Beachbum Berry's Latitude 29
Updated: Dec 14, 2021
A look at Latitude 29 during Sippin' Santa 2021!
I've made no secret of the fact that Jeff "Beachbum" Berry is partially responsible for my deep dive into the world of Tiki, tropical cocktails, and all of the associated accoutrements. As a result, going to The Bum's own bar, Latitude 29, is always a special treat. This year I also had the good fortune of arriving on the opening night of Sippin' Santa - The Bum's Christmas themed holiday extravaganza! For those of you unfamiliar, Sippin' Santa is a Tiki Christmas themed pop up that takes over about 30 different bars across North America. They all share a special menu and offer several Sippin' Santa themed mugs, glasses and Tiki bowls.
Unfortunately, I was on a work trip which already had me paying for extra baggage and looking like a pack mule so I had to pass on any of the special glassware. (full disclosure: I did find room for 2 liters of the Hamilton-Berry Zombie Blend Rum) The best bang for the buck was probably the Hot Tub Tiki Bowl. It's shaped like a hot tub with Santa and Rudolph sitting inside whatever concoction you despite to put in there. At $50 it may be the least expensive Tiki bowl I ever seen for sale at a legit Tiki bar.
While it's hard to skip on favorites from Latitude 29's main menu I felt compelled (and encouraged by the staff) to work my way through the Sippin' Santa menu instead. I launched into the evening with The Regifter, a long pull with Rhum Agricole and a house made pineapple-garam masala syrup. despite the exotic ingredients the flavor profile would have been quite familiar to anyone accustomed to Don the Beachcomber punches.
Next, I stepped up to the Christmas Eve of Destruction. And I do mean up. With overproof rum and a nutmeg syrup I was glad I didn't lead off with it. While it was my favorite drink of the evening, I think I would have blown out my taste buds before I ever tasted anything else!
Based upon multiple recommendations I had a bite to eat there as well. On a Tiki bar scale the food is excellent. On a, "Your in New Orleans and can choose anywhere to eat" scale it's a good value but let's be honest; you go for the drinks not the food.
After eating I wanted something a little milder so I went with the Kris Kringle Colada. It's basically a better balanced Piña Colada but as a dessert substitute it seemed like a perfect choice. However, this was the drink that surprised me the most. You would think that I would be the last to be impressed by a garnish, but The Bum taught me another new trick with this one. Instead of the expected pineapple and cherry garnish, on the Kris Kringle Colada they added a trimmed bamboo leaf. Now I am very familiar with bamboo products but for some reason I never thought to use one as a garnish. If you've ever bought raw bamboo the smell when you open the box is something else. It's somewhere between hay and an aromatic wood. Putting it against your nose while drinking adds a warm woody note that pairs perfectly with the coconut cream in this colada. I can't wait to try it with other drinks that use cream of coconut.
While I can't recommend Latitude 29 enough, you can get in on the Sippin' Santa scene as a popup at bars around the country. They've even provided a map of all the bars that are participating, so go and kick off your holiday season in style!