Grab your bongos, your best floral prints, and insatiable thirst for tiki cocktails: 320 Main’s annual Tiki Throwdown is back with “Enchanted Potions of Kill Devil Island!” One doesn’t need to pray to some hand-carved tiki god to attend, but doing so might help ward off any negative vibes brought on by tiki-torch wielding protesters in the news.
For the event, 320 Main owners Jason and Rebecca Schiffer transform their petite steak and cocktail eatery into an exotic tiki pop-up for the night, complete with a grass-skirt lined bar and classic exotica music spinning wildly on the turntable, somehow in perfect rhythmic-sync with the cocktail shakers.
Once again, Orange County’s best guest bartenders (listed below) are involved, each bringing their own tiki flair to the hut, all using a common spirit. Last time, smokey Islay Scotch was the base booze (Islay of the Zombies), and although I’m a huge fan of peet-smoked tropical delights, I’m happy to see the classics filling the well this time around: Appleton Estate Jamaican Rum and Wray & Nephew White Overproof are featured.
Each rum lends a unique backbone to any cocktail, and I highly recommend having a bottle of Appleton Estate rum at home instead of generic Bacardi, as I find that its fruity-molasses-spice oaky barrel base blends well with a myriad of fruity drinks. The other spirit, Wray & Nephew White Overproof lends a storm of sweet heat to any tiki drink, as it’s simply a distillate of sugar cane with nothing added. It’s so strong, some locals actually massage a splash on achy joints for relief. It’s also not uncommon to spill some out on a new building floor to ward off evil spirits.
Although American tiki culture is slightly rooted in Polynesian culture, most of the inspiration draws from generic island stereotypes and vacation nostalgia, starting back in 1930’s Hollywood by Don the Beachcomber. Modern tiki culture is alive and well today thanks to the craft cocktail movement, which continues to blossom like a giant hibiscus bush.
The Enchanted Potions of…Kill Devil Island happens August 28th, 5 pm, 320 Main is located at 320 Main Street, Seal Beach. Cocktails are $10.
Behind the bar:
Kelly Merrell – Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar ⠀
Matt Ellingson – Club 33
Emily Delicce @shrub.queen
Brittany Vanhooser – Royal Hawaiian
Matt “Rumdood” Robold – @rumdood⠀
Jason Schiffer- 320 Main @jason320main⠀ ⠀ ⠀