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  • Oct28

    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 with my lovely partner and our friends.
    • 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.
    • I give full credit to Wren, my lovely companion, for shaming me into posting on my blog again by getting every single one of my friends and booze companions to give me shit about it. I was going to name the drink after you, but thought you’d appreciate the name I gave it more.

    *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 our puppy.

    Add Your Comments »


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    Kaiser Penguin Nominated by Saveur for Best Cocktail Blog of 2011

    Apparently not updating your blog wins you nominations! I couldn’t think of another two gentlemen I’d rather be crouched in a dark corner with than Jeffrey Morgenthaler and Camper English. I’m also confident no one has ever typed that sentence in the history of the human race… Winning a popularity contest against Morgenblogger is a […]

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    Cheater Ingredient – Cinnamon Syrup

    This series on cheater ingredients started off with grapefruit. Cinnamon is another tool in our veritable MacGyver toolkit for fixing cocktails and one that, unsurprisingly, matches very well with grapefruit. Leafing through one of my treasured reference cookbooks which might as well just be a nerdy spreadsheet of ingredient pairings, I looked for cinnamon. Cilantro […]

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    Filed In: Cocktail Recipes



    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