One odd phenomenon about this year’s Tiki Month is a new-found affinity on my part to drinks born out of Don the Beachcomber. In the past, I have always leaned much more to Trader Vic’s style of concoction. But so far this year, I’ve found a number of Don’s recipes turn out to taste much better than their ingredients list would give any indication. The Queen’s Road Cocktail is the best of these I’ve found so far.

The Queen’s Road also has the distinction of being one of the few true “cocktails” in the Tiki tradition. Thus you can give your arm a rest from hefting those fun ceramic grotesqueries that are close in size and weight to a 40 of Colt than they are to the delicate concoctions I sip the rest of the year, and instead give a nod to your regular stemware. Or you can combine the best of both worlds and serve it up in a TikiTini glass!

  • 1/2 oz fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 oz orange juice
  • 1/2 oz honey mix
  • 1 1/2 oz gold Puerto Rican or Jamaican rum
  • 1/2 tsp ginger simple syrup
  • 1 good dash Angostura bitters

Combine in a shaker with ice cubes and strain into your cocktail glass of choice. Garnish with an elegant tiara of orange peel.

With honey mix and the dreaded orange juice, the Kanye West of cocktail ingredients, as well as some added simple, I expected this one to be far too sweet. Instead, the first sip was revelatory. It doesn’t taste sweet. It doesn’t taste boozy or rummy. And it doesn’t taste of orange juice. The flavor of this cocktail should appeal to just about any drinker, with any background, as long as they are not seeking the bite of raw liquor. It is good, folks.

I noted in the SideBlog a few days ago an excellent definition of the term “balance”, which describes it as existing in a drink where all the flavors get their turn and you can distinguish and identify them all. I’ll now quibble with that definition in my contention that a balanced Tiki drink is very nearly the opposite; all the flavors meld together, and subsume the characteristics of the spirit, to create a new gestalt of the whole, where it is hard to discern for sure any of the components.

In many of the really great Tiki drinks, instead of finely crafted harmonies, you get what seems to be an entirely new flavor. I think that it is this above all else that may account for the popularity of the original Tiki movement. Tiki may have explicitly exhibited its glorious lack of authenticity, but it delivered on its promise of an experience unlike any to be found in the comfortable, familiar environs of home.

And hey! This post is part of Tiki Month 2013 here at the Pegu Blog! Be sure to look around for LOTS more Tiki stuff all February!