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The Tiki-5 … the Nui Nui

Prior to the launch of this little excursion into Tikiville I did my best to quickly bone up on the subject and in so doing learned that one of the keys to tiki-style drinks, and a key to their complexity, is the use of multiple versions of similar ingredients in one drink to layer on and build out a unique flavor profile – several different kinds of rum, different citrus juices and different sweetening agents or modifiers.  In building the cast of characters for this mad experiment I wanted to try to set out a progression of drinks that showcased this uniqueness in different ways. After consulting several pros, the line up was built including our next victim the Nui Nui.

Using Rick’s site as the recipe source (and research source as well … as always, thanks Rick) the Nui Nui seemed like a great choice to go second in the line up and is a wonderful example of the tiki mystique of blending multiple flavor ingredients (including three different spice and sweetening agents) into one single drink.

Nui Nui
Recipe adapted from the Kaiser Penguin blog (itself originally adapted from “Sippin’ Safari” by Jeff “Beachbumb” Berry)

•    2 oz Cruzan Estate dark rum (Cruzan Aged rum was used))
•    1 oz fresh lime juice
•   1 oz orange fresh orange juice
•    1/2 oz cinnamon syrup (Trader Tiki brand)
•    1/4 oz vanilla syrup (Trader Tiki brand)
•    1/4 oz pimento liqueur (St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram)
Garnish: large swath of orange peel
Glass: rocks glass
Tools: mixing glass and tin (shaker) and y-peeler for garnish

Assembly: Combine all ingredients in the shaker with crushed ice and shake well for at least 30 seconds and pour into the serving glass.  Garnish and drink.

The verdict: Quite nice … my first impression was refreshingly spicy.  The drink has a nice light gold color in the glass with citrus on the nose.  On first tasting the drink you are likely to think what I thought, “man is it warm outside and does this make me feel cooler.”  As expected from the ingredient roster there are multiple layers of spice to the drink with the allspice dram and cinnamon syrup combining to lead the effort followed by a nice soft vanilla glow.  Citrus blends in behind the syrups with the rum in the background.  Most subtle of all, especially given the four ounce pour, is the rum – it is more an enhancer that it is a lead character although you are likely to pick up some of the typical aged rum characteristics.  I wonder if stronger rums such as a Zaya or Appleton Extra would convert the rum to a leading character. Glad to have taken a go at the Nui Nui and it most definitely highlighted the layering effect of the various syrups.

For the novice imbiber: this drink is worth giving a go, likely out at first versus making at home, but work to build out your Mai Tai focus first.

theSpeakista’s Rating: 3 3/4 stars (out of 5)

theSpeakista asks?

1. For likeminded novices out there – are you tempted to mix one of these up/what do you think would hold you back from mixing one up?

2. Thoughts on home made syrups versus store bought?  Due to time and constraints on space at the home base I opted to use Blair’s wonderful products but would welcome a push towards making my own.

3. What do you think of the Tiki-5 so far? What more would you like to see by way of commentary, research or anything else?

Up next … we continue our flavor layering journey with a flight on the Jet Pilot …

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