Truth is, I just felt like making a tiki drink. You ever just get that urge? It may not be for a tiki drink, it could be for a Kit-Kat or a smoke or some Persian poetry. Who knows where those impulses come from, where our desires live when they aren’t driving us. It is funny how you can go for weeks or months or years and never once think about quiche or scuba diving or the company of a friend from long ago, but once they cross your mind, they just seem to linger there, an inexplicable, but gnawing hunger to feel those things again. That’s where I find myself this evening, with an uninspired, yet insatiable want for something tiki. I had an unused glass and the ingredients, so I decided to indulge. In the spirit of nearly forgotten appetites, won’t you please join me now as we stand and make the modern tiki classic Lorikeet.
This little bit of heaven was created by the amazing Shannon Mustipher, author of Tiki: Modern Tropical Cocktails, a must have for your bar shelf. It originally graced the menus of Glady’s Jerk Center in Brooklyn, another great bar lost to the pandemic. It is a riff on the 70’s tiki classic Jungle Bird, made with rye and blessedly without that devil bitch Campari. While they are in the same family and you can definitely see the resemblance, this one has an identity all its own.
Grab your tins and pop in 2 ounces of rye, I chose James E. Pepper 1776; 1/2 an ounce of Giffard’s Banane du Bresil, 1/4 ounce of cinnamon syrup, 1 ounce of pineapple juice, 3/4 of an ounce of fresh squeezed lemon juice, 6 stabs of Peychaud’s Bitters and 4 stabs of Angostura bitters. Add ice and give it a good shake to “Angel” by Depeche Mode, speaking of songs that conjure up old longings. When your tins are well chilled, dirty dump the drink, ice and all, into something suitably tiki, garnish with some pineapple fronds and a dehydrated orange wheel. Toss in a reusable glass bamboo straw from Surfside Sips and serve.
There is nothing wrong with that. I see the familial resemblance with the Jungle Bird, but I think I like this cousin better. Swapping the rum for rye and the campari for banana liqueur makes this one a bit drier, more earthy and I like it. That cinnamon syrup pushes through to give a nice edge to the sweet. Unsurprisingly, considering the source, this one’s remarkably well-balanced. There is a lot going on here, but none of the nuance is lost. This scratches a lot of itches for me, especially tonight.
That settled my craving nicely. I have had this one on my list of drinks to try for quite some time and it did not disappoint. I often wonder about my troubled mind and how or why it chooses its targets to fixate on. I can’t think of anything today that happened to make me think of tiki drinks in general or this one in particular, its not like I have been watching Australian nature documentaries telling the story of colorful Lorikeets and their environment. It must be sort of like memories. The way one, seemingly, meaningless moment stepping on to a school bus from 40 years ago can get locked in high definition replay while your wedding day can be a blur with so many details lost. How a song or a scent on the wind can take you back to a place you barely remember consciously. Life is funny like that, so much of it lost like those tears in the rain, the ghosts of memory hiding in your mind palace just waiting for their cue to step on stage and transport you into yesterday. Maybe those ghosts are related to the impulses that drive addictive behavior, for better or worse, maybe they aren’t. Either way it is food for thought and I am going to need a nice tiki drink to wash this down. Stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, my friends.