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  • Writer's pictureBamboo Sam

The Miehana

Updated: Feb 14, 2020

A Tiki Revival drink from the original revivalist



As we approach the July 4th holiday, many of us will be heading to the beach or boat or pool (or kiddie pool in the backyard) and there are few things better than a good Tiki drink to sip while you watch your friends and family show off this year's dad-bod. However, day drinking in the heat of July calls for some forethought.


First, you probably want to ditch anything with milks or creams in it. One can be okay but I'm always reminded of that scene from Anchorman where Ron Burgundy chugs away on some milk on a hot summer day in San Diego.

Secondly, you probably want to ditch the really high alcohol drinks like Zombie's, or most Planter's Punches. Once again, one or two are good but no one wants to take care of the guy or gal who's been at the pool drinking Zombie's for 8 hours.


So, we're looking for a flavorful, low-med alcohol cooler that has a complex enough flavor profile to remain interesting even after you've had a few. My choice this year is the Miehana. Never heard of it? As I mentioned in the tag, this is not an classic Tiki drink but one born out of the Tiki revival of the 1990's.


Miehana Flyer
Original Flyer for the exhibit by Sven Kirsten

In 1996 Kevin Kidney & Jody Daily created the Miehana: God of the Orange Grove Tiki as the logo for their exhibit on mid-century Polynesian Pop in Orange County, California. This was one of the first major events of the Tiki revival and it's amazing how many times I come across accounts from other Tiki aficionados who trace their interest in Polynesian Pop to the small cabal of enthusiast who contributed to this event. If you're interested, Kevin has a Flickr page with tons of images from the exhibit. It's full of some great imagery! At any rate, the exhibit was staged at the Anaheim Museum (which is the genesis of the drink's name) and was so successful they decided to make a Tiki mug out of the Meihana logo. According to Jeff "Beachbum" Berry this was, of course, done as an "offering to the god who had ensured their exhibit's success" They then asked Beachbum Berry to create a drink for the mug and in 1999 the Meihana was born.


But back to day drinking through the holiday. One other point I want to make about placing these Tiki drinks in our modern world; we need to talk about your Yeti tumblers (or Tervis if your old school or whatever it is now if you're reading this years from later). Tiki drinks that are served on ice change flavor a bit as the ice melts. A great Tiki drink takes this into account and will actually mellow into a better drink about midway through while still being good when you're finishing it. This means that the first couple of swigs can be strong to account for the ice melt to come. But if you serve it in your Yeti tumbler (which makes total sense as it's not glass and keeps everything cold) it takes hours to get any ice melt. Thus your drink stays at that "still too stout stage" for a long time. I recommend watering it down a bit before you pour it into the Yeti. If it's a shaken drink (like the Miehana) I shake with crushed ice instead of cubes as more melting will occur so that it's closer to the sweet spout when I pour it into the tumbler. Otherwise you can add a splash of water or try a lightly effervescent water like Perrier or San Peligrino for some added body.



Miehana Mug
A Miehana Mug

Miehana

  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice

  • 1 ounce fresh orange juice

  • 1 ounce unsweetened pineapple juice

  • 1 ounce Grand Marnier

  • 1 ounce gold Virgin Islands rum

  • 1 ounce coconut rum


Shake well with ice cubes and pour unstrained into a Meihana mug if you're lucky enough to have one, or a Tiki mug or, if all else fails, a Collins glass. Garnish with an orange wheel, a pineapple stick, and a purple orchid.

Sidebar- I strive for real ingredients whenever possible. This means that I am typically not a fan of flavored liquor like torched cherry rum or marshmallow vodka. In most cases when I want a flavor like coconut, I would add coconut milk, coconut syrup, or Coco Lopez. However, This is such a refreshing "thirst quencher" type of drink that the dairy-like mouth feel of most coconut products didn't work for me. So I've stuck with Beachbum Berry's original recipe calling for coconut rum. That being said, some coconut rums definitely taste better than others. I'd recommend Cruzan Coconut; it being Virgin Islands rum (to go with the gold) and more natural tasting than something like Malibu which adds a lot of sugar to the drink.

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