Tiki drink is an idea, and like any idea, its definition depends completely on people’s collective opinion.
The premise behind our very existence at Tiki Tolteca pushes the envelope on what a tiki drink actually is. Thinking of Tiki drinks are in the tiki shot mug and excessive decoration, but what about the two quintessential tiki drinks, the Mai Tai and the Zombie? A simple rocks glass and ceramic.
So in order to open Tiki Tolteca, we had to have a few philosophical meetings about what, in our opinion, make a ceramic tiki shot glass drink a tiki drink. It was clear to us early on that there is no cold hard definition that every drink fits into, but there certainly seemed to be guidelines.
The vast majority of tiki drinks are made with rum, and to deny that would be to bury our heads in the sand. Even though we bill ourselves as a Latin American tiki mug set bar,most of our cocktails and most of our wine selection was still rum. There’s no getting away from it, and why would we want to? Rum is the nectar of the gods!
When we say exotic juices, we mean exotic for the 1800s and early 1900s. In an era of classic cocktails, lemon juice is in the United States the main juice, lime, in countries with less degree, but to a greater extent in the Caribbean and Latin America. Tiki went outside the box and started using a lot of grapefruit juice, passion fruit juice, pineapple juice, and orange juice.
As for the spices, tiki drinks from the beginning have been big on syrups made with cinnamon, allspice, clove, anise, and nutmeg. In our minds, even if they are not spice, we will also be mixed with almond and ginger in this category.
Of course, this rule really applies to any good cocktail, but we included it in our list because so many people have forgotten this extremely important point when it comes to tiki. Over the years, tiki drinks have gone from tasty, well-balanced wonders to syrupy messes made with chemicals and cheap rum. In Tiki drinks,using taste is so great, special care must be taken to ensure their balance.Taking this a step further, great tiki bartenders are legendary for using specific rum flavors to balance out their drinks. The flavors of rum are so varied that it’s hard to imagine that some of them are from the same category of spirits.If not most, tiki drinks blend different rums to get the exact flavor that will balance the drink out the rest of the drink.