Sunday, 20 July 2014

Paris - about Tiki culture and cocktails

As I have a passion for vintage clothing and lifestyle in general and my lovely man likes to create cocktails and has just discovered the rum drinks, of course the Tiki exhibition here in Paris at the Musée du Quai Branly was one of the first places to go. The exhibition gives a great introduction of the history of Tiki style as a Post-war escape to a dream world.

Tiki Pop
Returning home from World War II, many US-Soldiers brought with them stories and souvenirs from the South Pacific. The rise of the middle class as an economic force and the increasing affordability of travel, in particular the newly established air travel to Hawaii, raised the nation's interest in all things tropical and the Americans fell in love with their romanticized version of an exotic culture, where life is simple and joyful. Polynesian design began to infuse every aspect of the country's visual aesthetic, from home accessories to architecture.


exhibiton "Tiki Pop" at the Musée du Quai Branly
Main supporters of the Tiki culture were at the beginning the restaurant industry. Don the Beachcomber's in Hollywood, California, is largely credited as being the first tiki restaurant from which all other bars "borrowed." Victor "Trader Vic" Bergeron was a Donn Beach contemporary and the founder of Trader Vic's restaurant chain. Both created a variety of "Polynesian" dishes, including crab Rangoon and rumaki.

Don the Beachcomber
 Donn Beach, the founder of Don The Beachcomber, is also credited as having created the tropical drink genre. Donn was the first restaurateur to mix flavored syrups and fresh fruit juices with rum. These drinks were called Rhum Rhapsodies and made Don the Beachcomber's restaurant the hot spot for Hollywood elite and stars from the 1940s well into the 1960s. He is credited for having created some of the most memorable exotic cocktails such as the Scorpion and the Zombie. Among all cocktails the Mai Tai is considered to be the quintessential tiki cocktail. A protracted feud between Donn Beach and Trader Vic erupted when both claimed to have invented the Mai Tai.

Trader Vic's Menu
rum cocktail from Don the Beachcomber

Still on the Tiki wave, of course we wanted to finish the experience with a nice cocktail, I have done my research at home and realized that the cocktail bars in Paris are a relatively young phenomena, with the first creatives trying to establish a cocktail scene 5 years ago.

Sherry Butt Paris
My choice for a great cocktail evening was the Sherry Butt in the Marais quarter. We came on a relaxed Sunday evening and had a nice conversation with the bartender about everything related to make good cocktails, starting from the different ingredients and twists to famous classics.

The menu at Sherry Butt

After trying their delicious cocktails from the menu, we got some special creations by the bartender. As I have mentioned before, that my lovely man is on a little rum exploration, he got a twisted Mai Tai where the Curacao is replaced with Yuzushu.

historical Mai Tai

6 cl Jamaika Rum Wray & Nephew 17 years*
1,5 cl curaçao orange
0,75 cl orgeat
0,75 cl simple sirup
2 cl fresh lime juice

decoration: mint leaves
preparation: Mix all ingredients together with ice cubes in a shaker. Pour the drink in a pre-cooled glass with crushed ice. Top with the mint leaves.

*Since the rum originally was soon no longer available, Trader Vic replaced it later with half the amount of a different Jamaican rum and half the amount of Martinique rum.

the bar
I started with smokey whiskey and as the bar has an own whiskey menu, I got a twisted Penicilin cocktail with ginger and piment d'espelette.

Penicillin Cocktail

5,5 cl Malt Whiskey
1 cl galgant or ginger
1 cl honey
1,5cl lime juice

glass: tumbler
decoration: pinch Szechuan pepper or here piment d'espelette
preparation: Mix all ingredients together with ice cubes in a shaker. Pour the drink in a pre-cooled glass with fresh ice cubes. Top with the fresh pepper.

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