To many, the words “tiki drink” conjure up images of sugar-loaded-cheap-rum-based-slushy drinks. Here at Reserve, we’re taking a fresh look this summer at the tiki drink culture, using fresh juices, quality ingredients, and thoughtful blends of rums to evoke that beachy feeling of escapism here in Grand Rapids.
Tiki, the umbrella term for all things tropical, enjoyed a golden age in the ‘50s and ‘60s, although tiki drinks were the unfortunate victims of the freewheeling drinking culture of the ‘70s and ‘80s. In today’s cocktail renaissance we are enjoying a tiki cocktail should still be transformative, but without the shtick that’s so associated with drinking tiki. Take the Mai Tai for example; a classic preparation calls for it to be garnished with the hull of a pre-juiced lime with an umbrella stuck in it to replicate an island in the ocean, and served in a specific tiki mug. While we don’t use tiki mugs here, each drink’s garnish does tell a story by adding a visual component.
On our current menu, we have the Nightjar, a riff on the classic Jungle Bird (Campari, dark or blackstrap rum, pineapple juice, simple syrup, lime). The Nightjar, named after a bird found in the jungles of Mexico, sees the rum replaced with a blend of Mezcal and tequila; Cynar, with a darker, more cocoa flavor substituting for Campari; and we keep the pineapple and lime juices. The garnish is made up of pineapple fronds to replicate the tail of a bird. It’s delightfully refreshing!
2018 is the summer of tiki for us at Reserve, and while we are not anywhere close to an ocean, we are excited to share the Third Coast with you through our renditions of classic tiki cocktails. Take a sip and you can almost hear the waves crashing…Hawaiian shirts are encouraged.