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A Bourbon Special for a Special Day

Bourbon SpecialAloha!

Today, was a special day for all of us in Wisconsin.  It was the first day of the year where the temperature reached 80 degrees Fahrenheit.  We hadn't come anywhere near 80 degrees yet this year.  For the first time since last fall it felt like summer.  The sun was shining, and strong spring winds were blowing.  I've been working my way through Beach Bum Berry Remixed trying every cocktail and sharing my thoughts on each one. How appropriate that the next drink in Beach Bum Berry Remixed is the Bourbon Special.  The Bourbon Special is a 1950s cocktail that originated at the Kon-Tiki restaurant chain. 

As I sat outside, on the patio, for the first time this year I tried the Bourbon Special.  It is made with fresh lime juice, sugar syrup, falernum, ginger beer, Bourbon, and Angostura bitters.  As always, it is important that you use fresh ingredients.  This cocktail is another true masterpiece!  The first sip coats your pallete with several flavors.  First you taste the lime juice which is nicely sweetened by the sugar syrup.  The falernum adds a hint of spices and a touch of almond which complement the lime nicely.  A nice ginger flavor also comes through from the ginger beer.  The oaky flavor of the Bourbon comes through but is just the right amount to complement the other ingredients of this special cocktail.  

The first time I made a Bourbon Special I forgot the bitters.  I actually liked this version better than the one with the bitters.  The bitters seems to hide the spices from the falernum and the ginger beer.  I liked the falernum flavors more pronounced.  I tried one other variation of the Bourbon Special.  I substituted the Bourbon with Roaring Dan's Rum.  This Milwaukee rum has a flavor that is similar to a whiskey.  However, the rum didn't really pull it's weight in the drink like the bourbon did.  The cocktail almost tasted like limeade.  I like limeade, but it didn't have such a great variety of flavor without the Bourbon.  I'm always amazed a how different a cocktail can taste with just one small change.

My favorite version wound up being with Bourbon, but without bitters.  I think that is just my personal taste though.  Even if you aren't a Bourbon or whiskey fan I would recommend trying this cocktail.  The strong Bourbon flavors that are too much for many peoploe are offset by the other ingredients.  I think this is a drink anyone can enjoy.  It was a fine way to kick off patio season.

As I drink my way through Beach Bum Berry Remixed I'm reviewing each cocktail and sharing my thoughts. I'm not giving out the recipes.  It wouldn't be fair for me to give all the recipes out of the book. There would be no reason to buy it then, and everyone who worked on this fine book deserves to be rewarded for their hard work by you buying a copy.




Bring a Tiki to Work Day

Tiki and Coconut M&Ms


Bring a Tiki to Work Day was such a fun day!  I put on a Hawaiian shirt, and took one of my more colorful tikis with me to work today. Along with the tiki I brought coconut M&Ms to share with everyone.  

Instead of my normal cup for water I brought in a tiki mug to drink out of.  On my iPod I had exotica and Hawaiian style music playing all day through my headphones, and I changed my computer's wallpaper to a beautiful tropical sunset.  The day was far more relaxing and enjoyable.

I got a lot of positive feedback and people had wished I had told them in advance so they could have worn Hawaiian shirts and brought in treats.  I think a tiki day at work is on the horizon.

Today, made me realize how grey and dull my cube is. It's no wonder it can feel depressing around there sometimes.  We don't have any strict rules about decorations so I think a tropical make over is necessary. I'm also going to keep my tiki mug at work to drink out of instead of my boring old cup.

On days like this I realize work is really what we make of it.  Day in and day out work can become boring, routine, stressful, and downright un-enjoyable.  However, it's something we all have to do.  By making a conscious effort to find ways to make work fun you might actually have things to look forward to besides quitting time. So why not organize a tiki day at your work?

Dress code allowing, have everyone wear a Hawaiian shirt, and you bring in some cheap decorations for the day, and just have fun with it.  You could even have a cook out over lunch.  If grills make your company nervous just have everyone bring a lunch and eat it outside. You could still bring in snacks to share.  Most companies would embrace a fun event like this especially if it costs them little to nothing, and it will break up the boring routine.

Mahalo to Eric Hedman for organizing Bring A Tiki To Work Day on Facebook!


Foundation Tiki Bar Unveils A New Menu

The Jet Pilot


Last night, Foundation Tiki Bar in Milwaukee, unveiled their new cocktail menu.  The menu went through a complete transformation. In fact, the only drink that remains from the old menu is the volcano bowl.  Everything else on the menu is new or updated.  There is a great selection of classic tiki cocktails from the 30s all the way through to modern tiki favorites.  I'm getting thirsty just thinking about all the new libations!

With over two dozen drinks on the menu I was excited to get started.  My first selection was a Jet Pilot.  This new addition to the menu really hit the spot, and helped me to quickly forget how cold this spring has been.  This refreshing cocktail had great blend of rum, spices, and citrus.  Unlike, your standard, run of the mill cocktail; a good tiki cocktail has a great amount of depth and offers a bouquet of flavors in every sip.  The Jet Pilot at Foundation fits this definition perfectly, and sent my taste buds to paradise.

Next up was a Piranha.  Our bartender, Michael, told us that this drink made the menu by popular demand.  It started out as one of their specials, and after it came of the list customers kept asking for it.  So piranha fans your drink is now a standard on the menu.  After one sip I could tell why this was a popular request.  The blend of rum, ginger beer, and citrus was great.  The spicy sweet flavor of ginger beer blends really nice with rum and citrus.  

Third, I tried another new menu item, The Port Light.  Foundation's version of this Kahiki classic is similar to the original.  It has Bourbon, pomegranate, passion fruit, and lemon flavors. The combination of passion fruit, pomegranate, and bourbon was new to me and it was spectacular.  The passion fruit give a nice touch of sweetness, and the pomegranate give a touch of sour.  The bourbon rounded the drink out nicely with an oaky flavor.  It was the perfect combination.  This smooth drink is a symphony for your taste buds that goes down very easy.

While we sampled the new menu, our bartenders Michael and Ron were regaling us with tales of rum and tiki bar adventures.   They both had a lot of great rum knowledge.  I immediately felt right at home in the friendly atmosphere.

Monday night is a great night to visit Foundation if you want a nice crowd that is there to chill out and unwind.  They had a great set of exotica playing all night long.  Other nights, and espeically the weekends, there is a bigger crowd with more of a upbeat attitude.  Foundation is Milwaukee's only authentic tiki bar, and claims to be the home of Milwaukee's best Mai Tai.  I have personally sampled Mai Tais at a number of different places in Milwaukee, and hands down, Foundation makes the best Mai Tai around.




Mai Tai Review: The Stir Crazy Mai Tai

Stir Crazy Mai TaiAloha,

Last night we tried Stir Crazy for the first time. Since they had a Mai Tai on the menu I had to give it a try.  I was a little hesitant after the Red Robin Mai Tai to try another chain restaurant mai tai, but I owe it to you, my loyal readers, to review mai tais. I don't want you to suffer through a mediocre chain restaurant mai tai.  

The menu described the mai tai as, "our signature blend of three Cruzan Rums (Estate Dark, Black Strap, and Coconut) and fresh tropical juices."  I was excited to see that they use Cruzan rum!  Who knows what was in the Red Robin Mai Tai. The Stir Crazy mai tai came in a glass that slightly resembeled bamboo, and it was garnished with a pineapple wedge and cherries.  No lips or hair in this one.

With my first sip I could taste coconut from the coconut rum, pineapple juice, and some orange juice.  The coconut was a fun twist to a chain resturant mai tai.  There was also a slight hint of lime juice.  

I don't think the estate dark or black strap rums were actually used in the cocktail.  There wasn't any molasses or oaky flavors that would normally come with those darker rums.  Also, the color of the drink didn't suggest those rums were in there.   I'm guessing  a white rum was used instead, because the coconut flavor wasn't strong enough for that to be the only rum.  The dark rums were probably too much for the average customer.

Overall, the Stir Crazy mai tai wasn't bad.  It was a little sweet, and, unlike many of the classic tiki cocktails, had a simple flavor.  However, it was decent enough to have a second.  I wouldn't go to Stir Crazy for their mai tai, but if you are there give it a try.  Let me know what you think.



PS Try the chicken satay! YUM!


How to Drink Out of A Coconut


My friends at Paradise Cocktails sent me an email asking how to serve drinks in a coconut.  This is something I hadn't tried before, but it sounded like fun.  So I did some research.  It turns out it is really pretty easy to hack open a coconut so you can use it as a cup.


The first thing you want to do is drain the coconut water.  To do that use a nail or punch to put two holes in the coconut.  The best place to do this is in the eyes of the coconut.  They are softer and easy to poke through using a hammer.

Next, drain the coconut water.  Be sure to save the coconut water it is delicious, and can be used in a variety of different cocktails.  I suggest you filter the coconut water to separate out pieces of the shell that may have fallen in.  You can even freeze the coconut water to save it for longer periods of time.

After the coconut is drained use a large knife and chop the end off.   Be sure to keep turning the coconut as you chop away the hard shell. This makes it easier to break open.  After a few minutes you should break through the tough shell.  You may want to do this outside.  We had pieces of coconut flying everywhere.

After that, wash out the coconut.  Then, it is ready to serve drinks in.  You can reuse the same coconut several times throughout the night. Just keep filling it.  

Coconut Water, Rum Cocktail

Since I had coconut water I decided to make a coconut water, rum cocktail. First add some ice to the coconut. Then add:


  • 2 oz coconut water
  • 1 oz white rum
  • 1/4 of a lime


Stir everything together and serve.  This is a great simple cocktail.  The coconut water has a mildly sweet, yet refreshing, flavor. It is also slightly salty.  The rum and the lime really complement the coconut water.



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