Tiki-tastic Libations

August 11, 2017

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Sometimes, a drink full of rum, coconut, fruit and a little umbrella is exactly what you need. Get your fill of all things tiki with these bars from Seattle to Chicago to Amsterdam.

Cane & Table – New Orleans

Cane & Table. Image via Flickr Creative Commons by Kevin O’Mara

The sophisticated Cane & Table is proto-tiki in all the right ways. The menu here pre-dates LA’s surf-driven tiki wave, and the concoctions made with rum, fruit and spices mirror New Orleans’ culinary traditions. Try the Danish Fly, made with Krogstad Aqua Vit, banana and pomegranate and served in a hollowed pineapple cup, or the Scotch and Coconut, a Puerto Rico-inspired take on an Old Fashioned that combines Monkey Shoulder Scotch, Don Q Gran Anejo and coconut.

Island Soul Restaurant – Seattle

Island Soul. Image by Jenice Silva.

Does your day need some paradise? A place to unwind and feel as if you’re on island time? Drop by Island Soul Restaurant, a little slice of Caribbean heaven. It has all the tastes of the tropics you so desire. Fruity rum drinks? Check. Snapper with beans and rice? Yes, please. Chef Bobby hails from Jamaica, and there’s no doubt that he certainly knows his way around the jerk spices. Add a little reggae, some inspired art and a commanding portrait of Bob Marley into the mix, and before you know it, you’ll be swaying to “One Love” and time will be the furthest thing from your mind.

Lost Lake – Chicago

Lost Lake. Image courtesy of the venue.

Red-hot, tropical cocktails waned in popularity for awhile, which seems odd – who in their right mind wouldn’t want a drink that tastes like vacation? All hail mixologist Paul McGee, who captained the ship in terms of Chicago’s tiki renaissance. Lost Lake, his tribute to tiki bars of yore is a pint-sized paradise, illuminated by a glowing fish tank, vivid umbrellas, tropically clad servers and lavishly garnished libations in whimsical glassware. Fasten your mouth to a swirly-straw and dive into the rum, coconut and passionfruit wonder that is Tic-Tac-Taxi.

Rum Barrel – Amsterdam

Rum Barrel. Image by Ali Ronca.

Amsterdam has seen a surge of Caribbean-influenced eateries pop up lately, and Rum Barrel is a fantastic example of how new establishments have brought of a melting pot of island flavors to this Dutch town. Though the extensive tapas menu is impressive, it’s the cocktail selection that really shines. With more than 30 house-made tropical concoctions, Rum Barrel is serving up and making way for new faves such as the Pineapple Hugo, a heady tipple of elderflower liqueur, pineapple shrub,fresh lime, mint and prosecco. If you’re feeling especially adventurous, try the Zombie, which contains four (yes, four!) shots of rum, Falernum, lime juice, Donn’s Mix, angostura bitters, oh, and absinthe.

The Shameful Tiki Room – Toronto

Shameful Tiki Room. Image via blogto.com

It’s hard to ignore Toronto’s love for all things tiki, and The Shameful Tiki Room only adds to the fervor. It’s over the top with carved totems, painstakingly sourced vintage posters and rattan covering every inch of the space. Then there are the tropical drinks, which will bowl you over literally and figuratively. Come with a group and order the Mystery Bowl, a rum-based beverage served in a huge light-up bowl. The best part? A gong announces its arrival. Flying solo? Try the Blue Hawaii, a slush with rum, vodka, pineapple, lemon Curaçao and coconut milk, or the Tiki Puka Puka with rum, allspice and orange.

Three Dots and a Dash – Chicago

Three Dots and a Dash. Image by Anjali Pinto.

Few places sport the wow factor that Three Dots and a Dash does. From those first steps through the door to the final sips of your last cocktail, it’s a thoroughly fun and memorable experience. The clandestine bar is accessed through a blue-lit alley, down a set of stairs illuminated by a wall of glowing skulls. The whole thing is very Pirates of the Caribbean, doing a handy job of transporting guests out of Chicago and onto a tropical island. Servers wear leis, pup platters brim with coconut shrimp and cocktails pack a punch. Prepare to be hooked by this subterranean wonderland of boozy pleasures.

Tiki Tolteca – New Orleans

Tiki Tolteca. Image by Lizzy Caston.

Ticky tacky tiki is all the rage at Tiki Tolteca in the French Quarter. The classic Mai Tai with a mix of rums, lime, Curaçao, and orgeat won’t let you down, and the shareable zombie punch (aged and over-proof rums, citrus and spice) is a potent taste of vacation.

For more great insider recommendations, pick up The HUNT Guides on gatehousepublishing.com.


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