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Entries in Review (16)


Lei Lani Volcano - Tiki Adventure

Lei Lani VolcanoThe other day, I found a can of Guava Nectar that I had purchased a while back.  So, I thought I would go out of order from my adventures in Beach Bum Berry Remixed, and try something with Guava Nectar.  

The Lei Lani Volcano was invented at Disney's Polynesian Village (which is now The Polynesian Resort), and it is made with Guava Nectar. Since, Walt Disney World is one of my favorite places in the whole world to visit; the Lei Lani Volcano is a perfect choice.

The Polynesian Resort was one of the original resorts at Walt Disney World when it opened in 1971. The Polynesian Resort is situated on the Seven Seas Lagoon directly across from the Magic Kingdom.  The Barefoot Pool Bar is right on the Polynesian's beach.  It is so relaxing to sit on the beach and have a cocktail there.  If you ever need a break from the action at the Magic Kingdom take a short monorail ride to the Polynesian and relax on the beach with a cocktail.  You'll feel like you are in Hawaii.  The best part is you don't have to stay at the resort to enjoy the bar and the beach.  Also, the resort is a short walk from the Magic Kingdom parking lot; making it a nice place to end your day at the Magic Kingdom.

I really do like the Polynesian Resort, but I will warn you, they offers a "luau" called The Spirit of Aloha Dinner show.  I went to it a couple years ago.  It was quite disappointing.  The show was a super cheesy Lilo and Stitch adventure with bad Disney pop music.  The food was bland and not up to Disney standards. We left early along with a number of other families.  Not even the kids seemed to enjoy the dinner/show.  Hopefully, Disney has improved the experience.

The Lei Lani Volcano has guava nectar, unsweetened pineapple juice, fresh lime juice, sugar syrup, and coconut rum.  This smooth drink goes down really easy!  The pineapple juice is the first to hit your taste buds, and in concert with the lime juice has a hint of sour.  The sugar syrup cuts down the sourness very nicely though.  The guava nectar adds a great, almost strawberry flavor to the cocktail.

I really like the guava nectar in this cocktail.  It's a nice change from the typical pineapple and citrus drinks.  I used Cruzan Coconut Rum which added a great coconut flavor.  Cruzan Coconut has a more authentic coconut flavor that is less sweet than Malibu.  I'm guessing the Polynesian Village used Malibu back when they served this cocktail, but the Cruzan worked perfectly.  With every sip I was imagining myself on the beach at the Polynesian enjoying the sun, the view of Cinderella's Castle.  Now that is a magical day!




Castaway Cocktail - Tiki Adventure

The CastawayAloha,

I'm slowly drinking my way through Beach Bum Berry Remixed, and sharing my thoughts, and impressions about each of the cocktails.  As I go through the book from front to back, sampling each one, I'm having a fun Tiki Adventure.  The next cocktail is The Castaway.

The Castaway is based off a 1980s rum shooter called Jamaican Dust. This Tiki cocktail is very simple. It only has three ingredients, pineapple juice, coffee liqueur (Kahlua), and gold rum.  Even though, it only had three ingredients it is still pretty good.   

I was a little skeptical about mixing coffee liqueur and pineapple juice, but the combination is pretty good.  The pineapple juice, and the coffee liqueur make this cocktail almost creamy. The Castaway would work great as an after dinner drink.  

The recipe calls for crushed ice, and I would stick to that with the Castaway.  Anytime a cocktail recipe calls for crushed ice you really want to listen.  Crushed ice is going to melt faster causing the drink to be diluted slightly.  Recipes with crushed ice are designed to have this dilution happen.  Without crushed ice the flavors may be too syrupy or intense.  Just the slight melting of the ice can really transform a drink and take it from being an OK drink to an amazing one.  In the case of coffee liqueur and pineapple juice it's good to have a little dilution.  Otherwise, the flavors are overly intense and the drink is too thick.  

I don't think The Castaway is one of my favorite Tiki cocktails.  It doesn't have a whole lot going on in it.  I prefer a cocktail with a little more going on in it, but it's still a good cocktail.   

If you are looking for the recipe for The Castaway get a copy of Beach Bum Berry Remixed.  It has a lot of great Tiki Cocktails in it including The Castaway.  Have you tried the Castaway? I'd love to hear what you think about it.  Just leave a comment below.




Restaurant Review: Cheeseburger in Paradise

Cheese Burger in Paradise, Middleton (Madison), WIAloha!

Saturday, was a cold, rainy, and snowy day in Wisconsin. So, what better way to forget about the dreadful weather than to have lunch at Cheeseburger in Paradise.  The moment I walked in I was transported to an over the top beach bar in Florida.  The sound of Jimmy Buffett music greeted my ears, and tropical scenes were painted on the walls in bright, almost neon, colors.  There where thatch roofs over the booths and the bar.  Colorful lighting decorated the thatch.  One wall of the restaurant was made of garage doors that can be opened when the weather is truly nice outside.  I visited Cheeseburger in Paradise one night last summer when the doors were open. It was beautiful!  This is common practice for those of you in tropical climates, but it is a treat for us in the north. Of course, there is a bar in the center of the restaurant that is laid out in a wavy pattern.  What a perfect tropical oasis on a snowy spring day!

Tropical Island TeaCheeseburger in Paradise has a pretty big cocktail menu.  So, picking a drink was a little difficult.  I knew from the last time I was here that the frozen drinks were all extremely sweet.  They are too sweet in my opinion.  I wouldn't recommend them.  So, I ruled those out immediately.  Towards the back of the drink menu they have mixed drinks.

Since there was no mai tai; I tried the Tropical Island Tea, first.  The menu described it as, not your typical long island ice tea.  This was very true.  The only thing that made the drink like a long island was that it was all alcohol, and didn't taste like it.  It had SKYY Infused Passion fruit, Wild Turkey American Honey, Bacardi Silver, and Cointreau.  A delicious passion fruit flavor dominated this libation.  There were hints of orange from the Cointreau as well. It was still a bit on the sweet side, but I enjoyed the drink.

Next up, was the Electric Lizard.  This drink had Coruba Coconut, Midori, lime juice, sweet & sour, and Sprite.  It had a tasty balance of coconut and melon flavors from the Coruba coconut, and the Midori.  It was rounded out with a lemon lime flavor from the sweet & sour, lime juice, and sprite.  This cocktail was also quite enjoyable.  

Chicken SatayFor an appetiser we ordered the chicken satay.  The satay isn't on their appetiser menu, it is actually a lunch item, but there were three of us and we were on a mission to find chicken satay! That's another story... The satay was good, but nothing special.  The peanut sauce made it all right.  I liked Stir Crazy's Chicken Satay much better.

I had the chicken quesadillas for my meal.  I love chicken quesadillas, and these were pretty good.  It had cheddar and peper jack cheese, mushrooms, roasted red peppers, and pulled chicken.  The roasted red peppers were really good in the quesadilla.  The red peppers and cheddar cheese were a great combination.

The other two in the group had the mini crab cake burgers, and the coconut shrimp.  Both of those meals were very good.  The sweet potato chips are an excellent side dish.  They are thin cut, crispy, salty and sweet. Mmmm...

Electric LizardOverall Cheeseburger in Paradise is a great place to escape.  The food is pretty good, and the drinks are all right.  I really felt like I was in a Florida beach bar.  It was nice to have some tropical drinks in a tropical setting and escape the cold spring weather for a little while. 




The Sour Challenge: Eastern Sour Vs. Western Sour


As we continue sipping our way through Beach Bum Berry Remixed; you Bourbon fans are in luck!  We get to try two more Bourbon based cocktails; The Eastern Sour and The Western Sour.  Just like the Bourbon Special these two cocktails are also from the 1950s.  We'll take these two cocktails and put them against each other to see who is the champion of the "sour" cocktails.

The Western SourThe Western Sour was from Crane's Kon-Tiki restaurant chain.  The Kon-Tiki chain made it's home in Sheraton hotels across the U.S., and and was a direct competitor to Trader Vic's.  This Bourbon cocktail has fresh squeezed white grapefruit juice, fresh lime juice, falernum, and sugar syrup.  The Western Sour isn't bad, but the grapefruit seems to work against the Bourbon a little.  You don't get that rich oaky flavor like you do with the Bourbon Special and the Eastern Sour.  When taking a sip you first taste sweet lime and grapefruit flavors.  It then changes to more of a sour lime flavor, and finally you taste the Bourbon.  The aftertaste is quite sour, and acidic.  I'm a person who likes sour flavors more than average, but it was even too sour for me.  Sometimes, I can blame my citrus for being the culprit on a sour drink, but I tasted the juice by itself and it was great.

The Eastern Sour is made of fresh squeezed orange juice, fresh lemon juice, orgeat syrup, sugar syrup, and Bourbon. Your first sip you taste orange juice with a hint of lemon juice.  The two juices go together extremely well.  There is a hint of sour from the lemon juice, but it isn't too strong.  The orange juice, orgeat syrup, and sugar syrup really help to balance out the sour lemon juice just right.  The wonderful oaky flavors of the Bourbon come through after the citrus and make you want another sip.  The orgeat also adds a hint of almond to the drink to give it more complexity that will make your taste buds dance with delight.  No matter where you are you'll be transported to a tropical oasis.  Just feel the sand between your toes, hear the waves crashing gently to the shore, and see the beautiful palm trees running along the beach. Ah.... isn't that relaxing.

The Eastern SourFor me, the Eastern Sour is the winner in this drink off.   You really had two quality cocktails, but the Eastern Sour with it's orange, lemon, orgeat, and Bourbon really made me want a second.  I just don't have the same feeling about the Western Sour.  These three Bourbon Tiki cocktails have opened my eyes to how great Bourbon works in Tiki drinks.  I always thought of rum as the staple spirit in Tiki cocktails, but Bourbon really offers some amazing cocktail experiences.

What do you think?  Do you like the Eastern Sour or Western Sour better?  Let me know.

If you are looking for the recipe to these two great cocktails you can pick up a copy of Beach Bum Berry Remixed, or if you really want to just Google for them.  The book isn't very expensive though. Just buy it.  Then, you can sip along with me and we can compare notes.



Next Up, The Castaway....


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!