Hey there! I'm Vivian. Sometimes I write about life and sometimes I write about teaching.

Last night for Valentine’s Day, or maybe because it was Monday night and my husband and I were both too exhausted to cook, we walked over to our neighborhood tiki bar for rum-filled cocktails and an island-inspired dinner.

Lava Flow and River Dragon

What is it about a tiki cocktail that is so good? Is it the fruity flavors that mask the deadly amounts of alcohol in one drink? Is it the fun colors that reflect sunsets or tropical blue waters? For me, I think it’s the ability to take me away to a tropical island even in the middle of February. Granted, it was in the 80s yesterday, but still, a typical February day here in southern California can be as frigid as the low 60s.

Each sip of a rum-filled drink brings me a little closer to feeling warm sand between my toes, watching blue waves crash upon the shore, and smelling the coconut scent of Hawaiian Tropics in the air. *sigh*

Is it summer yet?

If you need a little taste of paradise, here’s a recipe I made in a tiki cocktail class:

Viv’s Venom
1 oz. silver rum
1/2 oz. ginger liqueur
1/2 oz. jasmine liqueur
1/2 oz. cherry juice
1/2 oz. orange juice
1 oz. lemon juice
1 oz. simple syrup
2 dashes Chinese Five Spice bitters
4 dashes saffron bitters

It’s quite a few ingredients, I know. Okay, you can make your own from this formula we learned at the Greenbar Distillery in Los Angeles. 2 oz. alcohols (mix and match as you like), 1 oz. fruit juice, 1 oz. sweetener, 1 oz. sour (lemon, lime, etc.), plus about 6 dashes of other flavorings. Cheers!












  1. arjeha says:

    I could have used one of these island treats when we were out yesterday in 23 degree weather. I would much rather sand beneath my feet than snow.

  2. Lainie Levin says:

    This sounds absolutely amazing. You had me at the ginger liqueur and the 5-spice bitters. I’m going to have to dig around to find those – I’m intrigued by the way they sound!

    And yes. Summer. I could use a little bit of warmth-gathering in these long, cold days. Thank you!

  3. Fran Haley says:

    The photo alone is amazing, but then your words, and the invitation to warm sand between the toes and crashing blue waves – oh, I can taste the salt and smell the coconut! How cool, a tiki cocktail class! I didn’t even know such existed.

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