Cavatails: Tiki and Otherwise

You know a lot can happen in a year, so in the waning days of 2012 take a few moments to reflect. All we’ve gained and lost. Mistakes made and lessons learned, take all of these and let all of the worries of last year evaporate into the ether. Make past woes just like the tiny bubbles of your flute as they surge to the top of the glass. After all bubbly is a must this time of year, but what if you’ve grown sick of it?



Of course you can change up that everyday bubbly particularly if got some discount brands. When we make sparkling or champagne cocktails we typically head for the Cava. A Spanish sparkler made just like champagne but with different grapes. Also it typically costs below $13 a bottle. It’s important to select a dry, tart, “brut”, style sparkler. But please ignore certain American brands like Cook’s, Korbel, and Andre. These are lousy tasting at best and pumped full of C02 to achieve their crap lousy bubbles at worse. It’s not hard to get quality for less though if you shop around. Since we changed jobs and have less jingle in our pocket this year we selected Segura Viudas. It tastes fine on it’s own, but made a great canvas to paint on. It’s also a great value to.



Anyway our Cavatails are great, and a nice way to use some of those guilty pleasure sweet cordials in your liquor cabinet. Go ahead and whip that Chambord out, we’ve no ruler to whack your knuckles. Luckily champagne style sparklers are so tart and dry they balance a whole range of to sweet liqueurs. It’s not hard to make your own recipe. Just choose some sweet or spicy liqueurs and keep them, below 1 ½ oz in portion. A dash of bitters usually helps, then leave room for about 4 to 5 oz of the sparkling wine.


I’ll present for you here a few of our favorites. In particular the Sunward Sampan. I especially love it around new years because it symbolizes to me casting off the old, and sailing into the unknown but better tomorrow. We garnish these with our candied citrus peels which we detail in our article here.

Sunward Sampan


Sunward Sampan

¼ oz St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram

½ oz Senior Orange Curacao

1 dash Peychauds bitters

4 oz Cava


Pour the liqueurs and bitters in the bottom of a lightly chilled stemmed flute. Top with Cava, garnish with a candied citrus peel and serve.



I love this drink, it had a wonderful orange flavor with tons of spice note and very light keys of vanilla and anise. Yet still it retains a very clean finish. Senior Curacao of Curcao makes this drink, and we feel it belongs in every bar, especially if that bar likes Tiki.



Becky's best

Becky’s Best

¼ oz Benedictine

½ oz Creme De Yvette

1 dash Angostura

4 oz Cava


Pour the liqueurs and bitters in the bottom of a lightly chilled stemmed flute. Top with Cava, garnish with a candied citrus peel and serve.


My mother does not like boozy tasting drinks, but I love her anyway. Anyway this one gets her stamp of approval. Still this sweet, but not to sweet Cavatail has beautiful color and may be nice for the amateur drinker in your life. You might try flipping proportions on the Benedictine and Yvette for a more interesting flavor.


French Quarter Fop

French Quarter Fop

¼ oz Hoodoo Chicory Liqueur

½ oz Absinthe

1 dash Bittermens Elemakule Bitters

4 oz Cava


Pour the liqueurs and bitters in the bottom of a lightly chilled stemmed flute. Top with Cava, garnish with a candied citrus peel and serve.


This was inspired by my love of the Death in the Afternoon cocktail. I have a deep and abiding love of absinthe. So ever the tinkerer I decided to add a bit of subtly sweet, nutty, earthy, husky, chicory funk to my flute. Then I hit it with some spice from my bottle of Christmas present bitters. The result was a strong, anise laden, crisp drink with a subdued spice character backing things up.



Well we hope your new years is a happy one. We’re all about partying till we crash on a buddy’s couch, but we’re not all about drunk driving. If you leave it all on the bar this year, leave your car key at home. Find a designated driver or a cab, hell just hoof it if ya have to. After all we want to annoy you here next year to.


“Happy New Year, And You Get Hammered America!” – JFL


About JFL

Joey or JFL as he is known by friends is a culinary trained mixologist from the Heart of Dixie Birmingham, Alabama. From a weekly column in the St. Clair News Aegis to his own experiments online JFL never stops doing work on Tiki and Cocktails. When he's not studying all things spirit, wine, and beer he's pursuing his own odd interests such as cartoons, cheesy old horror movies, horror punk, hair metal, and hockey
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2 Responses to Cavatails: Tiki and Otherwise

  1. theboolion says:

    Having just finished off a bottle of cavalry – really – I love this! My wife and I just finished off the bottle by testing the bitters collection – sugar cube, a generous few dashes of bittets, top up with the bubbly – it’s a great way to drink a bottle of cava

  2. theboolion says:

    Um, a bottle of ‘cava’, that is, not a bottle of ‘cavalry’. Damn you, auto-correct!

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