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  • Tiki Bandit of Frankie’s Tiki Room: Your Weekend Exotic Cocktail Recipe

    Posted on April 18th, 2014 "Tiki Chris" Pinto No comments

    tiki-bar-drinksI personally have yet to dig the scene at Frankie’s Tiki Room in Vegas, being a couple of thousand miles out of the area. But I’ve heard some swingin’ stories about this place, and one of its original cocktails,

    The Tiki Bandit

    The ingredients might suggest this drink is overly sweet and sticky, but give it a try – you’ll find the balance is quite nice. I didn’t have pineapple rum, and used Captain Morgan instead. Worked out very well.

    The Goods:

    4 oz. pineapple juicetiki-bandit-frankies-tiki-room-vegas-cocktail
    4 oz. ginger ale
    1½ oz. gold rum
    1½ oz. pineapple rum
    1 oz. blue curaçao
    1 oz. orgeat syrup
    1 oz. passion fruit syrup
    1 oz. fresh grapefruit juice
    1 wedge pineapple
    1 maraschino cherry

    The Works:

    Throw the pineapple juice, ginger ale, rums, curaçao, orgeat syrup, passion fruit syrup and grapefruit juice in a  shaker with ice and shake that baby up until she’s nice and chilly; strain into a cool Tiki mug filled with crushed ice. Garnish with pineapple and cherry, on one of those little plastic swords. An umbrella couldn’t hurt either. Cheers, kids!

    -Tiki Chris Pinto reporting from the casino at Pirate’s Cove Tiki Bar, Somewhere in Florida

  • MAD MEN Season 7 Premier: What you need, to watch the beginning of the end

    Posted on April 13th, 2014 "Tiki Chris" Pinto No comments

    mad_men_season_7_poster Tonight starts a bittersweet journey through the final 12 episodes of MAD MEN, arguably one of the best dramas ever to be transmitted over the airwaves. Sweet, because we get to enjoy another season of Don Draper bulldozing his way through life. Bitter, because it’s the last time we’ll get to enjoy Don Draper bulldozing his way through life. And to make it a little more bitter, AMC has decided to split the season in half: Six episodes will be aired this year, with the remaining six to be aired sometime next year. (Era-appropriate note: Cold war era audiences would not stand for such nonsense, as it was never a given that there would be a “next year”.)

    Matthew Weiner has given us a tiny glimpse into the very end. He recently told The Hollywood Reporter, “What has really been the pressure this year, no matter what happens, is that these people are going to end this season frozen in time. That’s the last time we see them.”

    But let’s not dwell on the impeding end. Let’s talk about how we can celebrate this fantastic piece of yesteryear, right now, in the present. So here are some Tiki Lounge Talk suggestions on how to make tonight’s premier a little more fun, and a little more exciting.

    Cocktails (of course): Martinis, Manhattan, Screw Drivers…the most popular drinks of the 1950s were also very popular at the end of the ’60s, but there are a few new ones that you can add to your menu, including…

    The Emma Peel
    The tough honey from The Avengers TV series earned her own cocktail. Just add a cherry to a champagne flute, mix 1 oz chilled cherry brandy and 1 oz chilled pineapple juice and top with champagne.

    Southern Comfort Manhattan
    Two oz So Co, one oz sweet vermouth and three cherries, on the rocks.

    The Hippie Cocktail
    1 oz. Gin, 1 oz. Peach schnapps, 0.5 oz. dry vermouth, 1 tbs. Grenadine, 3 oz. Ginger ale
    Put a half lemon wheel, half lime wheel, half orange wheel in a large old fashioned glass, and half fill with ice. Mix it up so the fruit is suspended in the ice. In a shaker add all ingredients except the ginger ale, with ice. Shake and strain into the glass, top with ginger ale. Garnish with a daisy.

    swanson-tv-dinnerDinner: TV dinners were as popular as ever in the late 1960s…possibly even more popular than the ’50s, as more people watched the tube and had less time to cook. I wonder if any of these still come in tinfoil trays?

    Attire: This is a big event, so you should be dressed for the occasion. Resist the temptation to throw on ripped jeans and a tie-died t-shirt. Believe it or not, people were still dressing up in the late 1960s. Most restaurants wouldn’t allow gentleman to dine without a jacket and tie, and many frowned upon pantsuits for the ladies. Business attire still meant black, blue or gray conservative suits for the men (even if they could get away with some colorful, double-breasted, wide-lapeled beauties at the track) and long dresses or skirts for women. Of course this was also the heyday of the Mod era, so if you’ve still got that Austin Powers costume you bought in 1998, break it out!

    1969-fashions

    Snacks: After the TV dinner, you’re going to want some ’60s style snacks to get you through the rest of the hour. If you want to be era-accurate, you just have to stick with the traditional things: Plain potato chips, corn chips, mixed nuts, homemade onion dip, melted Velveeta and salsa dip, Doritos (invented in 1964) and pretzels. Stay away from anything too modern like Bugels, or things that promise “extreme” flavors…although it was an era of extremes, they never called it that.

    For more reading, there’s a good, non-spoiler article on the Mad Men Season 7 Premier at The Hollywood Reporter.

    -Tiki Chris Pinto, reporting from the screening room at Pirate’s Cove Tiki Bar

  • Dig it, man…Bop (slang/jive) Dictionary from 1955, for cool kats (hipsters). Gone, man, gone.

    Posted on February 17th, 2014 "Tiki Chris" Pinto No comments

    Beatnik-3Hey kats, let’s take a gone history trip back to the double-nickle brights of the last century.

    (Translation: Let’s take a history lesson from 1955)

    Hep talk, Jive, hipster lingo…It all started with jazz musicians back in the 1920s and 30s. It’s generally accepted that “jive” started as a kind of code, especially to warn your fellow musicians about an impending police raid on the speakeasy you happened to be playing in that night. From there it took off into just a cool way for these kats (musicians) to differentiate themselves from the squares, and from there is took off into any USA culture click that considered themselves gone, out, way out, and in possession of a coolness that the cubes could never dig. Dig?

    Sent to me 20 years ago through a very un-hip but easy-to-use channel, “email”, this is a list of the hippest words with their American translation. I’m not sure, but I believe this dictionary was originally printed in Mad Magazine, c. 1955

    ABE’S CABE – a five dollar bill

    BIG GEORGE – a quarter

    BLAZE – to go

    BLOOD – wine

    BREAD – money

    BRIGHT – day

    BROWN ABE – a penny

    CHEATERS – eye glasses

    CHLOROPHYLL GEORGE – a dollar

    COOL – nice

    CRAZY – odd

    CRIB – house

    CUBE – 3-D square

    CUT – make fun of

    CUT OUT – leave

    DIG, TO DIG – to understand

    DUCE – a two dollar bill

    ENDS – money

    FLICKS – movies

    FLIP – react enthusiastically

    GONE – wonderful

    GREASE – eat

    HENCHMEN – friends

    HOLLYWOOD EYES – cute girls

    HUB CAP – important fellow

    JAMS – bop records

    JELLY TOT – young hub cap

    KAT – latest version of hipster
    Juke-Box-Tiki-Lounge-Talk
    KICK – thrill

    LATER – I’ll see you

    LAY DEAD – wait

    MAN – opening word when addressing a kat

    MAN, MY – friend, comrade

    MAN, THE – Stan Kenton

    NOD – sleep

    NOWHERE – condition of a cube

    OUT, THE OUTEST – best

    PLAYER – popular fellow

    QUIT, QUIT IT – leave

    RANCH – house

    RANK – stupid

    SCARF – eat

    SCROUNGY – bad

    SIDES – bop records

    SILVER JEFF – a nickel

    SILVER WING – a half dollar

    SLAMMER – door

    SONNET – radio commercial

    SPLASH – rain

    SPLIT – to go

    SQUAT – sit

    SQUARE – one who is nowhere

    STOMPERS – shoes

    STONED – ecstatic

    STROLLER – car

    STRUGGLE – dance

    THIN ONE – dime

    TICKS – minutes

    TUNES – bop records

    TURKEY – square

    WASTED – broke

    WHEELS – car

    WILD – nice

    YARD, A YARD – a hundred dollars

    Dig it how some of these terms are still cool today, like ‘dig’ and ‘cool’, along with ‘scarf’, ‘player’, ‘crib’ and ‘jams’. I also particularly dig that “The Man” is Stan Kenton (see previous post). Well, it’s a bop dictionary, after all.

    Compare to the 1958 “COOL” Magazine Hipster Dictionary, one that was more for the masses, not so much for Bop jazzers. Some common ground, of course, but a lot more words for ordinary things. Bop musicians didn’t need so many words. They said very little, saving their strength to play all those notes in their complicated Bop charts. Wild, man, wild.

    -Guest Post by Zoot Jackson, Gobble Pipe blower and swingin’ kat extraordinaire.

  • Remembering Stan Kenton’s Eager Beaver: The Song & The Drink

    Posted on January 31st, 2014 "Tiki Chris" Pinto 2 comments

    sheet music eager beaver stan kenton “Let’s take it from Bar 46, just the saxes. 1, 2, 1-2-3-4…”

    Swing back to a rehearsal hall in New York City, 1943. Those words, or something close to them were very probably spoken by the young bandleader as he coaxed his musicians into playing the lilting, modulating melody with a silky smooth finesse that would become part of the band’s signature style. The tune: Eager Beaver. The band: Artistry in Rhythm. The leader: Stan Kenton.

    “Eager Beaver” was a sophisticated, swinging “riff tune” that featured Kenton on solo piano, engulfed in a true jazz orchestration that set the band apart from the traditional big band sounds of Miller, Dorsey, Shaw and Goodman. It was a hit – Kenton’s first big one – with growling tenor sax solo by Red Dorris and a crazy, loud and high-reaching trumpet section. The song would become so popular that it would be part of the Kenton songbook until his death in 1979. A sleeker, cleaner, definitive version was recorded in 1956 featuring Maynard Ferguson leading those high trumpet notes, and Vido Musso laying down the swingin’ tenor solo.

    “Eager Beaver” laid the roots for Kenton’s “Progressive Jazz” style. Kenton and the band’s style was influential among musicians in the modern jazz, bop, west coast jazz and other styles that were forming in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s. While Kenton’s style and sound progressed, Eager Beaver remained an important and steady chart in the Kenton library.

    One of the things that always intrigued me about this tune was how flawlessly the arrangement combines the sounds of the saxes, trumpets and bones against a solid rhythm section. But the big things for me are 1) the tenor solo, and 2) the modulating ending.

    The tenor sax solo was kick-ass before the term kick-ass was coined. The 1943 tenor sax solo had a growling, modern sound that was at least 10 years ahead of its time, forming the basics of what would become the Rhythm & Blues – and then Rock ’n’ Roll sounds of the 1950s sax players. The 1956 version by Vido Musso went a step further, being cleaner, more sophisticated and unique in tone and composition.

    Now, the ending, that’s another thing altogether. As a young musician I tried desperately to get a copy of the arrangement to see how the modulations were written. But this was back in the 1980s, before the world was laid at our fingertips with the World Wide Web. I tried like hell to figure it out by ear, but it was beyond my ability.

    A few weeks ago, on a whim, out of the blue, I typed “Stan Kenton Eager Beaver” into the eBay search box. Hot damn, Sam…this arrangement featured here came up for sale, cheap. I got it, of course.

    Those of you who can read music can check out the Tenor and Alto sheets below. You can see how each verse at the end steps up, integrating with the next verse in such a fantabulous way that that the listener doesn’t even realize what is happening…they just know they are hearing something cool.

    For those of you who don’t follow sticks (notes), the best way I can explain what’s happening is that at the end, the melody “steps up” a note each verse, but in such a way that the last note of the first verse becomes blends in with the second, stepped up verse so you don’t even realize there’s been a modulation. Crazy, sophisticated jazz, man.

    Below are two videos of the riff. The first is a “soundy” from the early 1940s, giving you an idea of the original version of the song (it sounds like it’s been sped up a little in the video.) The second is the 1956 version, clean and cool, much closer to the way Kenton would have sounded live.

    The 1956 version of Eager Beaver

    Below here are the sheet music pages from the 1944 Robins Music arrangement. Follow along with the saxes at the end to dig the modulation.

    eager-beaver-sheet-music-alto-sax eager-beaver-sheet-music-tenor-sax

     

     

    You can see that his sheet music was well used; someone even added their own section at the tenor sax solo (underneath are the chord progressions for the tenor solo).

    This sheet music is also great because it features several ads to buy more sheet music. Talk about a captive audience!

    harry-james-trumpet-method-adTHE EAGER BEAVER COCKTAIL RECIPE

    There seems to be a cocktail recipe for every song title ever recorded. Eager Beaver has not been spared, but the recipe is kind of dull compared to the complexity of the song (It’s also probable that the cocktail was invented independently of the song, and refers to the person eager to complete a task, or a chick who is hot to trot, which no doubt is whom the song is named after.)

    - 2 oz rum
    – 3 oz coffee liqueur
    – 1 oz orange liqueur

    Mix everything together in a shaker with ice; shake and pour over cubes in a highball glass. To “jazz it up” a bit, use spiced rum, and garnish with an orange slice and cherry. Good stuff.

    Well, I hope you enjoyed this jazzy trip down a road that doesn’t get nearly as much travel as it should. I hope I opened some of you up to a cool tune that was recorded at the very start of the modern jazz era, and that it will inspire you to check out more by the master musician, Stan Kenton.

    -Tiki Chris reporting from the listening room at Tiki Lounge Talk

  • Your Weekend Exotic Cocktail – The HPNOTIQ Hurricane

    Posted on January 17th, 2014 "Tiki Chris" Pinto No comments

    hpnotiq_hurricane-400x500Certainly not a traditional exotic cocktail, but this drink does have the makings of new favorite. It’s blue, it has rum, it has a pineapple garnish…what more could you want?

    3 oz. HPNOTIQ
    1-2 oz. Citrus Flavored Rum
    Splash of Fresh Lime Juice
    Splash of Club Soda and garnish with a pineapple

    Pour the HYPNNOTIQ over ice in a stemmed rocks glass are highball glass. Gently add the rum and stir. Splash in the lime juice and club soda. Rim with raw sugar if you’d like, and garnish with a nice slab of pineapple.

    This simple recipe not only looks good, but it also shares most of its name with one of our favorite Martin Denny tunes, Hypnotique. Play the tune while you’re mixing the drink, and it will taste even better.

    Here’s Martin Denny…

    -Tiki Chris P. reporting from the Tiki Bar at Tiki Lounge Talk, the Blounge for swingin’ retro hipsters.