Rum was the Drink of the Day at the Tiki Oasis in San Diego

Crowd at Sip and Savor at the Tiki Oasis. Phot by Edward simon for The Los Angeles Beat.

Last weekend’s Tiki Oasis event in San Diego was a resounding event, with thousands of happy guests attending concerts, dances, car shows and more. The drink of the day, of course, was the Island staple, rum. Several symposia, rum tastings, tiki bar drinks and even a rum and cigar lounge highlighted the versatile drink. At the Sip’n’Shop, everyone got a chance to visit various vendors, from clothing to tiki mugs. Most of the vendors were pouring rum-based tiki drinks, while distilleries such as Deadhead, Lost Spirits, Mount Gay and Angostura sampled their different rums so the guests could compare them. Everyone was in a great mood, waiting in line for the next drink while talking to people in front or behind them about who had the best drinks or the best tiki glasses.

Mai Tai Bali Hai. Photo by Edward Simon for The Los Angeles Beat. Thursday night’s opening event at the Tiki-era Bali Hai Restaurant on San Diego’s Shelter Island, featured the Bali Hai’s famous Mai Tais. Guests had their choice of a buffet on the patio or dining in the Bali Hai’s restaurant upstairs. Generous pours of rum and exceptional flavor from light touches of fruit juice made this drink something that the crowds enjoyed waiting in line for. Several bars on the patio overlooking a marvelous view of San Diego Bay made this a great place to have a rum drink and start meeting people who were attending the Tiki Oasis. Everyone was dressed up and the stage rocked with great surfer rock and even go go dancers on the stage. With the plentiful rum, everyone was enjoying the evening.

Frozen cocktails drink symposiumIn the Frozen Cocktails symposium, Richard Boccato showed how classic tiki drinks such as the Pina Colada could be updated. By using fresh juices, flavor components such as fresh grated coconut and unique garnishes such as pineapple leaves, he created several updated cocktails for attendees to enjoy. As Richard explained the concepts behind the frozen cocktail, the enthusiastic crowd learned that a properly made frozen cocktail bears no relation to the sickly sweet drinks made with canned mixes. Instead, the balance of his drinks was perfect, easy to drink and making you want to enjoy another one. Richard also went into an area virtually no one thinks about, that of the role of the blender and ice in the drink. He explained how crucial it is to blend the drink right and how the water content from the ice is a critical component to the balance of the drink.

Martin Cate, of Smuggler’s Cove SF, a San Francisco bar dedicated to all things rum, led a discussion of the ‘Rum Revolution’. In it.he identified the growing awareness of high-quality rums as not just something to be mixed into a drink, but instead enjoyed as a sipping drink akin to a cognac or single-malt whiskey. Martin, who has lectured across Europe and the Caribbean on rums as one of the top experts in the spirit, led the tasting of several delicious rums as he explained what to look for and how best to enjoy some excellent high-end rums.

Ram Udwin mincing bitters. Photo by Edward Simon for The Los Angeles Beat. Ram Udwin, in his symposium ‘The Bitter Side of Tiki’, took the attendees at his symposium to a place many had not expected. Ram, an expert in not only bitters for mixed drinks such as Angostura and Peychaud, also is well-versed in making his own bitter blends. As the guests sampled several of his drinks, the fascination with how bitters can elevate the rums was apparent. The highlight was the final drink, a ‘Rum Old Fashioned’, which was easily the best drink of the four-day event. Smooth, with the bitters blending in to cut the richness of the rum just enough, this was a drink that highlighted what an adult drink should be. After the symposium, Ram explained about the resurgence of bitters in drinks. When asked if the public’s taste for bitters is changing, he said “Absolutely it is, but it’s happening in small groups. People who have been in this movement for a long time are like, ‘been there done that, it’s so passe’, but new people are discovering it every day and I think it’s growing”.

Mai Tai. Photo by Edward Simon for The Los Angeles Beat. Of course, not to be forgotten was the Crowne Plaza’s Island Sushi and Pupu Bar. The Crowne Plaza, originally constructed in 1954 as the Hanalei Hotel in the Golden Age of Tiki, was consistently full with people not only enjoying the excellent sushi but also the wide variety of rums such as San Diego’s own Ballast Point Rum. Tiki drinks abounded and most tables could be seen with at least one drink in a souvenir tiki glass or mug. Inside the Crowne Plaza, some of the original sights such as the waterfall and tiki construction could still be seen. Overall, guests were having a great time. To top it off, Saturday was National Rum Day. What better way to celebrate the holiday than a day full of rum?

Related Posts
Peach Proves That Nice Girls CAN Sing the Blues at Witzend in Venice
Some people adopt a kind of music because they like it. For others, it just seems that they are born with the music in them and their careers are just ...
The Standells: Larry Tamblyn is Still Rocking with ‘Dirty Water’ and Fresh New Tunes
Tiki Oasis, held in San Diego earlier this month, featured lots of great entertainment along with great rum, parties and seminars. The capper to the event was the performance of ...
The Slidebar Rock and Roll Kitchen in Fullerton: Great Rock and Delicious Food
As Neil Young said about the Sex Pistol's Johnny Rotten, “Hey, Hey, my my, rock and roll will never die”. Well, for any one who wants to see that local ...
Townhouse Saloon and Del Monte Speakeasy in Venice Bring the Roaring 20’s Alive with Repeal Day Festivities this Friday
A few months before the Repeal of Prohibition Amendment, the 21st Amendment, was ratified by Congress on December 5, 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a bill allowing the ...
Baby Doe and Otto Von Stroheim. Photo by Ed Simon for The Los Angeles Beat.
Tiki Oasis, the long running event built around music, rum and much much more, sets down on our planet from August 13 through August 16 2015 with the theme of ...
Gaby from Ink in LA to be pouring a special drink for PigOut 3.0
Gabrielle Miynarczyk was bartending at Los Angeles' acclaimed restaurant Ink, from Chef Michael Voltaggio, when  she did the TasteLA food festival last year. Bobby Navarro, founder of Inspire Artistic Minds, ...
Queen Mary’s Jack Daniel’s Barrel Series Dinner Last Night Was a Amazing Blending of Whiskey, Stories and Great Food
The 2014 Barrel Series at the Queen Mary in Long Beach last night as a sold-out crowd enjoyed the Jack Daniel's Dinner. Both the food, paired by Executive Chef Todd ...
Saint Martha's interior. Photo courtesy of Saint Martha restaurant. Photo by Mike Kelly and Ryan Phillips.
There is a lot of talk going around town now about Saint Martha, the new dining destination in Koreatown. Saint Martha is an intimate, 38 seat restaurant, located two blocks ...
Scenes from the Ventura Blues and Brews Festival
Sunday's Blues and Brews Festival in Ventura featured lots of great BBQ, plenty of good beer and some of the best blues around. The unique design of the Mission Park ...
Tiki, Tiki, Savvy: Ventura’s VenTiki Keeps the Tiki Torch Burning Bright
Tiki Bars are of course especially suited for beach towns and there are few as 'beachy' as Ventura. With barely 3 blocks from Main Street and the center of downtown ...
Peach Proves That Nice Girls CAN Sing the
The Standells: Larry Tamblyn is Still Rocking with
The Slidebar Rock and Roll Kitchen in Fullerton:
Townhouse Saloon and Del Monte Speakeasy in Venice
Tiki Oasis Conquers the Space Age with this
Gaby from Ink in LA to be pouring
Queen Mary’s Jack Daniel’s Barrel Series Dinner Last
Saint Martha’s Restaurant in Koreatown Dedicates a Special
Scenes from the Ventura Blues and Brews Festival
Tiki, Tiki, Savvy: Ventura’s VenTiki Keeps the Tiki
Ed Simon

About Ed Simon

Ed is a native of Los Angeles who loves food and food cultures. Whether he's looking for the best ceviche in Colombia, the best poke in Hawaii, the best tequila in Jalisco or the best Taiwanese Beef Roll in Los Angeles, it's all good food! He also loves a good drink. He's had Mai Tais in Hawaii, Bourbon in Kentucky, Tequila in Mexico and Rum in Jamaica. His wine escapades have taken him to Napa, Sonoma, the Willamette Valley and the Santa Ynez Valley. And he's had beer all over the world! Music is another of Ed's passion, writing and interviewing many classic rock, rock and blues musicians. Getting the great stories of road experiences from them is a particular delight. Traveling also fits in with Ed's writing, exploring all over to find the most interesting places to visit, even in out of the way areas.
This entry was posted in Cocktails, Events, Food, Restaurants, Southland Tales and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply