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Tiki Central Forums » » Tiki Events » » Other Events » » Tiki Group in NJ?
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Tiki Group in NJ?
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 10, 2007
Posts: 366
From: Koala Kabana, New England
Posted: 20 days ago; 08:28 am   Permalink

That perception may be driven by the demise of PKNY and other recent tiki ventures in New York? Doesn't make it true but if someone is writing an article about tiki bars in the city that's the easy story to write.


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Grand Member (8 years)  

Joined: Nov 26, 2005
Posts: 2828
Posted: 20 days ago; 09:18 am   Permalink

Pirate bartender is bringing Tiki back — one cocktail at a time
By Andy WangAugust 16, 2014 | 6:49am
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Pirate bartender is bringing Tiki back — one cocktail at a time
Brian Miller regularly dons war paint and a bandana — similar to Captain Jack Sparrow — when he makes Tiki drinks.
Photo: Gabi Porter
Bartender Brian Miller calls himself a pirate, and he looks like one, too, but he’s not sword-fighting for booty on a deserted island. For years, he’s been crusading for Tiki cocktails.ARTENDER
It’s not an easy fight. In recent years, tropical cocktails fell out of fashion, with city Tiki bars like Lani Kai and Painkiller closing. Even Hawaiian mainstays like La Mariana in Oahu often seem to be on the brink of sinking.
“Tiki has so many knives in its back,” says Miller, the head bartender at downtown’s exclusive, 12-seat ZZ’s Clam Bar (169 Thompson St.) and a fan of the tropical-drink tradition for years. “People say it’s all sweet, it’s all sugary, the drinks aren’t balanced, when actually it’s quite the opposite. These are really complex drinks; you can taste all of the ingredients. I’ve made Tiki drinks with gin, tequila, sake, Jagermeister and white whiskey.”
Now, Tiki is making a comeback, with top restaurants across the country adding tropical drinks to their menus, and Miller is the man to thank for the proliferation of Painkillers and Rum Runners.
His Tiki torch was ignited a decade ago when he took a trip to Hawaii, had some mediocre Mai Tais and realized he could do better. He seriously studied all the drinks created by Don the Beachcomber, the Southern California bar that invented Tiki cocktails in the 1930s, and, in 2011, started hosting a Tiki Monday at bars around the city. Now he’s looking to open a beachy bar of his own.
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The Montego Bay, a spicy and boozy drink.
Photo: Gabi Porter
“Brian is important to Tiki because he’s basically kept it alive in New York despite all the hardships,” says mixologist Paul McGee, whose Chicago Tiki bar Three Dots and a Dash was recently named Best New American Cocktail Bar at New Orleans’ prestigious Tales of the Cocktail festival. “When some of the bars folded, he was the one who was like, ‘No, it’s not dead.’ There’s no one in New York who works as hard as he does at it.”
Miller was also a big influence on Prime Meats’ bartender Garret Richard, who recently a started a monthly Tiki Takeover party
“I was really inspired,” Richard says. “Tiki wasn’t treated by Brian like Jazz at Lincoln Center. It wasn’t preserved in amber. It was allowed to grow and change. Brian wants to do new things with Tiki.”
At ZZ’s, Miller wears a sarong beneath a formal white shirt and jacket and slings upscale Tiki creations like the Pineapple — a gin, house limoncello and chamomile concoction served in a brass pineapple. But he says his most memorable Tiki moment behind the bar happened years ago.
He was working at Death & Co. when a friend, Tiki expert Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, came in. Berry had a proper Zombie cocktail, kept drinking and left the bar wondering where he even was. Which was the whole point.
“Tiki is about escape,” says Miller. “It’s about exotic locales.”
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The Flaming Zombie cocktail.
Photo: Gabi Porter

Here he is.
Looks like you can meet tiki folks at ZZ’s Clam Bar (169 Thompson St.)
Oh and that BATT event too.

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