As a general rule, I am a huge fan of tiki drinks. Like many people, I had only ever seen tiki drinks in movies or on TV. I had my first actual tiki cocktail when I was living in NYC, at a little bar called Milk & Honey. If you’ve heard of it, you’ll certainly know that it was one of the most influential bars in the 2000’s. It’s owner, Sasha Petraske, opened the bar on New Year’s Eve, 1999.
Sasha was at the forefront of the classic cocktail revival, and Milk & Honey has been the inspiration for a great many “speakeasies” that have opened since its opening. This tiny little bar was like stepping back in time, with the velvet curtains, the worn wood floors, and Sasha himself clad in vintage attire. He was soft-spoken and kind, and excited to share his knowledge with anyone who was willing to listen.
There was no menu, so he would ask what kinds of drinks you typically enjoyed and what flavors. He suggested a Queen’s Park Swizzle, and to this day, it is still one of my favorite cocktails. It’s simplicity and aesthetic gets me everytime. If you haven’t had one, I hope that you’ll seek one out and give yourself over to the magic of its color layers and refreshing flavors.
As this is a whiskey blog, you may be wondering how whiskey relates to tiki. And, you’re right, there aren’t that many whiskey cocktails in the tiki lexicon. The majority of them come from the 50’s and 60’s, most notably, the Eastern Sour, and the Western Sour. The Eastern Sour was a Trader Vic creation, and is essentially a tiki twist on a whiskey sour made with bourbon, orange juice, lemon juice, orgeat, and demerara syrup.
The Western Sour comes from Vic’s direct competitor, Stephen Crane’s Kon-Tiki restaurant chain, and contains bourbon, white grapefruit juice, lime juice, falernum, and demerara syrup. They are both delicious drinks, though I’m partial to the Eastern Sour’s flavor profile. I wanted to take the best of both drinks, and add a little twist. I ended up with a delicious, nutty combo that’s perfect for the warm weather of August. I hope you’ll enjoy shaking this one up, as well as sipping it.
East Meets West Sour
- 2 oz Bourbon (I used Elijah Craig)
- 2 oz Orange Juice
- 3/4 oz Lime Juice
- 1/4 oz Nocino (I used New Deal, a wonderful local Nocino)
- 1/4 oz Orgeat
- 1/4 oz Demerara Syrup
Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into cocktail glass over crushed ice. Garnish with a lime wheel, edible flower, and grated nutmeg. An orange slice or other citrus will work too, just make it pretty!
Emily is a bit of a Jane of All Trades. She started her career as an opera singer in NYC, and over time gravitated to the Food & Beverage Industry. Over the span of her professional life she has performed at Carnegie Hall, founded her own Whiskey Society, represented numerous...