Valentine’s day is near and much like love, Tiki can be complicated. If ever you attend the comedy that is me bartending you’ll notice I have a few cheat sheets. After all Tiki is a game of odd measurements and exotic ingredients. However I learned in Jeff Berry’s book Potions of the Caribbean some Tiki Drinks like the Sibooney and Trader Vic grog are pretty much the same drink with only minor alterations. Vic was a master of this and has several drinks that are only renamed tweaks on others, but he was not alone. One of my favorite simple Tiki starters the Rain Killer is so versatile it can be made with any spirit.
These drinks are two of my current favorites in my repertoire. The Coral Snake was in particular a very big seller at the recent Tiki nights I’ve had the privilege to work at Collins Bar. Keeping with the lovely season of citrus they make Blood Oranges a starring role aiding in color and acidity. Originally the Coral Snake had no cacao. I added it because I felt it lacked something, and I love small dashes of cacao in Tiki drinks. However The Coral Snake had been quite good without the cacao as well. So after a few tweaks in another way the lovely little Maiko was born. It’s easy to see their similarities. Having drinks like this on your Tiki menu can certainly help cut down the prep and strain on your memory. Plus it helps you create the “Combos” I feel are so important in Tiki.
1 ½ Mount Gay
½ Cruzan 151
¾ oz fresh lime juice
¾ oz fresh blood orange juice
½ oz cinnamon syrup
¼ oz coffee syrup
½ tsp Marie Brizard white crème de cacao
1 dash orange bitters
Combine the ingredients in a shaker then add plenty of ice and shake hard to combine. Pour unstrained into a chimney glass and garnish with either an orange peel snake or a flaming lime shell.
Rich scents of brown sugar, coffee, cinnamon, and acidic orange waft to the nostril. Coffee and cacao slither in subtly together before blood orange and rum strike in a two pronged flavor ambush. The finish lingers with peaks of overproof rum and twinges of cacao before fading away in a pleasing drift of orange and lime. The coffee and cacao are great playmates here and blood orange fits in irreplaceably. I think the cinnamon really helps keep this one interesting.
Combine the ingredients in a shaker add ice and shake to combine. Strain into a coupe and garnish with a red parasol and cherry.
Coffee is on the nose but so are floral lilts and sweet refined wisps of sugar. The blood orange is bigger in this cocktail dancing happily with the cinnamon. The coffee is well to the back providing a lively melody. The end has subtle tea and spiced notes from the bitters that meld delightfully with the subtler rums.
This attractive pair could accent any party, menu, or romantic dinner. Try them please before blood orange season passes. Better yet make them for your lover this Valentine’s day. We’ll be having a Coral Snake because well…Love Bites. Until next time…
“You Get Hammered America” -JFL