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  • Writer's pictureBamboo Sam

The Hipalicious

Jumping into another famous Tiki bartender's repertoire

Hipalicious cocktail with Tropical Cocktails book

In case you are reading this in the distant future (whether it be Utopian or Dystopian) I am writing this a couple of weeks into the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. Bars and restaurants are closed and most of us that can are working from home. First of all, I have to say that I'm really worried about those in the hospitality industries. No one knows how long this pandemic will last but I spent enough time in the restaurant industry to know that a bad month can put you out of business and forced closure equals a month worse than any I've ever known. So, I implore you to do what you can to help out in any way you can if you want that favorite (or best local) bar/restaurant of yours to be there when this thing passes. If they are still offering take-out then it's obvious that will help. In fact, I saw where the Texas Governor signed a bill allowing places that already have a beer, wine, or mixed drink license to serve those to go, so no excuse there! I should point out that if you are ordering take-out it doesn't mean you don't have to tip. Someone has to box that stuff up and check you out. If the dining room is closed they aren't getting tip from anywhere else and no one can make it on less than $3 an hour.

Now, for the good news. I am one of those people that constantly saves website addresses and links. I have bookmark tabs for my day job (reality capture technologies), music, 3D printing, and of course, Tiki stuff. This time in self isolation has allowed me to go back to those saved recipes, stories, images, books and such that I've been meaning to get to for quite awhile. One of those is the website of Kelly "Hiphipahula" Reilly, a LA based bartender that specializes in Tiki mixology. It's been great to be able to look at the accomplishments of someone with interest so similar to my own. It's inspiring to see how much more I could accomplish if I put in the time she has dedicated to Tiki drinks. While her website is chock full of beautiful images of her more than 80 original drinks, if you want to try them yourself you have to either book her for yourself. At least that's the way that it was. However, my return to her sight during this past week led to the discovery that she know has a book out containing most of her recipes!

Working with "Trader" Tom Morgan (with illustrations by Tikitony) they have put together an ode to the home Tiki bar with The Home Bar Guide to Tropical Cocktails. I will warn you that the images of the home bars shown in the book will make yours seem inadequate. Well, assuming you haven't dedicated >1000 ft² and several grand to yours. Maybe I should call them inspirational instead. Either way, the recipes are where it's at for me.

Not only do we have more than 150 drink recipes but these are mostly originals as far as I can tell. I get a lot of drink books and you typically get the same drinks over and over again with just a few new ones in each book. Being able to create a book with more than 150 drinks without needing to cover the Mai Tai, or Zombie, or Fogcutter is an insane amount of work and a welcome addition to my library. And like any good bartender wants, there are multiple indices sorting the drinks by dominant liquor, strength, and creator. As if that weren't enough they also have syrup and infusion recipes, a cross reference of drink ingredients to the cocktail recipes, suggestions on liquor choices set up in a "well" to "top shelf" system, and spirits primer. As long as the liquor (and my liver) hold out I'll be working through these recipes while we're all stuck at home. It seemed fitting to start with Hiphipahula's first signature cocktail, the Hipalicious.

The Hipalicious is a great drink with the classic Tiki drink profile that drew me to the art of Tiki in the first place. It does require dissolving brown sugar in lemon/lime juice which is something I've avoided in the past. Dissolving anything other than superfine sugar always lef me with too much grit so I tend to avoid those recipes. However, the Hipalicious uses dissolved brown sugar which seemed to work a bit better than granulated sugar (no grit!).


Source - Kelly "Hiphipahula" Reilly

Hipalicious in Drum Tiki mug
  • 1 ounce lemon juice

  • 1 ounce lime juice

  • 2 tbsp brown sugar

  • 1/2 ounce fresh orange juice

  • 1/2 ounce Gran Marnier

  • 2 ounces Appleton Estate 12 year*

  • Float of Lemon Hart 151

Dissolve the brown sugar in the lemon and lime juices. Then add everything else except the Lemon Hart 151. Add crushed ice and shake vigorously. Use a gated pour into a Tiki mug. Garnish is a lime wedge, pineapple chunk and cocktail cherry speared together with a paper umbrella.

*Bamboo Sam's customizations: I've tried this with lesser Appleton variations like the Signature and Reserve as finding the Estate Rare Blend 12 year can be rare indeed. I thought the Reserve made for a fine drink if you can't get your hands on the 12 year. In fact, any blended Jamaican that is not too pot-still funky would work.

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