By Stef Schwalb
Whether poolside, on the terrace or rooftop, ’tis the season for tropical drinks and tiki cocktails. Nothing helps you get a handle on the heat better than cool, savory selections ranging from punches and margaritas to daiquiris and more; and under the guidance of 101 Tropical Drinks by master mixologist Kim Haasarud, you’ll learn the tricks, tips and fascinating facts (plus easy to replicate recipes) of 101 succulent cocktail creations.
This tantalizing tome covers the fruits, herbs and spirits that make up signature summer selections such as a Mai Tai and a Pina Colada, as well as innovative takes on the classics including a Black Pepper Mandarin Margarita and a Blackberry-Pineapple Sidecar. With a great rundown on rum styles and regions, plus other tropical ingredients and spirits such as Maraschino Liqueur, bitters and syrups, this fun, informative read is mouthwatering manual that will make you the most popular host on the block. There are also plenty of appealing photographs that definitely inspire you to get your drink on.
We sampled some of the goods and met with Kim at the book’s launch party hosted at Tommy Bahama Marlin Bar & Restaurant in midtown. The drinks were delicious! (The best we’d had that night after hitting a few other events that evening.) And it’s no surprise there, considering that Kim is the founder of Liquid Architecture LLC (www.liquid-architecture.com), beverage consulting firm that creates specialty cocktails for big-name clients including Tommy Bahama’s, Wyndham Worldwide Hotels, and Campari America. Excelling in “liquid cuisine” is Kim’s calling and her passion and dedication to her craft is inspiring – as is her use of market-fresh, high-quality ingredients. Even better? 101 Tropical Drinks is just one in a series of books Kim has authored. You can also enjoy her other literary liquid works such as 101 Champagne Cocktails, 101 Martinis, 101 Margaritas, 101 Sangrias and Pitcher Drinks, 101 Blender Drinks and 101 Mojitos. She’ll also be releasing 101 Shots later next year.
Ransom Wines & SpiritsThis young, ambitious whiskey has more character than most whiskeys 10 times its age! Ransom's distillers thought way outside the box here, and we think the result is one of the most fascinating youngsters on the market. Whipper Snapper is a blend of two whiskeys: One made from both malted and unmalted locally-grown barley, and another by re-distilling a Kentucky white corn whiskey to a high proof. These get combined, then split into a variety of barrels for aging: French pinot noir, new American oak and used American whiskey barrels. Ransom selects eight different barrels for each batch with an average aging time of one year, and blends them together for the final spirit. tip of the tongue Whiskey fans searching for something new will be fascinated by this one. We haven't tasted anything else quite like it.$36.00
Ransom Wines & SpiritsIt's alive! Ransom has brought Old Tom back from the dead. This gin is based on an old, practically extinct recipe from America's pre-Prohibition heyday, revived and developed with the help of cocktail historian David Wondrich, so you know it's gotta be good. The first time we took a sip, we were blown away by its malty, subtle sweetness and smooth vanilla notes picked up from barrel-aging. We can't stop talking about it (or drinking it) . Ransom's Old Tom Gin won the 2013 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, the 2013 San Diego Spirits Festival and the 7th Annual American Distilling Institute Judging. tip of the tongue We love this gin on the rocks with a lemon twist. This is the perfect gift for a serious home bartender or a whiskey fan that wants to try something new. Did you know? Gin can be infused with a wide variety of botanicals, but it MUST contain juniper berries, which are responsible for that distinct, piney, gin-y flavor.$44.00
Ransom Wines & SpiritsThis gin is an amazing blend of old-school and modern styles, harkening back to the gin first invented by the Dutch, called genever. Ransom's take displays the malty, hoppy aromas of the style with a more intense 14-botanical infusion - including Oregon marionberry and local hops. Distiller Tad Seestedt is known for his modern nods to classic spirits, always paying respects to history but putting his own spin on the flavors and concepts. Unsurprisingly, this gin won gold at the 2015 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. tip of the tongue Highly aromatic and nicely dry, this one's excellent for sipping neat or enjoying as part of a kopstoot, the Dutch version of "shot and a beer. Savor the botanical flavor combination, rather than shooting this gin in one gulp! DID YOU KNOW? Gin can be infused with a wide variety of botanicals, but it MUST contain juniper berries, which are responsible for that distinct, piney, gin-y flavor.$38.00