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Like Don Quixote I’ve gone a bit balmy after reading some books and now I am on a mission. My affliction started after hearing a podcast about Tiki drinks. The interviewee a Mr. Berry has a book (along with vintage recipes) on the topic.

Tiki drinks consist of colorful sweet ingredients prettily presented in fabulous containers surmounted by fruit and gay umbrellas. They are the drag-queens of libations – so different from the butch stuff Urs Truly prefers.  Perhaps I am finally getting in touch with my she-identity.  History and elements of camp combined with exotic ingredients with inventors whose recipes they keep jealous as Joan  combine just right for Urs Truly.  I could not buy the book fast enough; it arrived yesterday.

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This is as good a time as any to confess I cannot remember if I’ve ever had a Tiki drink.  On paper they don’t sound appealing viz. full up with sweet things and juices. I suspect I’ve had a few in my life but in hindsight they were insipid things made from pre-mixes and nasty fluorescent additives. I want a proper Tiki drink no rubbish. If I can’t get one readily outside of a proper Tiki bar (now rare as hens teeth) I guess I will have to make my own.

Proper Tiki drinks have a) very silly names and b) lots of ingredients. They sound a lot of work to gather up the fresh fruits and juice’em and locate the proper rums. Mr. Berry admits these recipes are stellar but they not ideal to do in a busy bar/restaurant where time and turnover trump complexity and quality (like my men). They are mostly iced drinks to cool one down on a hot humid tropical day – not good timing at the moment this being January.

I will read the book now for its history and colorful photos and take notes which drinks to make this summer. Perhaps I will start with The Scorpion as it sounds apropos and not too difficult:

  • 1 1/2 bottles (750ml each) rum (Brugal Anejo Rum is recommended)
  • 2 ounces ​gin
  • 2 ounces ​brandy
  • 1/2 bottle ​(750ml) white wine
  • 16 ounces ​lemon juice
  • 8 ounces ​orange juice
  • 8 ounces ​orgeat syrup
  • 2 sprigs ​fresh mint
  • Garnish with gardenias or edible flowers, orange and lemon slices and any nasty scorpions found in the utensil drawer.

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