A huge part of my luau preparations and planning has revolved around the cocktails to be served. I feel a calling to correct the decades of evil perpetrated by slack bartenders who serve tropical drinks, even being so ridiculous as to call them “Mai Tai,” that are nothing more than sickly sweet fruit juice slop.
I picked three recipes that I thought would cover some ground and hold the flavor of a good classic tropical drink, and also put one in that everyone will love. I could not have a recipe that called for anything too expensive or rare of course. And too many ingredients makes for misery. My first choice was the Pusser’s “Painkiller“. Everyone loves it and it’s simple. Secondly, IÂ was given kick_the_reverb’s newest creation, “Get Keelhauled!” as appreciation for the Grogalizer. This drink was debuted at Tiki Oasis and, coming from the winner of the Tiki Central drink contest, you know it’s a winner too. Thirdly, I wanted a very different taste, so I asked Basement Kahuna for his recipe of the Mai Kai’s “Black Magic.” I think he has come quite close to recreating this drink in it’s warm coffee flavors. I had sampled it at Coon Tiki.
So, now I have chosen the recipes and got my shopping list. Figured out how much honey, simple syrup, limes, lemons, juices, rums, liqueurs, etc. I needed. I got all my tiki mugs out that are not of any great value, and lo! I have well over 30! Plenty for the guests to all drink out of a tiki mug. All is good! Except the ice.
Reverb and Kahuna had both been very specific about using crushed ice, not cubes. I always use crushed ice at home. I am lucky enough to have a crusher in the door of the fridge. And I have a variety of ice crushers. But I am going to be serving 100 cocktails easy. How do I get that much crushed ice? Or how do I serve these great drinks over cubed ice?
Luckily, there is a simple solution: Bagged crushed ice. I knew some restaurants have crushed ice machines just as most have cubed ice machines, so it had to be out there. I called the main supplier of ice to the city, and A) they sell bagged crushed ice B) they sell retail and C) they are open on Saturday! Hooray!
I am so glad that I can serve my guests these drinks as they should be made, with the finest ingredients and poured over crushed ice. Remember that when you have a big party to serve. I bet your local ice company will do the same.