DENVER, CO – This past week, Industry Denver reached out to a handful of Denver’s most recognized bartenders who have been helping keep the tiki vibe alive behind the bar. From its originating roots in Ernest Raymond Beaumont Gantt’s Don the Beachcomber, the tiki cocktail culture has gone through its fair share of satire in past decades. The satire of the tiki culture reflects only the decades of imitation, when cruise ships and resorts would serve overly sweetened renditions of Gantt’s originals.
Thankfully, a recent cocktail revival across the past decade has restored the integrity of the culture, challenging bar professionals everywhere to seek out unique rums and juices to pair with exotic ingredients and gaudy garnishes. Ask any educated bartender to mix up something tropical watch as they become noticeably excited. We narrowed our search down to three of the most impressive tropicals that we had found in Denver.
Swizzle Me Timbers - Melissa Durant, who has served her time at some of the most reputable cocktail bars in Denver like Green Russell and most recently Old Major, submitted Swizzle Me Timbers. A sexy cocktail composed of Scarlet Ibis Rum, Amaretto, and Maraschino Liqueur is sweetened and swizzled with a blend of tropicals and citrus for the balanced presentation.
Swizzle Me Timbers
1.5 oz Scarlet Ibis Rum
.75 oz Luxardo Amaretto Di Saschira
.5 oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
1 oz Pineapple Juice
.5 oz Grenadine
.75 oz Lime Juice
.75 oz Orgeat
Add a pinch of citric acid and swizzle in a glass. Fill with crushed ice and garnish with orange peel, edible flowers, and a bushel of mint. Enjoy.
Muay Thai - Brian Smith is now throwing down Muay Thai behind the bar at Coohill’s, which is his rendition of the recognized Mai Tai. The cocktail calls for an influence of classic components with an inspiration from modern technology. Brian infuses Thai basil, lemon grass, kaffir lime, star anise and clove into Rhum J.M. Paille by means of nitrous oxide cavitation, a process that instantly pressurizes the blend to infuse the aromatic compounds of raw ingredients into the rhum.
1 oz Rhum J M Paille (nitrous oxide cavitation with thai basil, lemongrass, kaffir lime, star anise)
1 oz Cruzan Single Barrel
.5 oz Marie Brizard Curacao
.5 oz Fresh Orgeat
.5 oz Fresh Lime Juice
Dry shake the concoction and serve over pellet ice in a double old-fashioned glass and garnish with a lime wheel and Thai basil. Throw an umbrella in there for good measure. Enjoy.
Shipwrecked - Tyler Lewis, who has been gracing the bar at Scratch Burrito & Happy Tap came up with his recipe for Shipwrecked on the fly. While constructing his lemon peel pirate ship garnish, the recipe began to create itself beginning with Shellback’s Caribbean Rum. With a focus on made-from-scratch ingredients like his house garden bitters and orgeat, the cocktail pulls through a variety of full flavors throughout enjoying of the kitschy cocktail.
.75 oz Shellback Caribbean Rum
.75 oz Clement “Creole Shrubb” Liqueur d’Orange
.75 oz Golden Moon Gin
1 oz orgeat
2 muddled lemons
1 muddled lime
2 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
2 dashes house garden bitters (or yellow Chartreuse)
Combine all but the trio of bitters into a tin and shake with ice. Pour into the gaudiest glass on the shelf and introduce bitters trio on top. Garnish with a lemon peel pirate ship and cherry pirate. Enjoy.