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
A nice bench for sitting, painted by a guest at Seoulmate
Some fusion cuisines just are weird and some are nothing but inspired. One of the inspired fusions is Korean and Mexican. On the surface, it seems to have nothing in ...
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 ...
It's hard to beat eating in a place that makes their own sausages. Photo by Edward Simon for The Los Angeles Beat.
Having lived in Redondo Beach for many years, I found that there was a great selection of interesting places to shop and eat there. One of my favorites, El Gaucho ...
Moscow Mules and the Ginger Beer Revolution, Part Two: The Taste Tests
In part one of this report, Chris Reed from Reed's Inc. spoke about ginger beer, its history, Reed's creation of their ginger products, why ginger is special and what the ...
Upcoming Brew Ho Ho Starts Off the Beer Drinker’s Holiday Season Right
As any one knows, beer and ale drinkers are always looking for a holiday to hoist a glass. So, coming up on Saturday, December 13 at the Anaheim Phoenix Club ...
Tiki Drinks and Culture Make for a Fun Weekend at San Diego’s Upcoming Tiki Oasis
Rum has been a big part of several cultures for many years. Starting in the 1600's, rum was a regular part of any sailor's ration in both Navy and merchant ...
Richie Onori talks about Sweet and the Rockers Against Cancer 3 Benefit Show Tomorrow
How many people can honestly say they've never heard these lyrics? And the man at the back said everyone attack And it turned into a ballroom blitz And the girl in ...
Johnny Echols of ‘Love Revisited’ Talks About Himself and His Music From the ’60s Until Now
Johnny Echols knew from a young age that he loved music. When he was young, his parents, along with his childhood friend Arthur Lee's parents, moved to Los Angeles where ...
The Coaster Show Highlights the Best Art On A Beer Coaster
Who hasn't sat at a table, taken their beer off of a coaster and grabbed a nearby pen to doodle on the coaster? Most of us have, with varying results. ...
Le Reverie’s Allie Jorgen Talks About Their Music and the Upcoming Rockers Against Cancer 3 Benefit Show
Allie Jorgen was sitting in a club when what can only be described as a moment of Kismet occurred. “This particular situation came together in 2010, the drummer and I ...
The Korean burrito at Seoulmate in Long Beach
Townhouse Saloon and Del Monte Speakeasy in Venice
El Gaucho Meat Market: A Great Taste of
Moscow Mules and the Ginger Beer Revolution, Part
Upcoming Brew Ho Ho Starts Off the Beer
Tiki Drinks and Culture Make for a Fun
Richie Onori talks about Sweet and the Rockers
Johnny Echols of ‘Love Revisited’ Talks About Himself
The Coaster Show Highlights the Best Art On
Le Reverie’s Allie Jorgen Talks About Their Music
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