According to an unofficial poll recently conducted with friends, there are two very distinct outlooks on the holiday season: the oh-dear-lord-not-another-capitalism-driven-circus perspective, and the more tenderhearted one that cherishes time with family and friends, the spirit of giving, and homecomings.
Thankfully, we can all agree that the season calls for a round of forget-your-worries tiki drinks. For that, the routinely festive Shore Leave, a tiki bar in the South End, amps up the giddy kitsch this winter with the arrival of Sippin’ Santa, a nationwide pop-up that takes over 27 select bars throughout the United States through Dec. 31.
“We’re always looking for new ways to make the bar as fun as possible, and this seemed like something we could do to bring over-the-top fun to the place for the holiday time,” said Ryan Lotz, partner and beverage director at Shore Leave. “We always tie everything we do into what the history of tiki speaks to, and in a large part that means escapism. This just takes tiki to its kitschiest limits. Every detail is so well thought-out.” Those details are bountiful. Developed by Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, a tiki authority who’s penned seven books on the topic and owns Beachbum Berry’s Latitude 49 in New Orleans, and in partnership with Cocktail Kingdom, a barware manufacturer and retailer, the concept involves each bar presenting a menu of Beachbum-curated island drinks, all served in eccentric vessels that are as much fun as the cocktails themselves.
CHRISTMAS EVE DESTRUCTION
Makes 1 drink
1 ounce Plantation O.F.T.D. rum (or another aged over-proof rum)
1 ounce Benedictine
1 ounce fresh lime juice
1 ounce nutmeg syrup (Combine 1 cup water, 1 cup sugar, 2 teaspoons of ground nutmeg in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Let cool, strain into clean glass jar for storage.)
1 dash Angostura bitters
1 lime wheel, for garnish
3 to 5 cloves, for garnish
1. Fill a Collins glass ⅔ with crushed ice. Pour all ingredients over ice. Swizzle with a swizzle stick for 20 seconds. (Swizzle sticks, made from the branches of a tropical tree, are available from Cocktail Kingdom’s website. Alternatively, use a long spoon or bar spoon. Hold handle between palms and mix by rubbing palms to twirl the spoon to integrate drink and crushed ice.)
2. Add more crushed ice to fill
3. Garnish with a clove-studded lime wheel and dust with grated nutmeg.
Adapted from Beachbum Berry Presents: Sippin’ Santa