Posted on December 31st, 2011 No comments
It seems like just yesterday I was writing a Happy New Year post here under the swaying palms. 2011 went by pretty fast…maybe not fast enough for some of us kats! But it’s over now, just a few hours left as I write this post. This is definitely one of those years that needs to end with a big BANG and you can bet your bottom buck we’ll be doing just that.
Swingin’ in the New Year should be fun and full of music, dancing and booze. Just remember to play it safe, kids. You know I’m always hawking drinks on this page, as cocktails are part of what make living the Tiki good life so good. Drink up, enjoy ’em all ’til you’re as happy as a clam…just remember to do it right, and don’t do anything stupid like trying to drive, or ask your boss for a raise, or operate a steam-shovel while loaded!
Here’s a couple of my favorite New Year’s cocktails. One is full of wonderful booze, the other is the world’s greatest non-alcoholic cocktail for any aged partyer.
The Frozen Banana Banshee
I’ve featured this krazy cocktail a few times already here at Tiki Lounge Talk, but I can’t get enough of it. I had my first Banana Banshee at a New Year’s Eve Party in 1977. It was all the rage in the mid 70s in Philly, and it just seemed to fit perfectly with the disco music and white polyester suits. Later I found out it was a much older recipe, having a good run in the 1940s and 50s but without the ice cream. Either way, anything with bananas in it is OK with me for the TIKI BAR!
Ok, I wasn’t old enough to drink in 1977, but it was my Uncle’s house, at his swingin’ basement bar, and he made one with less alcohol in it just for me. I’m old enough to enjoy the full hit of booze now, so here it is:
2 oz Creme de Banana
2 oz Dark Creme de Cacao
4 oz Meyers Dark Rum
2 oz Coconut Milk
1 Large Banana
5 Scoops Vanilla Ice Cream
1 Cup Ice
Throw all ingredients in a blender and blend on high, in 5 second bursts, until the ice is crushed and the drink is thick and drinkable (don’t liquefy it trying to make it smooth). Garnish with a pineapple wedge, a cherry and if available, chopped fresh coconut. Don’t forget the umbrella. Makes about two tall servings.
The Original Shirley Temple Cocktial
Like everything else in the world, good old fashioned drink recipes get changed and updated until they are unrecognizable. I’ve seen some kookie variations on this non-booze drink, but the original is still the best…for any age.
Fill a highball glass half-way with ice cubes, and add the ginger ale until almost full. Add about two tablespoons of grenadine, drop in a couple of cherries and stir. If you don’t have grenadine the cherry juice is just as good, maybe better. Everyone has their own taste when it comes to how much cherry flavor to add, so start with the two tablespoons and add a teaspoon at a time until you dig it. That’s it!
New Year’s in South Florida
While the rest of the country is enjoying the freezing cold, bundled up in heavy coats and scarfs as they swing down to their NYE party, we in SoFla will probably be wearing Aloha shirts and short skirts as the temperature today is already in the high 70s. This means there will be a lot of outdoor fun, including fireworks, concerts on the beach, booze cruises, and lots of bar hopping in Fort Lauderdale and Miami. There’s nothing quite like toasting the new year in 70° weather, on the beach, under a palm tree.
This year the little lady and I will be celebrating with some friends at a good old fashioned house party, one of our favorite ways of swingin’ in the New Year. One thing we haven’t done, which is on the list, is celebrating New Year’s Eve in Key West. I have a feeling that Duval Street would be more fun than barrel of monkeys at the turn of the year!
Happy New Year from Tiki Chris, and the whole Tiki Lounge bunch – Colleen, our pooch Cookie, the cats, the birds, the ’53 Chevy and lizards that live on the lanai.
Here are some last minute ideas for an Atomic New Year’s Eve Party!
Posted on December 30th, 2010 No comments
Happy New Year!
from Tiki Chris, Colleen, Tiki the cat, Cat the cat, the parrots, Mo and all these foster animals hanging around!
You probably recognize this post’s title as a song title, the song written in 1947 by Frank Loesser (of ‘Guys and Dolls’ and ‘Heart and Soul’ fame). It’s been recorded hundreds of times by nearly every pop singer of the golden era, from Sinatra to Ella, and is still being covered in our era by notables such as Harry Connick Jr. and, as the video below shows, Diana Krall.
If you’ve read my posts here or at The Retro Tiki Lounge on Facebook, you know I’m a big Diana Krall fan. She’s got that perfect combination of true jazz soul, real talent, a velvet voice and looks to match. She is, in a word, a dish. She’s playing the Broward Center for the Arts (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) on February 5th, but at $93 to $700 a ticket, I think I’ll stay home and watch the chick on line. Actually, for 500 clams I could probably bribe the security guard to get me to have a drink with her backstage. Krazy ticket prices. Remember when it cost 50 cents to see Frank Sinatra and a movie too on Steel Pier? No, I don’t either. But those were the good old days. (continue to see more videos) Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on December 27th, 2010 No comments
For our last Mod Movie Monday of 2010 I thought I’d throw in a New Year’s flick that everyone loves. One of the last of the great Rankin/Bass stop-motion animated specials from the golden age of animated toys, here is
from 1976, featuring Red Skelton, Frank Gorshin, Morey Amsterdam, Paul Frees and Billie Mae Richards as Rudolph.
Father Time jets a message off to Santa…Happy, the baby new year, is missing…and if he’s not found by midnight on New Year’s Eve, it will stay the old year forever! Now, I don’t think there are too many people out there that were keen on living 1976 over and over again. Maybe 1956. Anyway, you see the problem. Snow, fog, etc etc…Rudolph is called into action to find the baby new year. Crazy time-related characters and that great old stop animation make it fun post-Christmas flick.
Whip up a cup of hot cocoa (maybe add some Kaluha to it) for this show. And chow down on your leftover Christmas ham and cookies too.
Oh, and by the way swingers, starting next year we’ll have something new and fun for Mod Movie Monday!
-Tiki Chris reporting from under a pile of Christmas gift wrap next to the Tiki Bar at Tiki Lounge Talk.
Looking for a Fun Tiki Party for New Year’s Eve? If you’re in California, go to Don The Beachcomber’s Waitiki!Posted on December 4th, 2010 No comments
Don the Beachcomber Presents WAITIKI
A Festival of Music and Cocktails
December 29 – 30 – 31, 2010
Being a Floridian, I’ve never been to Don the Beachcomber’s (Haven’t even been to CA yet, can you dig it?) but I can tell you, they come very highly recommended. And with the music of the WAITIKI 7, I have a feeling this is going to be one swingin’ shindig. Here’s the lineup:
Wednesday, December 29
“The Jazz Sides of Exotica”
with the classic WAITIKI Quartet.
Thursday, December 30
“Coronation of the Voodoo Masters”
The WAITIKI 7 with Robert Drasnin & Sherry Shaoling
Friday December 31 New Years’s Eve
“The New Sounds of Exotica”
The WAITIKI 7 with Combustible Edison Alums
Brother Cleve and The Millionaire
You can buy tickets separately for each event. For more info, visit the website at http://donthebeachcomberpresentswaitiki.com/
Here’s the WAITIKI 7 with “Rendezvous in Okonkuluku (a.k.a. ‘Das Knaben Wundertiki’)”
-Tiki Chris Pinto reporting from poolside at Pirate’s Cove Tiki Bar
Posted on December 30th, 2009 11 comments
This is a repost from a long time ago…it just works so well for New Year’s Eve, I had to repost it. Notice how a lot of New Year’s decor is reminiscent of the 1930s, 40s & 50s? With Art Deco styling and visions of cocktails? No holiday conjures up images of the good old days of Champagne Cocktails like the party to end all parties, New Year’s Eve.
Ah, the ’50s, a time of diverse cultures, Rock ’n Roll and Jazz living side by side, greasers and swingers intermingled in the same cities. While the rock ‘n rollers were drinking Pabst and dancing to Bill Haley and the Comets, the cool crowd…the jetsetters…the swingers…were sipping Manhattans, dressed in evening gowns and sharp tailored suits, dancing cheek to cheek to Ole Blue Eyes and Nat King Cole, or just conversing with Stan Getz or Martin Denny in the background. Here’s how to throw a cocktail party, hi-ball style…
The cocktail party. Suave, continental, the utmost.
Today’s cocktail parties are but a remnant of the original, sophisticated gatherings that grew up in the ’20s and ’30s and reached mature perfection in the ’50s. The music is different, the dress code is much less formal, and even the drinks are…just not the same.
But it doesn’t have to be that way, does it? With a little imagination and a few bucks, anyone can reach back to 50 years ago and pull the elegance and glamour of a real cocktail party into the present.
“The best way to wreck a party is to turn on the lights”. Atmosphere is everything, and before you buy your first bottle of Cointreau or open your first pack of swizzle sticks, you’ve got to get the mood right. Dig this: Mood = Lighting. Simple as that.
To create the proper atmosphere, you need the proper setting, and the most important part of that setting is the lighting. Experiment a few evenings before the party with different light combinations. Keep the lights low. A good rule is people, after their eyes adjust, should be able to read their watches, but have to get close to see the color of the eyes of the person in front of them. This makes for a much more intimate, social mood. Avoid direct overhead lights, unless you have a dimmer. A small light at the bar to see the bottles is good, as long as it doesn’t stream out and glare into the room. Colored bulbs can do wonders; blues and greens are very nice, and create a mysterious, vintage feel. Reds tend to make everything look like a bordello, so unless that’s the look you going for, shy away from red. Candles can create a nice effect, but remember two things: First, too many candles can create too much light, actually spoiling the mood, and second, in the Atomic Age, candles were considered quaint (or antiquated)…A true Atom Age party would use the keenest and most up-to-date electronics, even for lighting (which also means if you have special effect lighting, such as ultraviolet or image projection lights, using them sparingly can help create a retro atmosphere). A very cool effect is to have colored bulbs low to the floor, behind furniture shining up, to give it a sort of “glow” in the background. And of course, a lava lamp can’t hurt…http://www.spencersonline.com/decor_lighting_lava-lamps/. Oh, and by the way, the perfect time to start a cocktail party is 8:30pm. Not 8, not 9. Expect many of your guests to arrive at exactly 10:10.
The Decor & Party Favors
In the old days the decor was pretty simple…black and white streamers, balloons, and table cloths with pictures of the baby New Year. These days you can get a couple a zillion different gimmicks and ideas from the party stores. Silver mylar balloons add a nice touch, as do silver and black fringe. Plastic party fedoras and tiaras are inexpensive, and make great hand-outs. Black and silver noisemakers will pull it all together. Don’t worry if you don’t have enough for everyone…they’ll figure out a way to make noise.
The Dress Code
An essential part of the perfect cocktail party is what your guests look like. Let’s face it, jeans and sweatshirts just won’t cut it. You can be as formal or informal as you like, but whatever you decide, insist your guests dress the part. It will probably be difficult and annoying to your guests to have the wear evening clothes, ties, etc. But they should at the very least dress as well as they would for a wedding. Dresses for the ladies, sport coats for the men. If you’d like, get them excited about dressing the part by having a ‘best dressed’ contest with the winner getting a bottle of champagne.
Let’s be Frank…this is a ’50s cocktail party. Stick to the right kind of music. Since you have a couple of decades and several styles to choose from, it would be incredibly cool and mix a few together…Sinatra, Nat Cole and Billy Holiday, Lester Young, Stan Getz and Miles Davis, Martin Denny, Esquivel and Charlie Parker. The “Ultra Lounge Series” of CDs covers a lot of the tiki-inspired music of the era, real bachelor pad stuff. The Peter Gunn soundtrack has a lot of great cuts too. Don’t play anything corny like Percy Faith or Lawrence Welk, and stay away from Rock ‘n Roll, even the old stuff. The music is for background only, or slow dancing, and if anyone complains, call them an uptight square and hand them another drink. http://www.ultralounge.com/
Turn off the Tube, unless it’s to watch the Ball drop in Times Square
Remember, TV was not the center of attention in the Atom Age. The TV would never be on at a cocktail party. If you absolutely must have the tube on, consider playing DVDs of old movies or TV shows, such as The Malteze Falcon, The Peter Gunn series, Bell, Book & Candle, etc…or of course, Ocean’s 11.
Since this is going to be a New Year’s Eve party, you absolutely MUST have champagne on hand. Get the good stuff if your guests actually like to drink the stuff. If not, $6 a bottle toasting champagne is quite acceptable…just don’t let your guests see the bottle, that’s tacky. Also consider serving Champagne Cocktails, a very sophisticated drink from a bygone era.
You can’t force your guests to drink Side Cars and Singapore Slings, but you can try! Look up three or four old school drink recipes, and get familiar with making them. When your guests ask for the usual vodka and cranberry, offer them Vodka Collins instead. Or a Tahitian Sunset. Or maybe a Stinger. But don’t be too pushy…if they really want that Crown and Diet, let them have it. After all, they’re your guests, and you want them to have fun.
It’s a good idea to try to find out ahead of time what people will be drinking. I’ve found the best bar set up consists of a lot of vodka, one Crown, one Jack, one Captain, one tequila and a bunch of fruit juices, plus coke, diet coke, seven up and a bottle of seltzer. If people ask if they can bring something, I tell them they don’t have to but (whatever you’re lacking) would be great. And I never buy beer…someone will always bring it, and if not, someone will go get it. Just make sure you have a couple 5 lb bags of ice. Oh, and a few lemons, limes, and cherries should be enough to get you through the night, unless you’re incredibly detailed about your garnishes. Then go the whole route with cocktail onions, olives, oranges, pineapple, etc.
Someone once gave me a great book with cocktail recipes: The Great Tiki Drink Book. Found one here: http://www.amazon.com/Great-Tiki-Drink-Book/dp/1580084052
The fare served at a cocktail party can vary from simple snax to extravagant hors d’oeuvres. Just remember, once the party starts, the last thing you’re going to want to do is cook. Plan a menu ahead, taking into account the number of guests, the time of year, and the occasion itself. Stay away from anything soupy or glorpy…no chili, stew, or beef-a-roni, kids. If it needs a fork or spoon, forget it.
No matter what the occasion, you’ll want simple finger foods that can be made in advance. Cocktail wieners are a sure-fire hit. Cheeses cut into one inch cubes, arranged with crackers and pepperoni is always popular. Frozen mini quiches are quick and easy to make, too. Put several small bowls of chips, dip, and nuts around the different rooms. If you’re having an informal friend and family affair, onion dips, mini hot dogs, or a large (6’ or longer) sub cut into small pieces is acceptable, but if you’re having a sort of “singles” get-together, stay away from anything with onion, garlic, etc. Don’t serve anything that can spill easily, and never…NEVER…serve anything out of a can (Except canned fruits or fruit cocktail).
A chocolate fondue fountain is a nice modern touch that seems old fashioned, too. They’re inexpensive and easy to use. http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/product.asp?order_num=-1&SKU=16035785
Don’t underestimate the power of a good old fashioned conversation piece. In the ‘50s, this could have been anything from a piece of avant-garde art, to an antique cigarette box, to a rare book. Today things aren’t too much different…art of any kind, particularly originals, will always catch people’s attention. Antiques today can also include collectibles from the late 20th century, including ‘50s bar memorabilia (I have a few goodies myself that always get a laugh, including VIP matchbooks…Very Important Places…gag advertising matchbook covers denoting various brothels, flophouses, sailor saloons and other funny establishments). And If you don’t have art or collectibles, you still don’t have to go out of your way to find interesting things. Have an old photo album with you in your younger days? Bring it out. Play a musical instrument? Put it on display. Even a few Playboy magazines placedon the coffee table, in the right company, can be a fun way to spice up the Tiki talk. Of course there are some of you who just don’t have anything “conversationally”. When all else fails, hire a stripper to jump out of a cake. Need ideas? http://ebay.com, search “retro”
The mood is set, the lights are low, a Les Baxter arrangement is lilting out of the hi-fi, a pitcher of cold Martinis sits on the Tiki Bar, and you look sharp as a tack in your white tux or black evening gown. The first guests have just rung the doorbell. The time has arrived. Sip your Martini, take a deep breath, and get ready to have gas, baby!
I’m gone…catch you cats on the flip side…