The Tasting Panel magazine

July 2013

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Page 43 of 149

A LONE STAR LIFE Tiki Time in Texas CONTEMPORARY UMBRELLA DRINKS HELP BEAT THE HEAT IN AUSTIN AND BEYOND by Anthony Head / photos by Kirk Weddle Donga Bird Inspired by cocktails like the Donga Punch and the Paloma, Jason Steven combines Caribbean rums with house-made spice blends for this contemporary tiki experience. The Ting grapefruit soda is very popular in Jamaica and throughout the Caribbean and brings pronounced tartness to this light and refreshing Bar Congress original. ◗ 1½ oz. aged Neisson Rhum Agricole (Martinique) ◗ ½ oz. J. Wray & Nephew White Overproof Rum (Jamaica) ◗ ½ oz. house-made Donn's mix (cinnamon + grapefruit zest) ◗ ¾ oz. lime juice ◗ 1½ oz. Ting Soda ◗ Combine all cocktail ingredients except Tuesdays and Wednesdays are tiki time with Jason Stevens at Bar Congress in Austin. Ting in a shaker, add ice and shake briefly. Pour and strain shaken cocktail into tiki mug or Collins glass filled with crushed ice, add Ting and stir briefly to integrate. Garnish with mint (or, optionally, with flaming lime shell and ground cinnamon). C M Y CM MY CY CMY K N o matter where I'm drinking in Texas—like at Anvil Bar & Refuge in Houston or the Brooklynite in San Antonio—I've noticed that "Tiki Tuesday" is trending with craft cocktail professionals. That's the case in Austin as well. "It's definitely growing, and it makes perfect sense," says Jason Stevens, General Manager of Bar Congress, where weekly tiki nights have been a summertime staple since the place opened in 2011. "Long, refreshing tiki drinks made with fresh ingredients are great for beating Texas summers." Stevens says contemporary tiki cocktails mirror the freshness and innovation that helped the many original tiki classics from the 1930s and 40s endure: Modern tiki mixology is raw, and it is experimental. It is "elaborate garnishing" with fresh-picked basil, shiso leaves or other lush foliage, or hollowed-out lime shell boats, or pineapple spears. It's "fire" when appropriate. "And I know it's cheesy as hell, but I love an umbrella in my drink," he says. Pink parasols or not, tiki's turn at the bar is timed perfectly with the ongoing rum resurgence. Whether or not this Polynesian tipple ripple turns into a cultural tidal wave—or just wipes out—remains to be seen. But in the meantime, tiki and Texas are making some beautiful tropical music together. w 42  /  the tasting panel  /  july 2013 TP0713_034-65.indd 42 6/24/13 5:40 PM

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