If you’ve noticed a resurgence of fluorescent, umbrella-topped drinks in your favorite darkened haunts, you’re not alone. Tiki is back. “It’s a nice antidote to how precious cocktails became for a lot of people,” says Jessica Sanders, who runs the Austin, Texas, bar drink.well. “Bartenders got a little bored with themselves, and this whole idea that cocktails must be brown and bitter and stirred. Now, we’re taking all the knowledge and craft that we’ve learned in the past decade and applying it to something creative and fun.”
Sanders and her fellow members of the Austin chapter of the United States Bartenders Guild organized the first Texas Tiki Week in 2012. This year, they’re hosting another seven days of special menus, classes and lectures, and raucous, rum-fueled parties. And while the Lone Star State is a long way from the South Pacific, Sanders says that tiki still makes good sense in her idiosyncratic hometown. “There’s an energy about tiki that’s really laid back, and fun, and irreverent. For Austin, I think those qualities fit.” Over the past few years, a handful of bars in Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas have joined, too.
For more information and a schedule of events, click here. And if you can’t make it to Texas this year, take a moment this week to mix up a Creole Fix, a drink.well cocktail made with light-bodied rhum agricole, citrus juices, and a thick, sweet cinnamon syrup.