The cocktail renaissance has been something of a serious affair, fraught with button-down dress codes and hushed, reverent tones. Enter tiki. Several tiki bars have cropped up around the country over the past year, and with them a more relaxed, convivial attitude toward imbibing. The drinks are large and boozy, loaded with fresh fruit and spiced syrups, and served in kitschy grimacing mugs with ornate garnishes.
In New York, tiki lovers have been worshipping at the altar of Painkiller (pictured). In San Francisco, the rum temple of Smuggler’s Cove is the place to go for Caribbean and exotic cocktails. Gin and tequila have seen their own revivals, but rum is at the heart of the tiki and tropical cocktail boom. Whether as a clear spirit or aged liquor, its versatility unmatched: Rum can be used in fruity umbrella drinks or strong classics. Or, in the case of tiki, strong-fruity-umbrella-classics (hello, Zombie). —CM