If you were a kid during the 90s then you probably remember those hot vacations when your parents would imbibe in happy hour and your mom would get that look of total satisfaction on her face when half a coconut would appear filled to the brim with rum, a big slice of pineapple, and two colourful mini umbrellas.
Fast forward to your own university days. If you went to the University of Calgary then you probably spent some time at the dive bar/tiki room known as the Drum and Monkey; the place where they serve cheap rum punch that’s probably two-thirds Blue Curacao liqueur. No matter how bad those fishbowls made you feel, you’d return religiously to indulge.
There’s something that people just love about tiki bars and cocktails, and why not? Who can say no to sucking back a few booze-heavy bevies that instantly make you feel like you’re on vacation? For anyone living in North America, it’s arguable that tiki bar culture is about as recognizable and ingrained as Santa Claus or the Pepsi/Coke Challenge.
According to many online sources, the tiki experience is really just about dipping into that nostalgia and feeling like you’ve been transferred to some island paradise for a few hours. It’s escapism with a big wedge of fruit on the side.
By now, chances are you’ve outgrown your love for the Drum and Monkey and the stuffed blue marlin that still hangs behind the bar. But If you’re dying to get in on the tiki experience this summer, you can take advantage of Dominik Aschauer’s new drink list at Cilantro. In an attempt to move away from the low-grade and sickeningly sweet Daiquiris and Pina Coladas that you’d find on typical happy hour lists, Aschauer has created a cultural assortment of drinks for your sipping pleasure with the intention of enlightening your senses, loosening your tie, and carrying you off to another time and place.
For all you die-hard lovers of the tropical cocktail classics, you’ll want to order the Come at Me Bro made with several ounces of Diplomatico Rum. This will definitely get the party started. To pair with this particular drink, house-made cardamom honey bar nuts are available courtesy of Sous Chef Josh Cocca.
If you’re still in search of something with a good kick of rum, the Tobacco Vanilla cocktail blends Cilantro’s house-spiced rum with a dash of honey and fig jam that will delight your taste buds.
And for those of you looking for a little more adventure, the aptly named Parisian Geisha will seduce you with its mixture of tea syrup, Woodford Reserve bourbon, lavender bitters, fresh raspberries and edible rose petals to cap it all off. This is one for the end of the night when the lights get turned down. Sipping on a Parisian Geisha might not make you feel like you’re drinking on the beach, but you’ll certainly feel like you’re far outside city limits.