Blair Reynolds is one of the West Coast’s most passionate and innovative mixologists. While many bars across the country are now starting “Tiki takeover nights” for the summer months ahead, he’s been doing it in Portland, Ore. for years. As owner of the popular Tiki-themed restaurant and bar Hale Pele, Reynolds is dedicated to sharing his love of sophisticated and delicious tropical drinks by developing high-quality products to support others who may not be as familiar with the classic ingredients.
His latest creations are a new line of cocktail mixers for the at-home and professional bartender. Each bottle is authentically crafted with fresh, all-natural ingredients in small batches using original techniques and deep admiration for true Tiki culture. The new Tropical Cocktail Mixers are available in 750 ml bottles for $15.99 and include Mai Tai, Jet Pilot and Zombie Punch and are made in small batches in Portland, Ore. The mixers make delicious tropical cocktails with aged rum or mixed with soda water for a refreshing non-alcoholic option.
Mai Tai – The Mai Tai mixer is very much lime forward, followed by orgeat and a slight hint of orange. The recipe calls for 3 oz of mixer and only 1.5 oz of rum. Personally, I think the recipe should be equal parts to not only boost the alcohol content, but also to balance out the intense sour acidity of the mixer. Overall, the flavor is quite good, but nothing can beat a fresh made one using two different styles of rum and a true Curacao. GSN Rating: B
Jet Pilot – The flavor here is quite balanced and tasty. Interestingly, there is a hint of anise which makes up for the lack of Pernod or absinthe that the recipe calls for. Again tho’, the bottle instructions call for 3 oz of mixer and only half as much rum. To really shine, this needs an ounce of dark and gold rums, and a half ounce of a 151 rum. If you cut back the mixer to just two ounces, and add the rums, then this really comes close to an authentic jet Pilot. GSN Rating: A
Zombie Punch – Oddly enough, the flavor is very subdued here, the main characteristic being a kind of clove simple syrup. The palate is entirely mid-range and doesn’t sparkle. For a killer Zombie, you need a total of four ounces(!) of three different rums. 1.5 each of gold and dark, then another whole ounce of 151 proof. The balance should be 2 ounces of mixer with a lot of crushed ice. But, again, the directions on the bottle call for a very unbalanced and wimpy 3 ounces of mixer to only 1.5 pounces of a overproof rum. GSN Rating: B-
These mixers are great for people who don’t have 1) the money to buy several rums and 2) the money to buy citrus, orgeat, cinnamon syrup, etc… In a pinch they will do, and probably unless the person is a tiki cocktail enthusiast (like me), they will never know the difference. But, the rum is key and utilizing a variety of styles in each drink is what made these drinks so successful when they debuted in the 20th century. If you do anything, at least pour equal parts rum and mixer to achieve a more balanced cocktail.
For more information go to: BG Reynolds