Oakhana Summer Swizzle Recap

An epic day in Oakland for the inaugural Oakhana Summer Swizzle home tiki bar crawl and fundraising event. This was a very well-run event, so we thank the entire organizing team, bartenders, and all the event volunteers.

The day started at The Dragon’s Den, Jeff Hall’s house. We enjoyed the dark ambiance and some cocktails and pupus. The drinks were done well, featuring Tanduay and Rum Fire rums, and bartenders Carlos and Christian kept up with demand like the pros that they are. I especially liked the Mai Tai that was even made with Latitude 29 Orgeat (Rum Fire is great in a Mai Tai). Groovy music was provided by DJ Wiley Coyote.

We then moved over to Pearl’s Hideaway, hope of Laura and Woody Miller. DJ Ship Rex switched music with a couple tight sets from the Reefriders – including an incredible version of “Taboo.” Drinks were from Doc Parks and he and Julio also did great including a blended cocktail with banana. I liked Doc’s spin on a Jungle Bird using Rum Fire to counterbalance the Campari. We also had dinner here, and many enjoyed swimming in the pool.

The event featured a silent auction to raise money for Oakland’s Eat. Learn. Play. Foundation, and bidding at closing time got a little crazy. We did win a couple items and look forward to delivering the Mai Tai Happy Hour experience that was an item in the auction. There was also a second fundraiser, a raffle of new and used items that people brought to the event, and the funds there are going to Maui.

We can’t thank Laura, Jeff, Woody, and all the Summer Swizzle planning team and volunteers enough for putting on such a great event. Let’s doing it again!

World Rum Day with Kō Hana Rum

One of the highlights of my visits to The Kon-Tiki is to check out their rum selection and to try something new. Such was the case on Wednesday when I tried two varietals of Kō Hana Kea Hawaiian Agricole Rum. These rums are distilled from the crushed cane juice from different types of sugar cane, providing each expression with unique and interesting flavors.

First was Kalaoa, harvested in December 2020. I tried this neat and found it to be similar to the Kea varietal I have at home but a bit more mild and less briney. Very satisfying to sip.

Next was Lahi from June 2019 and for this varietal I had it in Kon-Tiki’s excellent Mai Tai. This rum is so flavorful that it really punches through and makes for a fantastic cocktail. You can taste the savory flavor profile from the Kō Hana Rum, and no grassy aftertaste like sometimes get with this style of rum distilled from sugar cane juice.

The Kon-Tiki had a nice collection and we thank Carlos for the suggestions.

We’ll be visiting the Kō Hana distillery next week on O’ahu when we attend the Tiki in Waikiki event. There’s a lot of focus on local businesses and cultural activities for this tiki weekender event, including some fundraising for Maui relief efforts.

Aloha Tiki Tommy

Many friends and fans gathered at The Kon-Tiki in Oakland last night to pay tribute the late “Tiki Tommy” Nigman who recently passed away.

Tommy was an Oakland resident who sold his wares at various vintage and tiki events for many years, and he was a regular attendee on Wednesdays at The Kon-Tiki. His warm spirit and friendly nature were present in all my interactions with him, and his presence will be missed. Thank you to Joe Kent and many others for helping Tommy so much in his last months. 

The Kon-Tiki has placed a tribute to Tommy just inside the bar. We continue to appreciate The Kon-Tiki ownership and team members for recognizing and paying tribute to our fallen comrades. Aloha, Tommy.

Oakhana Summer Swizzle Silent Auction – Opens Friday, Register Now

A small charity focused tiki bar crawl is happening on Saturday, organized by the Oakland-based Tiki Ohana – the Oakhana. This two bar crawl has limited capacity and tickets are sold out, but even if you’re not attending you can get into the action by participating in the silent auction. There are some great items available, with proceeds going to Stephen and Ayesha Curry’s Eat. Learn. Play. Foundation.

In addition to tiki mugs, gift cards, books, and fashion items, there are a couple experiences available. I’m pleased to include an Ultimate Mai Tai Happy Hour at Jeff Hall’s Dragon’s Den home tiki bar in Oakland.

Ultimate Mai Tai Happy Hour:
3 hours, from 4-8 attendees

Taste three different Mai Tais to appreciate how different rums and other ingredients can help you develop your own personal ultimate Mai Tai. The Mai Tai was born with a long-aged rum from Jamaica, and Kevin will be bringing some rare and potent rums to demonstrate the variability when using different rum styles.

Depending on who wins the auction, we can customize the rums being brought and definitely will prepare something awesome for the attendees.

The registration for the silent auction is now available, with bidding starting on Friday at Noon Pacific time and closing Saturday August 19 at 7:30 pm Pacific.

Heather and Tim Complete the Kon-Tiki Rum Expedition

Congratulations to Heather and Tim for completing the 100 rum list as part of the Kon-Tiki Expedition. The ceremony Wednesday included a special menu of Heather and Tim’s favorite cocktails, plus cheering as they banged the gong to celebrate.

The Kon-Tiki was really buzzing in downtown Oakland on Wednesday. The place was quite full, though the service staff and bartenders were doing a great job getting drink and food orders filled in a timely fashion. The Kon-Tiki’s world’s best cheeseburger was in amazing tip top form, and we tried the very intriguing new desert item Vino Pears a la Mode. This is wine-soaked pears served with vanilla ice cream and this was truly interesting and delicious.

We must call out the excellent musical playlist from Kon-Tiki’s @not_carlos. The playlist featured a variety of mostly instrumental songs that leaned in a soul and afrobeat direction. This felt retro (even though some songs are very recent) and groovy, and since they were instrumental this still felt appropriate for a tiki bar.

National Daiquiri Day at The Kon-Tiki

I’m doing Kon-Tiki’s Rum Expedition list of 100 rums again, and decided to Daiq it up last night for National Daiquiri Day.

I tried three rums in this format, all light/clear and I believe all unaged.

Copalli White – this pot/column blend from Belize is made from sugar cane juice but is very approachable. Not as much character in this one compared to the other two, but it is very serviceable in this format.

Père Labat Blanc 59 – a high proof rhum had more oomph and the traditional Martinique grassy notes were somewhat tempered in this format. I liked this, not just for the 59% ABV but because of the terroir of the island of origin.

KōHana Hawaiian Agricole Rum KEA – by far by favorite from this list. I absolutely love Kea for the savory qualities, even at only 40% ABV. Not grassy like the Martinique, instead this flavor bomb had a really lovely and long finish in the daiquiri.

Kon-Tiki Oakland Mid-2023

Had a great time at The Kon-Tiki Oakland on Wednesday. I’m still off dairy for the time-being so I ordered the Kon-Tiki Burger sans-cheese. Definitely still very good, but clearly not as awesome without cheese. Service tonight was really great.

Kon-Tiki is in between major menu changes, so the current menu is via a paper menu with about ⅔ of the cocktails from the last published menu. I did order the premium Golden Gong which I found to be rich and complex, consistent with previous orders.

I also ordered a Mai Tai made with Paranubes Aguardiente de Caña, a rum from Oaxaca, Mexico. This sugarcane juice-based spirit is quite flavorful and savory, not unlike some of the Clairins I’ve enjoyed from Haiti. Not grassy at all. Combined with the Kon-Tiki’s excellent base Mai Tai ingredients, this was an awesome Mai Tai.