P Moss’ third book, Liquid Vacation: 77 Refreshing Tropical Drinks from Frankie’s Tiki Room in Las Vegas (Stephens Press, $30) includes many of the expected tiki trappings: over-the-top garnishes, outlandish colors, flames, cream and hulking wedges of juicy pineapple. Drinks are rated using Frankie’s skull system: three skulls is easy going, four is deceptively strong and five is trouble. But there is not one cocktail umbrella. Owner of the world’s only 24-hour tiki bar (also the only tiki bar here on Hawaii’s ninth island), Moss demonstrates the restrained, sophisticated and even elegant side of tiki, such as the Savage Flame, created by Frankie’s bar manager Allison Hartling.
Served without garnish in a cocktail coupe, this understated drink (three skulls) harkens back to the golden age of tiki, before the drinks evolved into more complex endeavors, and takes its name from an album of traditional luau music. While rum, Cointreau, fresh lime juice and guava nectar are typical of the tiki shopping list, it’s encouraging to also see house-made ginger syrup, St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram and Angostura bitters in the mix. Included with the 60 Frankie’s originals are 17 classics, such as the Mai Tai, Navy Grog and Fog Cutter, and two cocktails that stray from the tiki formula: Blood & Sand (Scotch-based) and Mutiny (vodka, “for those scalawags who refuse to drink rum”). Moss prefaces the recipes and amusing cocktail stories with a look at Las Vegas history through a tiki lens. Like Frankie’s drinks, the book is hard to put down!
As served at Frankie’s Tiki Room, 1712 W. Charleston Blvd., $9
In a cocktail shaker, combine 1 ounce Oronoco rum, ½ ounce Cointreau, ¼ ounce St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram, ½ ounce house-made ginger syrup, ½ ounce lime juice and a dash of Angostura Aromatic Bitters. Add ice, cover, shake “savagely” and strain into 5-ounce cocktail coupe.
Combine ½ cup sliced fresh ginger with one cup each of sugar and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Allow to boil for two minutes. Remove from heat and allow to steep for one hour. Cool, strain and store in an airtight container. Monin ginger syrup is a good storebought alternative.