Jim’s Special

August 12th, 2008  |  Published in bars, housemade, mixers, MxMo, recipes, rum, tequila  |  9 Comments

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.

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  1. kevin says:

    August 12th, 2008at 9:54 am(#)

    Not to worry, I’ve got you in the roundup. Great post.

  2. Dood says:

    August 12th, 2008at 10:09 am(#)

    I really need to start drinking more outside of Orange County…

  3. Marleigh says:

    August 12th, 2008at 1:18 pm(#)


    Thanks! I have a bad habit of showing up for these fashionably late.


    Yeah, you probably should, if only for the Ti.

  4. Steph says:

    August 14th, 2008at 7:45 pm(#)

    This place is my favourite bar in Los Angeles. I make it a point to go at least 2 times a month, even though it takes a good 20 minutes to get there from my house.
    The people are friendly, and the drinks are amazing.
    My favourite is the Ray’s Mistake and the Bayanian.

  5. Rasta Jim says:

    August 22nd, 2008at 9:53 am(#)

    Thanks for the mention and the drink recognition. The Jim’s Special used to be served in a 32 ounce brandy snifter, full to the brim. It’s now served in a 24 ounce brandy snifter (we need access to more 32′s!!) with the same fine liquors and mixes, so the only thing they can short you on is ice, making it already stronger than it is. Ask for a free glass of water with each Jim’s Special, and you’ll be back to the strength it was intended to be. Start them together and finish them together, and you’ll be a happy camper!

    Have it for your first drink and count it as two. Your next drink (Ray’s Mistake makes a nice light follow up) counts as number three.

    Blessings and Tiki Times!

    Rasta Jim

  6. Marleigh says:

    August 22nd, 2008at 2:38 pm(#)

    Rasta Jim,

    Thanks for stopping by! I had wondered why the drink seems stronger of late, but I never seem to think about drinking water at the Ti. The drinks are just too refreshing on their own…

  7. Rasta Jim says:

    December 16th, 2008at 8:20 pm(#)

    Seasons greetings to you all.

    In case you didn’t know it, the TIKI TI reopens this Wednesday after being closed for three weeks for family vacation.

    It’s a good chance to have a Jim’s Special from Mike or Mark before Santa visits. Don’t forget to ask for a free glass of water with it!

    Jah bless, guide and protect,

    Rasta Jim

  8. Anthony says:

    January 12th, 2009at 10:36 pm(#)

    I made this tonight with dinner. Very good. Thank you.

  9. Marleigh says:

    January 13th, 2009at 5:11 pm(#)

    Awesome! Glad you enjoyed it. For a bonus blackout, we should take you to the Ti sometime.

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