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Tiki Central Forums Tiki Drinks and Food The straw question
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The straw question
cheekytiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 09, 2004
Posts: 1091
From: The Haole Hut, London, UK
Posted: 2009-03-22 08:13 am   Permalink

I'm not sure if the straw business is down to devolution, current trends or whatever, it seems more a matter of self control for most people.
You need a nice big mouthfull of most liquid substances to let the flavours and aromas do their thing, with a small bore straw I feel you don't get the full flavour and otherwise it just takes longer to fill your mouth.
Also do we know for sure that back in the HeyDay of Polynesian Drinks that there was any other choice of straw to be had?

[ This Message was edited by: cheekytiki 2009-03-22 09:26 ]


 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11104
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2009-03-22 11:41 am   Permalink

Interesting, I completely disagree. The thin sipping straw allows the concoction to slow envelop your tongue, letting the flavors dance on it. Drinking Polynesian cocktails from a regular party straw FLOODS your mouth with fluid, and fills it so you must gulp down. That's how I like to drink my beer, but not multilayered tropical cocktails. To me it's like the difference between dashing on a few drops of perfume or dowsing yourself in it: The aroma unfolds in a subtle manner, and does not knock you over the head.

I bet that subjective view has to do with early childhood experiences, and how one was nursed...


 
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cheekytiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 09, 2004
Posts: 1091
From: The Haole Hut, London, UK
Posted: 2009-03-22 3:58 pm   Permalink

When I edited my post is was to put in the bit about what straws may have been available back then
Considering this was back when most straws were probably of the waxed paper variety, could you get plastic straws in small and large bores.


 
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The Gnomon
Grand Member (7 years)  

Joined: May 01, 2007
Posts: 1290
From: MD-DC-VA
Posted: 2009-03-23 08:20 am   Permalink

Hollow stirrers used as straws force you to sip a drink slowly whether you want to or not. If you prefer to take bigger sips faster, you can almost hurt yourself straining to draw your drink through the stirrer. You should have the option of drinking it anyway you want. For me a hollow stirrer is nothing more than a cheap swizzle stick and I toss them immediately upon arrival as I don't care to swizzle anything I drink. When I drink anything that merits a straw, I want a straw, not a stirrer you can technically suck through.

 
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ZeroTiki
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Joined: Feb 02, 2009
Posts: 812
From: Rohnert Park, California
Posted: 2009-03-23 7:17 pm   Permalink

I think that some drinks, like Fogcutters & Mai Tais, taste better with straws. Other drinks can make due with generous application of the stirrer, to insure a flavorful blend throughout.

~Zero
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11104
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2009-03-24 2:47 pm   Permalink

Please let me assure you that I never aimed to tell anyone how they should enjoy their drink, I just like to theorize about forgotten traditions --and what this "forgetting" might entail --and to share MY personally favored way of indulging in these traditions.

And please, read the whole thread before responding, this is not a "Straw vs. Stirrer" thread. Or is it? The fact that the 5" short, thin cocktail straw is equaled with the stirrer by so many folks now points at the heart of the problem: Because they are called stirrers nowadays, folks take them as only that. Here is an interesting link to a professional bar supply company that offers them as bar straws --while they are labeled as stirrers!:
http://www.kegworks.com/product.php?productid=16774&cat=314&page=1

This is how the "forgetting" happens. And every little forgotten detail MIGHT have had an effect (like in this case on the quality of the drink experience, which then had an effect on Tiki culture) ...even if it is just a straw in a haystack

I took Cheekytiki's cue and looked up some cocktail history, which I had foolishly neglected so far...
Quote:

On 2009-03-22 08:13, cheekytiki wrote:
Also do we know for sure that back in the Heyday of Polynesian Drinks that there was any other choice of straw to be had?


....and came up with some interesting findings:

Of course, we have to start with the forefather, Donn Beach himself:



These menu illustrations, probably from the 30s, sport yellow straws, which could mean they originally were the real thing: Made from straw! So their thickness probably varied. While they do not look AS thin as the short cocktail straw I favor for my Mai Tai, they DO look thinner than today's common party straws.

And how about this old postcard:



The Zombie didn't have a straw? And the Pi Yi and the above Coconut had TWO! the reason for this might have been that if one straw got clogged with fruit meat matter, one still would work. But then, the Tahitian Rum Punch: TWO straws, very thin, and colored...

This is all conjecture, of course, and drawings are not very precise study material, so I searched for photos. This late 40s picture of some happy Hollywood types at Don's is of such bad print quality, it is hard to tell the diameter of the straws:



So back to illustrations, now during Tiki's heyday. Here is half a menu page from the Hawaiian Village Florida:



What a shock! The double straw set up dominates, albeit with somewhat-thinner-than-today's straws. So the sucker's "payload" might have equaled the party straw's. But Halt! This actually seems like the perfect way to satisfy the wants of the two different type of imbibers:
The lushes and "more is better" crowd could suck them down with TWO straws, while the cautious connoisseurs (moi) could use only ONE for their hummingbird-like sipping and savoring. Cocktail democracy! (The stripes on the straws could mean that these were the now discontinued PAPER straws)

Last not least, a photo page from Stephen Crane's Kon-Tiki menu (both of the above from "Tiki Modern"):



Clearly plastic straws, the double straw being the favored set up for bowl-type drinks. The pineapple has an extra thick one, for that chunky fruit meat. I still maintain that the straws here are slightly thinner than today's, and would have chosen only one for me --and one for my company to taste test.

(And now if anybody comes along again and says " I cannot believe that someone spends so much time and goes into this much detail about..." they are missing the whole point of Tiki archeology, and the humor inherent in it! )

[ This Message was edited by: bigbrotiki 2009-03-24 17:42 ]


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Chip and Andy
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Joined: Jul 13, 2004
Posts: 2177
From: Corner table, Molokai Lounge, Mai-Kai.
Posted: 2009-03-24 3:21 pm   Permalink

Quote:

And how about this old postcard:



The Zombie didn't have a straw? And the Pi Yi and the above Coconut had TWO! the reason for this might have been that if one straw got clogged with fruit meat matter, one still would work. But then, the Tahitian Rum Punch: TWO straws, very thin, and colored...



You are all forgetting one thing.... the straws are part of the garnish.

at least they can be. Look at the Rum punch, two straws pointing out in two directions, very nice looking.

There is another aspect to straws for this conversation..... Ladies.

Ladies wear lipstick. These days some men wear it too, but in the time period under discussion lipstick was limited to the ladies. Ladies are particular about their lipstick, and are constantly reapplying it. Don't believe me, watch one next time you are around them.

Straws allow a lady to enjoy her drink with a minimum of lipstick loss. Sipping from the side of a drink vessel will remove much more lipstick than your typical straw.

So..... straws should be included in your drink. You are not obligated to drink from it just because it is there. And straws should be treated as garnish which means they should get the same care and consideration as everything else going into the glass.


And, thanks to Google......
http://inventors.about.com/library/inventors/blstraws.htm

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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11104
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2009-03-24 3:57 pm   Permalink

Good point, and great history. But to reiterate:

This thread is NOT about STRAW vs. NO STRAW, it is not about STRAW vs. STIRRER, nor is it about straw color or material (material only in reference to diameter).
It is solely about the DIAMETER of the commonly used party straws today VS. the diameter of the straws used at the inception and at the peak of Polynesian mixology ---and the effect this difference might have on the taste experience.



[ This Message was edited by: bigbrotiki 2009-03-24 16:06 ]


 
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KuKu
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 07, 2008
Posts: 436
From: Santa Cruz, CA. norcal
Posted: 2009-03-24 4:47 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2009-03-24 14:47, bigbrotiki wrote:
Tiki archeology, and the humor inherent in it! )


And some folks just won't listen to reason...


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One day, there will be a cure for tiki,
That's the day I'll throw my rum away...



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Chip and Andy
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 13, 2004
Posts: 2177
From: Corner table, Molokai Lounge, Mai-Kai.
Posted: 2009-03-24 4:55 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2009-03-24 15:57, bigbrotiki wrote:
It is solely about the DIAMETER of the commonly used party straws today VS. the diameter of the straws used at the inception and at the peak of Polynesian mixology ---and the effect this difference might have on the taste experience.



Ohh..... that an easy one!

Straws were originally made of straw (duh moment), commonly from Rye Grass so the diameter was small, maybe half the size of today's common straw, or a wee-bit bigger than today's common sipper/stirrer.

In the very late 1800s some guy tried wrapping paper around a pencil to make paper straws (link included in earlier post) and they were 'well received' by the local drinkers. After some retooling of his factory, Paper Straws were all the rage! These straws were of a smaller diameter that today's typical party straws, mostly because they were made of waxed paper that was overlapped into spiral pattern and then cut. The inner-diameter of the straw was smaller because of the layers of paper.

Bendy-Straws didn't come around until the late 30's, which would be about right for the birth of Tiki Drinks, so I am sure they were used in many bars in many drinks. I haven't seen any pictures with bendy-straws so I am going to suggest simply that they weren't bent when the photos were taken.

Now, if you have ever tried to drink a milk shake through a straw you know two things.... first you probably understand slushy-freeze-brain, but that is a different discussion. Second, you understand that trying to suck a Wendy's Frosty through a straw risks turning your head inside out through your mouth.

Solution? Use TWO Straws.

How does this affect your drinking enjoyment, and thus answer the question at hand........

it doesn't.

The fact that you are drinking from a straw will have an effect on your drink.... the straw allows the drink to enter your mouth and hit the middle of your tongue first which gives the sour-taste-buds first crack at the drink instead of the sweet-taste-buds on the front of your tongue. Try it, you'll be surprised how you perceive the drink and what order the flavors come up.

The size of bore of your straw, however, will have little effect on the actual taste or enjoyment of your drink. Unless you are using a small-bore straw in a slushy drink, or a large bore straw in a pulpy-fruity drink. The first makes you work too hard, the second risks blocking he straw with the pulp.

I challenge each of you to make your next drink and try it with, and then without a straw.

Then! report back your findings.

[ This Message was edited by: Chip and Andy 2009-03-24 16:56 ]


 
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Jason Wickedly
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Joined: Jan 01, 2008
Posts: 704
From: LBCTIKI
Posted: 2009-03-24 5:06 pm   Permalink

I buy all my straws and umbrellas at Fart-and-Smile. Oops, I mean Smart-and-Final. They have every type and size straw imaginable, and boxes of drink umbrellas for about $4.00 for a box of 144. Sorry for you mid westerners and east coasters, you can only find Smart and Final on the west coast, but any restaurant supply type place should have them.

 
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Chip and Andy
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 13, 2004
Posts: 2177
From: Corner table, Molokai Lounge, Mai-Kai.
Posted: 2009-03-24 5:18 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2009-03-24 17:06, Jason Wickedly wrote:
I buy all my straws and umbrellas at Fart-and-Smile. Oops, I mean Smart-and-Final.



They are called G.F.S. in Florida.

And they don't have the umbrellas..... every kind of straw imaginable, including paper straws, but no umbrellas.
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11104
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2009-03-24 10:03 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2009-03-24 16:55, Chip and Andy wrote:
The size of bore of your straw, however, will have little effect on the actual taste or enjoyment of your drink.



Well, I politely disagree, but I will not endlessly repeat myself (like our president). Maybe its because I am not a fan of slushy cocktails.


 
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Chip and Andy
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Joined: Jul 13, 2004
Posts: 2177
From: Corner table, Molokai Lounge, Mai-Kai.
Posted: 2009-03-25 07:47 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2009-03-24 22:03, bigbrotiki wrote:
Quote:

On 2009-03-24 16:55, Chip and Andy wrote:
The size of bore of your straw, however, will have little effect on the actual taste or enjoyment of your drink.



Well, I politely disagree, but I will not endlessly repeat myself (like our president). Maybe its because I am not a fan of slushy cocktails.



It is a question of mechanics...... your drink is already mixed so a straw is not going to change any of that formula as it crosses the tongue.

You know, this is kind of like the Blue Curacao question..... Scientfically there is no difference, but the perception of difference can't be overcome or explained to everyone's satisfaction. Small-bore straws allow you to draw less liquid per drink therefore your tongue has less to work with. A large-bore straw allows more drink and therefore covers more of your tongue for the taste-buds to work with. Putting the 'wrong' kind of straw in a drink can cause drinking difficuly, however subtle it may be.

Lets leave it as Straws As Garnish. And Garnish matters.


 
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VampiressRN
Grand Member (7 years)  

Joined: Nov 23, 2006
Posts: 5667
From: Sun City Lincoln Hills (NorCal)
Posted: 2009-04-30 8:29 pm   Permalink

Of course after I originally read all this I ordered a variety straws so I can serve drinks properly. At the time I couldn't find any long straws but emailed these folks and they just responded with availability of 18-inch straws 200 for $11.95. Needless to say, I have stocked up. Yee Haw...I may serve a bowl at my bar in the future!!!

http://barsupplies.com/volcano-bowl-48oz-p-5224.html

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