rum
1 ½ oz Coruba Dark Jamaican rum
¾ oz Kinky Gold
¾ oz fresh lime juice
½ oz fresh orange juice
½ oz honey syrup (1 part honey mixed with an equal amount of very hot but not boiling water)
8 to 10 drops Bittermen’s Elemakule Bitters

Shake with ice and pour unstrained into a chimney glass. Add crushed ice to fill and top with an orange wedge and mint sprig.


Mango, cane, rubber, allspice, and honey waft to the nose. Ahhh now the rum really appears. Spice and rich rummy flavors blend with the tropical liqueur and fresh citrus to make an almost vanilla middle. Following that the sour citrusy funk takes over in the finish. I guess this would be the Kuko for alchies like me.

Do you have some favorite not so craft boozes? Tell us about them in the comments and we might try to work our magic. Until next time…

“You get Hammered America” - JFL

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Remember When This Was Fun?

That’s what I asked myself this Summer. Rated R Cocktails used to be a glee filled expression of my love of Tiki and hell just making drinks. At some point I lost that fun aspect. Blogging just became a job I wasn’t getting a check for, but had a mountain of expenses because of. You have to be a little insane to run a niche blog. You’d have a better chance of getting paid by selling wigs made out of hobo body hair. My friend and associate Dan reminded me however that fun was perhaps even more important than rum to Tiki. That fun was the ingredient I was forgetting to throw in, and that has to stop.

SaruPantsu (5)

You may remember our Hipsters in Hanalei drink from various spots. I’ll always be grateful to Michael Dietsch for his lovely article that included it and the Planter’s series I had so much fun doing. This drink shares a lot with the HiH, in theme and ingredient it’s not made to be art it’s made to be fun. It’s also the closest I’ll ever come to making a low alcohol cocktail. On paper it should taste awful, and really I made it expecting it to. Shockingly it was actually pretty good. Giffard’s amazing liqueur played a big part in that, so don’t cheap out on us there. Try subbing Bols and your cocktails is better off being called Le Poopsauce. I love Lemon Hart, but in this instance it would have really overpowered the other ingredients. If you must avoid an amber 151 then just use Mount Gay. As for the drink: The name is silly, the drink is silly, but we hope you have fun with it to.

SaruPantsu (4)

Saru-Pantsu (Monkey-Pants)
1 oz Cruzan 151
¾ oz fresh lime juice
½ oz coffee/espresso syrup
½ oz Giffard’s Banane Du Bresil (no substitutes!)
2 ½ to 3 oz of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer
a small pinch of flake sea salt.

Shake ingredients except for Pabst well then add Pabst to the shaker. Hawthorne strain into a flute and garnish with a lime wheel.

Awesome aromas of coffee, lime, bananas, you don’t smell the salt but the freshness of the drink reminds you of the sea. The flavors of coffee and banana combine for a toasty explosion of flavor that makes this a great alcoholic’s breakfast. Lime and amber 151 get friendly in the middle and on the finish. The little bit of salt acts as a flavor enhancer making the other ingredients taste more like themselves. It only adds a whisper of a grin behind the lime at the very end to aid in a refreshing bright quality. Regardless if your worrying about this cocktail being salty, don’t. It’s silly not salty.

SaruPantsu (8)

So strap on your monkey pants and get to drinking. Whether it’s Tiki or whatever your passion is don’t forget the fun. I really believe it’s an ingredient people can pick out. Until next time…

“You get Hammered America” – JFL

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Dark Isles Luau: The Tepes Punch

The creeps all dance by the falls, the party’s at it’s peak.
The Dark Isles most famous guest arrives heralded by his caskets creak.
Dracula emerges, but on blood tonight he’ll pass.
Luckily tonight for this bar man he’ll take rum in his glass.

Bad poetry aside when Halloween comes about you have to think about the most famous of the monsters. Bela Lugosi played Bram Stoker’s titular horror in a legendary fashion that started not only horror films, but made vampire films into a industry. Since then we’ve seen the good (Anything Christopher Lee), the bad (Twilight), and everything in-between (Blackula). However honestly over the 4 years I’ve been doing this as a radio segment or a website I’ve just never been able to make a good vampire drink. It’s something I play with atleast twice a year and always shelve or turn into another drink. So this drink is a pretty proud achievement for yours truly. Not only did I clear the bar I set for myself but I’m really excited about it as well.


Brugal and Plantation are two of my favorite rums, and they combine really well in this. You can use Mount Gay if you must but it just lacks the complexity that really adds to this cocktail. Red wine was an addition I hadn’t thought of before and along with the honey was the key to making this idea work. Lime as always acts like a policeman to keep the drink running smoothly, and the touches of orange really aid the finish. We used Lees Fitch Cabernet in this wine but you could use a Cabernet based Meritage or even an oakier Syrah. It worked great in the cocktail even after being open and recorked a few days in the fridge. Heck it was almost better.

TepesPunch (4)

Tepes Punch
1 oz Plantation 5 Year Barbados
1 oz Cabernet Sauvignon (Lees Fitch or fruit forward cab)
1 oz Brugal White
¾ oz fresh lime juice
½ oz orange juice
½ oz honey syrup
1 dash orange bitters

Shake ingredients together and pour into a tall chimney glass. Garnish with a rosary and orange or blood orange slice.


Notes of dark cherry, oak, orange peel, and honey greet the nostril. The wine, rum, orange, and honey all make great dance partners. The tannin adds a great balance to the citrus and sweet, but doesn’t overpower. Red berry, vanilla, tannin and cane fade into notes of orange peel and honey. Notes of molasses, vanilla, and jam bring up the end in a pleasing wine like finish.

TepesPunch (7)
Thanks for joining us on the Dark Isles this month folks. We hope your holiday month has been gloriously ghouly to tide you over during the lame ones to come. Whats your favorite part of the holiday? Okole Maluna and until next time…


“You get Hammered America” -JFL

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Dark Isles Luau: The Karloff Kooler

With the sharks all exploded and the storm over a bolt of lightning gives new life to the monster of Frankenstein. Pushing me from my bar the monster works with a clumsy, fevered, pace to produce a sickly green potion of a punch. With great fear I take a hearty slug and pronounce it worthy of Tiki toasts. He suggests we raise a glass to Karloff. The man who made horror into a film category.


When we think of the early days of film and those very first monster movies to appear you must think of Boris Karloff. Though Bela Lugosi made the first talking horror epic with Dracula it was the runaway success of Frankenstein that not only created the horror category, but the horror sequel as well. Karloff played many amazing roles and had a long career. He was frightening in appearance and the tone of his voice. Astonishingly enough though, like Vincent Price, he was reported to be a very kind and agreeable man in real life. Like the Frankenstein monster there was a definite goodness in him.

KarloffKooler (2)

I had wanted to do a Frankenstein drink for a few years, and a hauntingly green one at that. Usually our drinks take a few weeks of testing, but this one was a hit on the first try at a gathering. It rarely happens, but it is a happy omen when it does. One need not use a seventy dollar bottle of tequila for this cocktail. We used Camarena tequila, and the drink turned out fine. Though bolder tequila like Lunazul, Milagro, Or Casa Noble would be fun if one has the dough. This drink leans on the sweeter side of the Planter’s Punch spectrum. Usually I like my punches more focused in sour, spice, or strong; but reaction was so favorable I was loathe to change a thing. Even after downing three I don’t find it to be cloying. With the season of candy overdose drawing so near, a little sweet for adults isn’t so bad.

KarloffKooler (3)
Karloff Kooler
1 oz Reposado Tequila
1 oz Cruzan Gold
½ oz Creole Shrubb
¾ oz Midori Melon Liqueur
¾ oz fresh lime juice
½ oz white grapefruit juice
¼ oz vanilla syrup

Shake together your ingredients with ice and pour unstrained into a chimney. Add crushed ice to fill and garnish with a lime wheel speared to a cherry.


Rich melon, grapefruit, and vanilla notes great the tongue with a mild tantalization. However the first sip is what really grabs the palate in a chokehold from beyond death. Vanilla and sharp citrus grips you at first then folds into motes of melon and spirit. The tequila and rum match with surprising ease to provide the drink a strong backbone. They give the drink boozy structure that allows themselves to play a supporting role to. Melon and orange bring up the rear with the flavors from Clement Creole Shrubb adding lovely spice to the finish. It’s worthwhile to note this drink does play on the sweeter side of things, however it avoids being unbalanced or cloying. This is a great drink to sip slowly, it improves even as it warms. If one wishes abit more spirit a quarter to a half ounce more of tequila does make for an interesting take. Or triple it and serve it in a big bowl for a real treat for two.

I’ve always been a big fan of the work of Boris Karloff. I’d like to imagine he’d enjoy our little tiki tribute, though I have no idea whether or not he favored a drink. We hope you’ll all join us in a rousing cheer to a long suffering horror master who put up with some very painful makeup. Until next time…


“You get Hammered America!” – JFL

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Dark Isle Luau: Sharknado Season

With our shadowy luau in full swing all that’s needed is some perfect weather. Now for your average person perfect weather means bright sun and a cool breeze. Monsters however greatly prefer a nice big Sharknado. Grab your chainsaws and gas cans guys and ghouls we have some sky sharks to slay.

Ah yes, the B movie that has taken a lot of us by storm for the past two years. It garners as much praise as it does critics. Yours truly is personally quite the fan, but why is that? Because of fun dear friends, fun plain and simple. No one will accuse the Sharknado movies of being masterpieces, but those who aren’t full of themselves can find the humor and visceral pleasure in them. B movies like this and more tie not only into Halloween, but in many ways Tiki as well. Afterall aren’t Tiki drinks the B movie cousin of that Oscar wining, gin sipping, vest wearing, Martini? It doesn’t mean they are inferior, in their own way they are just as much art as that perfect old fashioned. However Tiki drinks don’t take themselves so seriously. They are fun drinks for fun drunks. They both take a lot of skill and devotion to craft as well. A poorly measured, unbalanced Tiki drink is no fun. Likewise the difference between a cult classic B movie and a stinker destined for the ash heap is a fine line to walk.


Blue drinks are fun, B Movies are fun, you should try them before you pass judgement.

For out Sharknado tribute drink we get silly with the garnish. We encourage you to be equally playful in the decoration if you desire. I almost bought some small children’s water squirter bath toys I ran across instead to add as garnish. The drink itself was a process that took a lot of playing with. In the end we new we wanted a drink with big flavor and some power to boot. Wray and Nephew lends plenty of both.


If I had some Chainsaw swizzlesticks I would have skewered a gummy shark so fast

1 ½ oz Cruzan White
¾ oz Wray and Nephew
½ oz blue curacao
¾ oz fresh lime
¼ oz coconut cream
½ oz orgeat
½ oz fresh orange juice
dash Bittermen’s Elemakule bitters

Shake ingredients together well and pout into a hurricane glass. Add crushed ice to fill. Garnish with some shark themed kitsch and enjoy. A sprig of mint is always nice and tiki as well. To make the garnish you see merely skewer the gummy sharks behind the fin with steak knife. Then push down over a metal straw making sure to clean any candy out of the opening. This is most easily accomplished after leaving the gummies in the fridge for a day.



Delicious aromas of coconut, citrus peel, mint, and the grassy funk of Wray. The flavors is rich and full bodied with the coconut cream playing with the funky rubbery rum and orange peel up front. Light spices fold in quickly then fade to a light cleansing citrus with a very mild bitterness. The finish is lightly sweet and not at all cloying. Coconut cream ,though a tiny addition, really teams well with orgeat to create a rich mouthfeel and lasting finish to our cocktail. For a easy party tip we recommend getting some disposable hurricane glasses for your guests. Coconut and orgeat taste great together, but seem to leave a residue that demands hand polishing after washing.


Remember folks, real sharks are important parts of our ecosystem. They may be scary predators and great movie fodder. But you should never hurt a real one. Movies and reality must be kept separate.

Halloween is about fun, so break out some of those beloved B films. Let us know some of your favorites in the comments why don’t you? Until next time…


“You get Hammered America” - JFL

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