Monday, October 11, 2010

Julie Reiner's Lani Kai Set to Open Oct. 12; Menu Revealed

Julie Reiner's new Hawaiian-themed bar, Lani Kai—arguably the most anticipated cocktail joint arrival of New York's fall season—will open to the public on Tuesday, Oct. 12.

The drink menu—much of which was concocted by Reiner and Lani Kai's head bartender Joe Swifta (a transplant from Reiner's Flatiron Lounge)—is divided into the headings Spice & Tropical Tea (you'll find either tea or spice, or both, in every drink); Another Day in Paradise (I assume this has something to do with the effect these drinks will have on you); Boozy and Stirred (no juice in these); Liquid Luau (large libations intended for large parties); and Old School (Ti Punch, Queen's Park Swizzle, Mai Tai and Knickerbocker Royale). Most use a rum base, but there are also drinks founded on Bourbon, Mezcal, Rye, Tequila, Scotch, Gin, and Cachaca. Among the musical acts invoked by the cocktails are the Eagles (the Hotel California and Witchy Woman) and The Beatles (8 Days a Week).

There's a friends and family section called Ohana. On it you'll find drinks by Clover Club's Brad Farran (Green Destiny, a drink first seen at Clover Club), L.A.'s The Varnish's Eric Alperin (E Kipa Mai), Mayahuel's Phil Ward (The Maya Well--ha ha.) and Death & Co's Brian Miller (The Sugarhill Gang, a drink Miller recently invented for an Appleton Rum cocktail contest). There are also a couple rum flights, "Intro to Cane" and "Reserve," and beer, wine, bubbly and Sake.

There's a house Falernum, used on certain drinks, and the homemade orgeat (both one made from the traditional toasted almonds and one from Macadamia nuts) comes from Adam Kolesar, a rum and tiki enthusiast who lives in Carroll Gardens and has been refining his recipe for months. Both orgeats are fantastic and fresh-tasting.

The food comes from Craig Rivard, who also does the cooking at Clover Club. The menu include pork buns, lobster roll, duck potstickers, crab wontons, steak tartare, and two Luau Platters—a whole Red Snapper prepared Tempura style and a 2-lb. bone-in Ribeye. For dessert, there's Poi Doughnuts.

The decor of the place—which used to be Tailor in a former life—could be called Tropical Lite. There is thatch and there are fronds, but the effect is restrained and avoids kitsch. There are black leather booths on the first floor, a wooden bar at back; a larger bar downstairs, as well as red banquettes lining the walls and a rectangular, marble fireplace.

Here's the list:


Spice & Tropical Tea
Pacific Swizzle
White Rum infused with rosehip, lemongrass and
hibiscus tea, lime juice, and passion fruit. $13

8 Days A Week
Jamaican, Haitian, Guyanan Rums, toasted coconut
milk, demerara, vanilla syrup and Donn’s spices. $13

Hawaiian Iced Tea
Vodka infused with tropical black tea, mint tea
syrup, lemon juice and H
2O. $13

Mi Changito
Cognac, Aged Martinique Rum, Amaro, vanilla,
coffee and banana. $13

Boozy and Stirred
The Black Pearl
Bourbon, Black Strap Rum, Demerara, Aromatic
Bitters. $13

The Tree House
Rye Whiskey, Dark Rum, Macadamia Nut Orgeat,
Mole Bitters. $13

Witchy Woman
Reposado Tequila, Aged Rum, 5 spice infused Amaro,
Sherry. $13

Crystal Skull
Jalapeno infused tequila, Mezcal, Dry Vermouth,
Arrack, Maraschino, Absinthe and orange bitters. $13

Another Day in Paradise
Hotel California
Dried apricot infused Old Tom Gin, Pisco, lime
and pineapple juice, toasted almond orgeat,
and Peychaud’s bitters. $13

Leilani’s Fizz
Lychee, Gin, lime juice, lemongrass syrup,
and club soda. $13

The Tides
Cachaça, Falernum, Cane Syrup, lime and grapefruit
juice, Peychaud’s Bitters. $13

La Tropicalia
White and Aged Rum, Curacao, toasted almond
orgeat, mango, lime, Absinthe and aromatic bitters.

Isle Of Islay Swizzle
Blended Scotch, coconut liqueur, house falernum,
passion fruit, and lemon juice. $13 

The Lone Palm
Gin, ginger syrup, melon, basil and lime juice. $13

Liquid Luau
Large profile beverages meant for sharing…

Gold Coast Punch
Aged Rum, Pineapple, lime, allspice and Cham-
pagne. $65

Lani Kai Planters Punch
Raisin infused aged rum, Jamaican Rum, lime, dem-
erara and Angostura Bitters. $52

South Maui Sangria
A tropical white sangria with mango, lemongrass,
Cognac, Amaretto and Lychee juice. $52

Brain Freeze

Bermuda Triangle

Rum Flights

Intro to Cane
La Favorite Blanc
Appleton V/X
Zafra 21 ... $20

Mt Gay XO
Rhum JM 1997
Goslings Family Reserve ... $35

Ohana (Cocktails by our Friends and Family)

Green Destiny (Brad Farran)
Shiso leaves, Gin, Dry Vermouth, Grapefruit, and
lemon juice. $13

E Kipa Mai — Come To Me (Eric Alperin)
Mezcal, Agave Syrup, Pineapple and lime juice,
Amaro. $13

The Maya Well (Phil Ward)
Raspberry tea infused blanco tequila, ginger,
pineapple, and lime juice. $13

The Sugarhill Gang (Brian Miller)
Aged Rum, Calvados, toasted almond orgeat,
cinnamon bark syrup, lemon and orange juice. $13

Old School

Ti Punch
White Martinique Rhum, cane syrup, lime. $13

Queen’s Park Swizzle
Aged rum, Mint, demerara, lime and Angostura
bitters. $13

Mai Tai
Aged Martinique and Jamican Rums, lime juice,
toasted almond orgeat and Curacao. $13

Knickerbocker Royale
Aged Rum, Orange curacao, lemon, fresh raspberries,
and Champagne. $13

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