Color me tardy again but these Mixology Mondays are creeping up on me faster than ever. I suppose it’s because I’ve been so busy I haven’t even had time to read my usual blog rounds in the past few weeks, but I was very exasperated to realize late on Sunday that I had forgotten about MxMo this month. Kevin chose the theme “Local Flavor” and, while I badly wanted to just post a Lindsay Lohan and be done with it (hey, he said “tacky” was an acceptable reason to post a drink), I couldn’t let it go at that. Not to mention that I don’t keep Jagermëister or peach schnapps in the house.
Being as the topic this month was fairly broad, I could have gone with citrus or avocado for our drink, since those were two of the crops that made LA prosperous before we became strictly an industry town. I didn’t really feel like a Harvey Wallbanger, though, so I had to try another tack. Despite the fact that we aren’t to the level of New York or San Francisco (yet), Los Angeles has a lot of local drinking history. As I pondered it, I decided to post a piece of local culture that I’ve participated in, one that I experienced at its place of origin. Something that is part of the unique weirdness that is, ultimately, so very Los Angeles.
Those of you who have been to the Tiki-Ti know that it is pretty much the epitome of local color. Sixty years of tiki knick-knacks, blowfish suspended from the ceiling in fishing nets, license plates, scribbled notes stapled to the walls. It’s dark and smoky and the bartenders won’t coddle you. You drink off the menu or they can’t help you and no, you really can’t get a beer. That said, the Ti has some of the best regulars in the city. They’re boisterous and friendly and are happy to hand you a menu, ask you how you’re doing, suggest their favorite drink or tell you about the cigarette box. On our first visit we met the regular known as Rasta Jim. I’m sure you can imagine why someone would be nicknamed “Rasta,” and Rasta Jim fits his nickname perfectly. He is a very nice man, and while we stood at the bar looking bewildered by people yelling “Toro! Toro! Toro!” and overwhelmed by the menu, he was a great help in showing us the ropes. He even gave us the head’s up on the Jim’s Special, his regular tipple which was not, at that point, on the official menu.
And so, from my sentimental favorite amongst local bars, here’s Rasta Jim’s own drink as printed in Sippin’ Safari. This one goes out to Jim for being kind to the n00bs and, of course, to Ray Buhen, the Master Ninja, for giving us the Tiki-Ti.
2 oz Coruba dark rum
2½ oz Corralejo reposado tequila
1 oz fresh lime juice
1 oz passion fruit syrup
1 oz Tiki-Ti Mai Tai mix*
8 oz crushed ice
Squeeze a wedge of lime into a large tiki mug filled with ice, then drop the spent wedge in and set aside. Place all ingredients into a blender and blend for five seconds, then pour into the mug. Garnish with a pineapple wedge speared to a cherry.
*The actual mix is a secret, but Beachbum Berry suggests ½ oz curaçao plus ¼ oz orgeat and ¼ oz simple syrup.
This drink is not for the faint of heart. It is strong, strong, strong and unfortunately delicious—before you know it, you’re faced with an empty glass and the realization that you’re in big trouble. I highly recommend giving this one a try when you’re in an LA state of mind. Or if you just want an excuse to drink rum and tequila at the same time.