Tiki Iniki, a new Kauai bar with Julie Reiner | Hawaii Cocktail Week wrap up
Our cocktail correspondent, Randy Wong, with Brian Miller (left) celebrating Donn Beach's 106th birthday. And no, Miller doesn't always dress like a pirate.
News flash: Tiki Iniki is coming to Kauai in April. Hopefully the only devastation it wreaks is just a bit on our livers. There's some serious star power involved: Julie Reiner, who grew up on Oahu and opened New York hot spots Clover Club and now-closed Lani Kai, is developing the menu for Tiki Iniki in Princeville. The concept is a midcentury-style tiki bar, serving both classic Donn Beach and Trader Vic tiki drinks and modern interpretations. (Another star involved? Rock legend Todd Rundgren is one of the owners in the project.)
While we wait for Tiki Iniki's opening, we leave you with some of the highlights of the inaugural Hawaii Cocktail Week, which wrapped on Sunday. Reiner was one of the event's many guest bartenders, and, after her Modern Tiki session with Brian Miller (formerly of Death & Co, an East Village cocktail mecca), we celebrated Donn Beach's 106th birthday by taking a trip to Beach's grave at Punchbowl Cemetery (oh how appropriately named for Beach!). We shared a Zombie in his honor.
Reverse pairing at Beachhouse at the Moana.
Though the catamaran cruise was rainier than anticipated, Kyle Reutner’s rum cocktails were among the week’s best. In particular: Trader Vic’s Queens Park Swizzle, similar to a mojito, but with Angostura and lots of crushed ice, "swizzled" until super cold.
The reverse pairing at Beachhouse at the Moana featured some amazing sips and bites. Chef Will Chen created the food to complement cocktails by Southern Wine and Spirits' Chandra Lucariello. One favorite was the flat-iron taco with a bright chimichurri playing with the flavors in the Peter Piper cocktail, with tequila, lime, honey and red bell pepper poured into a glass rinsed with mescal. Also a winner: charred, candied bacon wrapped around chicken on a smoked-tomato relish, accompanied by a Mole Manhattan, a play on a Manhattan with chocolate and Mexican mole notes.
Suzanne Long and seminar attendees share a Scorpion Bowl
Suzanne Long introduced a variety of punches at her seminar, including a milk punch, a novelty to many of the attendees in the seminar. It sounds a bit iffy—milk mixed with cognac, rum, lemon and sugar, and then the curdled milk strained out—but the result is a clear drink with just a hint of richness and creaminess. Milk punches trace back to the 18th century in New England; Long served the Compleat Housewife Milk Punch from Mrs. E Smith’s Compleat Housewife, the first cookbook published in America.
Also check out the bartender competition gallery. Justin Park of Manifest won the pro division and Brent Nakano the amateur, though he looked pretty pro, seasoning the glass with lychee wood smoke and topping off his tequila concoction with a homemade pineapple and apricot soda.