Finding Tiki Drinks Boring? Try Gin.

The Nomad
(Z. T. Bitzer 2015)

A tiki drink sits comfortably in your hand, a furious visage of a tiki carved carefully into the ceramic; it looks a bit like if Bane found a penguin in an darkly-lit alley and they became friends. The mug is so frosted that even your most careful grasp could slip and leave your gloriously-crafted mug of rum perfection shattered and glistening on the floor.*

Circa present day, KP is posting again, in small part due to a recent visit to Portland that led me, quite precariously, to the darkened halls of Pépé Le Moko and The Monkey Hut, where I learned not only that I had forgotten how delicious bad 80’s cocktails were, but how much I had forgotten about how hifalutin you could be about quality, seasonal citrus.

I subtly mentioned to both respectable gentleman (Jeff and Craig) that I had been working on gin-based tiki drinks, and their eyes lit up like an flickering, rum-filled lightbulb on the verge of exploding.

And so, I present the first cocktail (and post) on Kaiser Penguin in over four years.

The Nomad*

  • 2oz Anchor junipero gin
  • 1/2oz Bols genever gin
  • 1/2oz Hayman’s old tom gin
  • 1/4oz Krogstad aquavit
  • 1oz lime
  • 1/2oz white grapefruit
  • 2t lemon
  • 1/2oz cinnamon syrup
  • 1/4oz falernum
  • 1/4oz demerara syrup
  • 1/4oz orgeat (note: I have an upcoming recipe for the best orgeat ever.)
  • grapefruit peel for garnish

Does this drink look like it has too many ingredients? Yes. But it somehow musters the intensity to be complex, refreshing, and leaves you digging for clues.

KP Question

  • What’s your favorite gin-based tiki drink?
  • And more importantly, the first (3) people who post an original gin-based tiki drink will receive a bottle of my new Orgeat in the mail.

Important Notes for Those Involved:

  • Thank you Jeffrey for letting me basically take over your bar.
  • Thank you Craig, for being perfectly pompous and a great host. And fuck, that Corn and Oil was the best I’ve ever had.
  • Hele Pele has the best Hawaiian bread I have ever tasted, irrespective of the Zombie I ordered after having 10 cocktails at Pépé Le Moko.

*Paul Clarke, sir. It was great to completely randomly see you at Death and Co.
*Quite the long story best saved for friends, but here is my puppy.

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23 Responses to “Finding Tiki Drinks Boring? Try Gin.”

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23 Comments to “ Finding Tiki Drinks Boring? Try Gin.”
  1. JordanNo Gravatar says:

    My favorite gin-based tiki drink will always be the Luau Scorpion, though the Winchester is pretty good as well.

    My original twist on the Long Island Iced Tea, which can be turned into something that looks an awful lot like a tiki drink with a bit of work.

    The Isle of Seven Cities
    0.5 oz vodka
    0.5 oz aged light rum
    0.5 oz reposado tequila
    0.5 oz gin
    0.5 oz orange liqueur
    0.5 oz lemon juice
    0.25 oz simple syrup
    1 barspoon orgeat syrup
    1 dash Angostura bitters
    1 oz soda water

    Build over ice in a chilled glass and briefly stir to combine all ingredients.

  2. SamNo Gravatar says:

    It’s been too long buddy.

    1.25oz gin
    1.25oz cachaca
    .25oz wray and nephew
    1oz pineapple
    1oz orange juice
    .75oz lime juice
    .75oz cinnamon syrup
    4 dashes Angostura bitters
    Fresh nutmeg on top
    Shake and strain over crushed ice, garnish with mint and an orange wheel

  3. […] One of the greats returns to cocktail blogging. Kaiser Penguin was the very best, back in the early, heady days of the cocktailosphere. His camera skills were exceeded only by his creativity with garnishes. His first post in years shows that he’s lost none of either. […]

  4. Doug WinshipNo Gravatar says:

    A nice way to return!

    Do stick around, will you?

  5. Michael DietschNo Gravatar says:

    Holy shit, he’s alive.

  6. FredericNo Gravatar says:

    The Saturn is my favorite classic, and my favorite original:

    The Yardarm for TDN: Tiki Drinks (with Beachbum Berry)

    2 oz Gin
    3/4 oz Passion Fruit Juice
    1/2 oz Lime Juice
    1/2 oz Honey Syrup (1:1 Honey:Water)
    2 dash Angostura Bitters
    1/4 oz Absinthe (or Pastis)

    Shake all but absinthe with ice and strain into a rocks glass filled with crushed ice. Float absinthe and garnish with a lime wheel.

  7. ChrisNo Gravatar says:

    It’s been too long. Stick around for a while this time, buddy.

    Give us a hint: does your orgeat require blanching almonds, or will it use almond milk instead?

  8. JFLNo Gravatar says:

    Great to see you back! I have been doing a lot with Gin tiki myself. I find it and pineapple to be natural mates.

  9. What a wonderful trip it was, indeed. May this inspiration continue and multiply. I got as far as recipes and some pictures on an SD card that will not post-process themselves…

  10. …though I am hitting the local places for the first deliveries of the White Grapefruit season: It is imminent. There’s a grapefruit madness coming, I can feel it.

  11. TiareNo Gravatar says:

    You back?? wow!!! how totally awesome!

  12. ChuckNo Gravatar says:

    A Kaiser Penguin post appears in my RSS reader.

    *clutches chest*
    *morphs into Redd Foxx*

    “I’m comin’, Elizabeth! I’m comin’!”

    Welcome back, pal. :)

  13. DagrebNo Gravatar says:

    I feared this day would never come. Hip hip hoorah!!

  14. Tony HarionNo Gravatar says:

    Welcome back, Rick.

    When I saw a notification on my rss I almost could not believe it!

    Can’t wait to read more about that orgeat recipe!


  15. EmilyNo Gravatar says:

    This is awesome, Rick! So glad to see you blog-your amazing cocktails are worth it! :D The gin looks especially interesting. I wanted to share a great speakeasy here too: I had a great drink at Franklin Morgan Investment Company in Philadelphia
    with cachaca, white rum, nigori sake, amaretto, maple, lemon juice, banana and egg white. To die for ~

  16. commentNo Gravatar says:

    Excellent website you have here but I was curious about if
    you knew of any forums that cover the same topics talked about
    here? I’d really love to be a part of community where I can get suggestions from
    other experienced people that share the same interest.
    If you have any suggestions, please let me know.
    Many thanks!

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Kaiser Penguin is a cocktail blog featuring original recipes, homemade ingredients, classic cocktails, and tiki drinks.

Why on Earth did you name your blog “Kaiser Penguin?”

It is a well-known fact that penguins are members of high society and enjoy fine cocktails. Our very own kaiser penguin would like me to mention that he also enjoys various treats from the sea.

Contact: rick@kaiserpenguin.com