(This post has been sitting as draft for awhile. Here goes!)
Once upon a time we didn't drink much rum. The occasional rum & coke like anyone else but that was about it. We didn't even bring rum back from a trip to Cuba! (We brought cigars though). Anyway, things started to change. I'm not sure when but things started to change. A trip (and subsequent trips) to Bermuda by the old folks supplied us with Gosling's Black Seal, Outerbridges Swizzle Mix, and Barrit's Stone Ginger Beer. And so began our love for the Dark and Stormy. The key is the Bermuda Ginger Beer. It's not like Jamaican or English stuff. I can't explain it, it's just different. Around this time we also replaced Bacardi as the "house" light rum with Havana Club. I don't recall how this came about but it was a delicious change. Things continued this way for quite some time.
On occasion I would make a Manhattan or a Margarita (Straight up! Never blended)or a sidecar. Cuba Libres were a rarity, the white rum more likely to go in a Brass Monkey. Lately I've been enjoying an occasional Sloppy Joe. But just how did that come about? Well... Let. Me. See.
I had always known of Tiki. Vaguely I had know. Wood carvings, "fake" Hawai'i etc. I think Tiki Boyd's was the first bar I was aware of in an online capacity. I dug it but I felt like I was an outsider unsure of how to join the club. I would wear a Hawai'ian shirt to work on Friday's and occasionally also a lei but I wasn't in the know about Tiki. This led me to a small search of all things tiki bar. Flimsy looking "wooden" huts for one's backyard. Plastic cups that look like carvings. Kind of kitschy, kind of cheap. And so I returned to Sidecars and Brass Monkeys. (Let's be clear, my alcohol consumption is very low. Most bottles last us several years. I drink a lot more coffee than booze.) And so it went.
One evening (fairly recently) we were watching Anthony Bourdain. He was in Hawai'i. Actually he had probably been in Hawai'i about 18 months earlier and the episode had already aired. Never the less the episode was new to us. There were some interesting restaurants and dishes, typical stuff. And then. And then?
... Donn The Beachcomber. Ahh, the legendary Mai Tai, the supernatural Zombie. Drink mugs that looked like Easter island heads. Oh yes! I wanted to experience some of this myself. A trip to Hawai'i just wasn't feasible. So I again did some surfing...
I discovered a few recipes for both the Mai Tai and the Zombie. I found a place that sells Tiki Mugs. Actual mugs too, not plastic crap.
So there I was. A few recipes with ingredients I didn't have and some kitschy mugs that didn't fit in the budget. I searched for orgeat and falernum. I searched for recipes to make my own. And then I found the penguin. Kaiser Penguin.
Who is the penguin? What about the Sloppy Joe? That's a story for another day.