Boy am I hungover.
I tend not to drink (heavily) on weekdays, but when you take a class on Tiki drinks, there is a lot of rum involved.
The Cocktail Lab is by far my favorite store in Los Angeles, and not just because of the subject matter, the owners are awesome too. Every month they host a different class to further your education on craft cocktailing (the schedule is here), and last night was all about the Tiki cocktail.
The class was hosted by Randy Tarlow of Liquid Alchemist, a very sought after mixologist by bars all over the country. His syrups are unique, and fresh, and can take your cocktails to a whole new level.
We got a lesson in the history of Tiki and where it came from, as well as how it became big in the USA after World War Two thanks to Don the Beachcomber, and Trader Vic, two men who had to battle it out for Tiki dominance.
After that first drink, a Zombie, it was time to learn about the classic that people love: The Mai Tai. Contrary to everything I thought I knew, mai tais are actually very simple, don’t have pineapple or coconut in them, and are very, very strong. Plus you can set them on fire.
The third and final drink was called Roz’s Punch, and it was a doozy. A mix of rum, bitters, syrups, and topped with some nutmeg, the drink had an unexpected spice that you don’t normally associate with the sweetness of Tiki drinks.
Obviously more extensive research is needed on the topic of Tiki cocktails, and I will have to experience many samples until I can call myself an expert. That’s my type of scientific research.
If you’re in Los Angeles, you should check out the next class at The Cocktail Lab, or at least stop by and buy some Liquid Alchemist syrups!