Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Portland Bartender Makes Tiki-Drink-Making Less Painful
I would make more tiki drinks at home than I do if they weren't so damn labor intensive. Not only do many of the cocktail have six or seven (or 12) ingredients; not only are many of the ingredients not the sort of thing you already have in your liquor cabinet, or which can be easily found in your local liquor store; but many of the ingredients are syrups that you have to assemble separately before you can even start to make the drink.
Among these are cinnamon syrup, passion fruit syrup, coffee syrup and a host of others, plus secret syrups created long ago by Donn Beach of Don the Beachcomber fame and mixologists of his ilk. We can thank author and tiki historian Jeff Berry for cracking the code on may of these potions. But we still have to make them if we want to sample, say, a Doniga Punch.
A Portland, OR, bartender and consultant named Blair Reynolds has now come to tiki-lovers' aid.
Last December, he released a line of four syrups frequently needed when mixing tiki libations: Cinnamon Syrup, Orgeat (essential for a Mai Tai), vanilla syrup and—most exciting—Don's Mix. That's Beach's blend of grapefruit and cinnamon syrup. Reynolds got permission from Berry to market the latter, as well as his endorsement.
Reynolds will soon expand the line to include Hibiscus Grenadine and Don's Spices #2 (equal parts vanilla syrup and the allspice-flavored pimento liqueur). The syrups are made in small batches (less than a hundred gallons) in Portland, OR at an FDA Inspected facility. Reynolds use all-natural ingredients, real sugar, real flavors (cinnamon from cinnamon sticks, vanilla from vanilla beans, etc.), and where extracts are used, he gets steam-distilled or alcohol-based extracts from local sources. The recipes are all his.
The syrups are sold online www.tradertiki.com, and at selected stores in New York (Kalustyan's), Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston and Washington D.C. They go for about $9-$12 a bottle.