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Spring may have sprung (Ok Punxsutawney Phil, whatever you say), and that means outdoor party season is just around the corner.
Refreshing, tiki-inspired cocktails are in order, whether it actually feels like spring or you just want it to. Throw the ultimate tiki party with these tips and easy libations by mixologist Nate Howell of Cusp Dining & Drinks and Hiatus Lounge in La Jolla, California.
How to Throw a Tiki Party: Nate Howell
1. Start with quality products
This also relates to fresh juices. If I’m by myself or with a few friends, I squeeze juices to order. If hosting a party, prepping enough is crucial. In a time crunch, store-bought can be fine, but the difference in fresh-squeezed and store-bought is night and day.
2. Try something new
There are absolute differences in flavor from island to island as well. I prefer Jamaican rum, but Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago and other Caribbean islands all have qualities I enjoy.
Gin provides citrus and herbal qualities that vodka cannot. Don’t keep buying the traditional "spiced rum" or some "flavored vodka." If you really want unique, try these options and taste test to your flavor.
3. Presentation is essential
If you are hosting a big party, there are some disposable cups along with some fun, edible glassware out there as well. Be sure to have fun with accessories and garnish as well. Get big, loopy straws, tiki umbrellas and make sure all your garnishes are fresh.
4. Ice makes all the difference
If you can’t get that particular ice, you can always wrap ice cubes in a towel and smash them with a rolling pin, frying pan or whatever you have to create small pieces. It’s quite therapeutic.
5. Prep enough and enjoy YOUR libation
The last thing you want is for your friends to leave to go get more ingredients. Prep enough and be a good host. Tikis are meant to transport you to a far-off island somewhere that relaxes you - so relax!
Add all ingredients to cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well. Strain over fresh ice in a Collins glass. Top with soda water. Garnish with a pineapple chunk and cherry.
Add all ingredients to cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well. Strain over fresh pellet ice in a Collins glass. Garnish with an orange peel, expressed (squeeze or twist the peel to release the oils over the top of the drink) and dropped into the drink.
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