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  • Writer's pictureBamboo Sam

2019's Holiday Drinks

Updated: Feb 14, 2020

Tiki drinks aren't just for Summer...




2019 was a momentous year for me as I finally launched Bamboo Sam's to the world at large. I would be remiss if I didn't take a moment to thank all of you who have visited and joined the site as well as those that have followed along on Instagram. I also feel the need to apologize for the lack of posts over the past few months. Mrs. Bamboo Sam¹ had a bit of a health scare this fall that consumed us both for a while. Thankfully, she's on the mend and I could certainly use a drink, so we're back at it!


The holiday season is upon us and for many that means parties and libations a plenty. However, Tiki drinks aren't exactly the first thing most people think of when it comes to the holidays. This makes absolutely no sense to me. First of all, Tiki is about escapism and there are more cold, wet, gray days of winter that have me dreaming of a tropical escape than all of my Summer afternoons combined. But maybe you love the holidays and are right where you want to be (good for you, BTW) and you just want to revel in the season! Secondly, we all know that holiday recipes tend to focus on certain flavors. Well, let's take a moment and think of what it is you think of as holiday flavors? My guess would be Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Vanilla, Cherry, Almond, Allspice, Brown Sugar, Heavy Cream, etc. You do realize that most of these are from the tropics, right?! I mean, we just made a list of basic Tiki ingredients minus the citrus! Although technically, citrus is harvested in the winter so it's not like you need to forego that if you want it. As a kid, I remember fresh oranges being a big deal at Christmas. But then again, I'm old.


So, when it comes to the holidays I tend to drift toward those Tiki drinks that substitute other fruits for citrus and those that lean heavier into spicy as opposed to sweet. To be clear, I don't mean hot when I say spicy. I just mean that the spices used in the recipe are more prominent than the sugar on the palette. Last but not least, my selections for this year reflect a new reality in entertaining; everyone seems to have some sort of dietary restriction. To address this, each of the drinks listed below is lactose free, dairy free, egg, and gluten free. If that ain't enough feel free to give them a finger (of rum, neat).

Lest you think my Tiki-Holiday connection is far-fetched, here's a link to a musical playlist to help get in the mood. Boston shakers make excellent percussion instruments should you want to play along!



Now, isn't that better? On to the drinks!




Dharma Bum

A warm drink for cold nights...

  • 3 ounces Tazo Chai tea concentrate

  • 3 ounces Silk soy creamer*

  • 1 1/2 ounces spiced rum²



Heat Chai tea and creamer in sauce pan over medium heat. Pour into a pre-heated coffee mug and stir in the spiced rum using a cinnamon stick. Garnish with a dusting of nutmeg and the cinnamon stick.


² A note on spiced rums: I once that Captain Morgan could do know wrong (despite him making me do so on various occasions). At some point I moved on to Sailor Jerry cause that's what the cool kids were doing. Now that I'm mixing Tiki drinks I find that I prefer to add my own spices and take my rum unflavored. But I think spiced rum works well in this drink. Currently I prefer the Cruzan spiced rum as it's not as sweet as the Cap'n and not as hot as Sailor Jerry. I've got a thing for the Golden Mean.


*Bamboo Sam's customizations - Substituting 1 ounce of RumChata (contains dairy) for 1 ounce of the soy creamer ain't a bad way to start your day...



Island Holiday

Source - Modern Tiki For that guest that wants a bit of a show...

  • 1/2 ounce lime juice

  • 3/4 ounce Cranberry Syrup

  • 2 ounce Aged Jamaican Rum

  • 1/2 ounce White Puerto Rican Rum

  • 1 ounce Midori

  • 1 tsp Allspice Dram

  • 1/2 ounce Cream of Coconut


Fill a rocks glass 1/3 of the way with crushed ice and add the cranberry syrup, allspice dram and Jamaican Rum (I prefer Appleton Estate or X/V). Separately, mix the cream of coconut and the white rum (I prefer Cruzan White), then add another 1/3 of ice to your glass and slowly add this to the drink so that it layers on top of the red mix. Finally, separately mix the Midori, and lime juice, top of the glass with crushed ice and layer this green mix on top. Garnish with cranberries on a pick.


Nerdy technical note: while served layered this is not a true Pousse Cafe as it is served on ice and designed to be stirred before drinking.


*Bamboo Sam's customizations - A little Allspice dram goes a long way. I prefer St. Elizabeth and I also prefer to use 1/2 tsp in the Island Holiday for a better balanced drink.



Toasted Almond

Source - Chilled Magazine A creamy chilled sipper that works for the lactose intolerant...

  • 2 ounces Aged Column Still Rum

  • 1/2 ounce clove syrup

  • 3 ounces vanilla almond milk


Shake everything with crushed ice and strain into a chilled rocks glass. Garnish with grated cinnamon and a cinnamon stick.





¹ for understandable reasons she wishes to remain anonymous. However, she won't answer to Mrs. Bamboo Sam either...

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