This weekend, a devoted national and international crowd of devoted tiki-philes descends on Fort Lauderdale for The Hukilau. The annual gathering celebrates the music, history, and, of course, cocktails, associated with American midcentury tiki culture.
Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, a regular at The Hukilau, is a tropical drink expert. He’ll present a sold-out symposium (or “booze cruise through time”) this weekend, based on his forthcoming book, Potions of the Caribbean: 500 Years of Tropical Drinks and the People Behind Them, to be published by Cocktail Kingdom. Even if you’re not able to attend this weekend, you can still make one of Berry’s tropical drinks, Beachbum’s Own, with a cocktail recipe he provided below.
“It’s a happy side-effect of the mainstream cocktail renaissance that tropical drinks are now also getting respect,” says Berry, a former screenwriter and director turned mixologist.
“The original Caribbean-inspired tiki recipes by Don The Beachcomber and Trader Vic were 70 years ahead of their time. They were creating culinary, farm-to-glass, craft cocktails before these terms existed, and contemporary mixologists are not only finally catching up, but recognizing kindred spirits in Don and Vic. ”
Tiki drinks can be surprisingly complex: “It still amazes me just how many variations of rum, lime, and sugar–the three basic building blocks of all Caribbean mixology–bartenders can come up with.” Berry’s cocktail (below) uses Licor 43, a Spanish herbal and vanilla-noted liqueur that is available, along with Demerara amber rum, in South Florida wine and spirits stores (Sunset Corners in Kendall and Mas Vino in Hallandale told me these were available whenI called.)
Recipe by Jeff “Beachbum” Berry
3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
3/4 ounce unsweetened pineapple juice
3/4 ounce orange juice
3/4 ounce passion fruit purée
3/4 ounce Licor 43
1 1/4 ounces amber Demerara rum (such as El Dorado 5-year)
1 1/2 ounces white Puerto Rican rum
Shake well with plenty of crushed ice. Pour unstrained into a Beachbum Berry mug (pictured above) or a double old-fashioned glass.