Had to kill an orange and a lime and looked for a recipe that uses both, so ended up with this cocktail adapted by Jeff “Beachbum” Berry in 1995. I found the banana isn’t as strong as you might hope or want. Making a second version I upped the banana and dropped the pineapple juice but it didn’t really change the character too much. Nonetheless, this was plenty refreshing and obviously very juicy.
Planet of the Apes by Jeff Berry ½ oz Lime Juice 1 oz Pineapple Juice 1 oz Orange Juice ¾ oz Creme de Banana (Tempus Fugit) 1 oz Dark Jamaican Rum (Worthy Park 109) ½ oz 151 Proof Puerto Rican Rum (Cruzan) Shake with ice.
There were worried grumblings in some online communities for the past few weeks when it seemed like every product from Orgeat Works Ltd. was not available for sale. Orgeat Works is the Brooklyn-based producer of several cocktail syrups including our all-time favorite: Latitude 29 Orgeat.
Thankfully, there was an update today on Facebook: “Just letting everyone know OWL syrups are back in stock. Took a pause to restock and catch up on fulfillment after relocating Orgeat Works here in Brooklyn. Let the Mai Tais flow!” Our long national nightmare is over!
Latitude 29 Orgeat was developed in conjunction with Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, the proprietor of the Latitude 29 Restaurant and Bar in New Orleans, and we think this clear and floral syrup is the best. The mild almond flavor doesn’t feature any marzipan aftertaste like you get with some orgeats and is stable in the fridge for months.
We also like and recommend Orgeat Works T’Orgeat Toasted Almond Syrup if you’re looking for something both darker and bolder. Both are available now and the company is here to stay – so if something is on backorder do know that it will be available soon. Free shipping on orders of $85 or more.
This was our second visit to Strong Water, and our first in the main room. I actually preferred this portion of the venue where the music is more varied and there’s more of a tropical/tiki feel than a nautical feel like there is in the back room. The menu is expansive but not too difficult to navigate.
Our cocktails were fantastic. I asked for a Mai Tai using Strong Water’s Lost Voyage rum (produced with Hamilton Rum) and it was a creamy and rich cocktail that was a great vehicle for a flavorful rum. I also really enjoyed the Three Dots & a Dash that filed off the rough edges of the aged Martinique rum and was nicely honey-forward. My last cocktail was the fantastic Lilikoi Sunset, a Passionfruit-forward Daiquiri variant with Barbados and Jamaica rums. All our drinks were universally hailed as excellent.
Such a great evening with cocktails and catching up with friends. We were tickled to be seated in the Jeff “Beachbum” Berry booth, where’s the a plaque to commemorate the Bum’s and Mrs Bum’s visits. Our service was great, with the server offering several suggestions.
The new menu debuted last night for Tiki Tom’s mug release event, so the Ultimate Mai Tai is now available as a premium Mai Tai option. We thank Darrin, Rick, and Steffani from Tiki Tom’s for the honor and also for sourcing the four Ultimate Mai Tai rums that are not always easy to procure.
We went to Tiki Tom’s for a quick visit last night and the place was packed and it sure seemed like they were selling a lot of mugs. We were able to get a seat at the bar after a short wait and I can say they’re making the Ultimate Mai Tai the right way. The cocktail features Jamaica rums Appleton 12, Smith & Cross, and Plantation Xaymaca, along with Plantation OFTD overproof rum. Over 50% ABV and a rich and funky taste that cuts through the cocktail. At $20, it is totally worth the $5 upcharge over their regular Mai Tai and $10 less than what they’re charging at Royal Tot in South Carolina for the same cocktail.
The new menu features a lot more options and also includes the BenZombie named for Bamboo Ben who led the interior decor refresh in 2021. There’s also a Release the Kraken, a bowl drink featuring some premium rums (no actual Kraken rum!). There are even a few cocktails from Jeff “Beachbum” Berry on the menu, along with Tiki Tom’s faves such as the Blowfish Intoxica and the Ohana Punch (Mrs. Mai Tai’s favorite). No more Carmen Miranda cocktail, though.
Tiki Tom’s doesn’t do reservations on Fridays and Saturdays, so plan accordingly if you’d like to visit.
The annual holiday pop-up with a tiki theme is back at 55 South in San Jose. This craft cocktail bar and restaurant did the decor even more elaborately this year, and staff was ready to serve us at opening on Sunday. Music was peppy and got everyone in the mood.
Sippin Santa comes from the our favorite cocktail historian, Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, in partnership with Cocktail Kingdom that also runs the Miracle pop-ups (including two downtown San Jose locations within a 5 minute walk of 55 South, Paper Plane and Miniboss).
This year the Mersanta mug is available for sale after the cocktail debuted on the menu last year. Such a cute mug, and the cocktail with tequila, applejack, and maple-cranberry syrup is quite a delight. I went with the classic Sippin’ Santa cocktail that has Demerara rum, amaro, and gingerbread mix. Really great, and prices for both the cocktails and merch are pretty reasonable.
A new drink this year is Island of Misfit Toys, featuring Jamaican Rum, Chai Tea, cream, cinnamon, and pumpkin puree. If you like Pina Coladas and Pumpkin Spice, this will be your new all-time favorite. I like both, as does Mrs. Mai Tai, so this cocktail is right up there with Sippin Santa’s Kris Kringle Colada as something to go out of your way to try.
55 South has a pretty decent food menu. I enjoyed the Shrimp Roll and we all looooved the Cream Cheese Bread, a small loaf of Olive bread covered with cream cheese. Probably the best thing in the entire building.
My last cocktail comparison between White Grapefruit juice and Rudy Red juice is a Zombie. For the comparison I decided to use the recipe on the bottle of the Beachbum Berry Zombie Blend from Hamilton Rum since this uses a bit more grapefruit juice than the original 1934 recipe (and significantly less rum, useful since I wasn’t going to drink two full Zombies). The Zombie Blend is pretty great and this does make a very good Zombie.
Unfortunately, from a grapefruit juice comparison the two Zombies tasted nearly identical. I was getting slightly more cinnamon notes from the Ruby version, which might be due to the juice being sweeter and with a lighter body. Or I could simply have measured an ever so slightly different half ounce in the cocktail. I’m pretty sensitive to the cinnamon flavor, and in fact went a little light on the measurement. I compensated by adding an equivalently higher amount of Falernum.
To conclude the Grapefruit Juice Shootout Comparisons:
I decided to use some of this year’s most highly anticipated new rum releases and put them into a cocktail together. I love the Worthy Park 109, which is a Dark Jamaican rum that to me approaches the flavor profile of a Demerara rum. And the aged Clairin expression from Saint Benevolence is an amazing alternative for cocktails calling for an aged rum from Martinique.
So, I chose a cocktail where the new rums would drop right in. The Three Dots and a Dash is a popular Don the Beachcomber cocktail, the recipe for which was unearthed a few years ago by Jeff “Beachbum” Berry. Thanks, Bum!
Three Dots and a Dash (modified) ½ oz Lime Juice ½ oz Orange Juice ½ oz Honey Syrup ¼ oz Falernum ¼ oz Pimento Dram 1½ oz Saint Benevolence Aged Clairin ½ oz Worthy Park 109 Jamaica Rum 1 dash Angostura Bitters 6 oz Crushed Ice Flash blend and garnish with three cherries (three dots) and a pineapple (and a dash)