Kahuna Kevin's Tiki Cocktails Vol. 4 is Officially Progressing!
If you follow my Facebook or Instagram Social Media pages, then you probably already know I've been slowly wrapping up work on my 4th cocktail book, code named Kahuna Kevin's (not so) Tiki Cocktails - Vol. 4. 3 years of work is very difficult to summarize and compress, but here's the whats, whys, hows and whens.
TLDR: This is going to be awesome. Can't wait. Maybe end of 2018 - early 2019. Prepare your liver.
I never intended to actually write a 4th cocktail book, as the recipes I've been creating and jotting down on paper after Kahuna Kevin's Vol. 3 were more experimental and drinks I personally gravitate towards. Spicy, extremely bitter and herbal drinks, funky tasting flavors, odd flavor shifts, smoky peaty profiles, and ingredients that technically shouldn't work together but I managed to make them play along nicely with incredible results. These recipes were basically going to be a secret stash in my laboratory drawer only to see the light of day for personal use or when guests and friends visit for dinner. Once I realized I had a collection of over 30 brand new cocktails, I decided why not. Publish the damn drinks already!
Most of the drinks are not typical of Tiki, or even Tiki, but may have distant inspiration from Tiki yet go completely off the rails full speed into uncharted territory. Others are shaken Daiquiri inspired cocktails (some safer not too out there, others with major shifts) served in Coupe glasses focusing on the drink itself with minimal garnish, while some are spirit-forward drinks served up in Whiskey Rocks glasses with a large ice cube, chilled Whiskey stones and some even garnished with rich smoked cheeses of all things, creating more of a secondary experience when snacked on between sips. Then there's the Swizzles, beautifully complex and potent with swirling flavors that keep you guessing. Flavors that you can't quite get a grasp on, or may recognize but then shift to something else eluding your perception.
The cocktails use a backbone of varying top quality Scotches (heavily peated Islay and non-peated Speyside), Gins (barrel aged, pepperd rye and even Douglas Fir), Rye Whiskies, Rums (which happen to take more a back seat in this collection), or interesting combinations of these unique base spirits, along with very pronounced aromatic cocktail bitters combinations, herbal Amaro liqueurs, staples like Green Chartreuse, Pimm's No. 1, Fernet Branca, varying fresh fruit juices, and flavored syrups or natural syrups like Maple and rich Turbinado Sugar. I've developed a serious personal love for varying degrees of smokey drinks over the years and there are many to choose from in this upcoming volume, from faintly smokey to straight up blissfully in your face smokestacks.
Many drinks in this book will at some point become underground barroom classics. If not in this century, it won't be because the drinks aren't good, it'll be because the world has been too busy quietly breeding soft & weak-willed types not yet ready for flavor profiles that unapologetically serve up a sucker punch to the face. What I'm saying is you'll need to pull up your big boy undies/girl panties for this one, you might even need to revisit the same drink again later on to fully get it as your palate starts to develop and accept more complex flavors, and if you can't do that, then this isn't your book. Stick to my first 3. If that last bit didn't scare you away but instead made your ears perk up and gave you a cocktail boner, then this will be your favorite bar book.
I specifically wanted drinks that left an impression, kept me guessing what the heck I was tasting even though I was staring directly at each of the bottles, and purposely chased illogical ingredient combinations yielding some initial failures but ultimately pushed on and reaped golden end rewards. Sometimes the slightest deviation from the final recipe would completely wreck the overall flavor balance. Some are right on the cutting edge of the push & pull sweet/sour/spice/bitter/smoke dynamic.
The Gentlemen's Swizzle for example: A personal challenge to pull and use 13 bottles of the most heavy flavor-forward liquors & liqueurs in my 'lab-bar-atory' collection, named aptly as gentlemanly patience is required to mix these 13 ingredients into the final amazing result. It really shouldn't work by any logical means, there's just too many loud flavors going on at once especially when each individual bottle is taken into account on its own potency, sort of like 13 stereos on full blast playing different songs, yet somehow once this combination hits the ice, it works exceedingly well, and synchronizes into a beautifully unique flavor never before tasted.
I'm currently refining and photographing the first 30 cocktails, and another 10 or so highly experimental ones still need to be reworked into their final recipes. In all I'm shooting for a minimum of 40 drinks, to a maximum of 50.
Volume 4 will also include my aromatic cocktail bitters recipe and instructions on how to recreate batches of them yourself at home, and most likely a couple custom drink recipes added that specifically must use these bitters. If you're too lazy to batch these yourself, you can get a labeled and wax dipped bottle right here as a free gift by purchasing one of my signed books.
I'm fully expecting a polarizing response to these drinks, and I'm absolutely OK with that. To reiterate, these are a collection of my personal favorites and "wildest experiments", personal challenges and proof of concept to make many competing strong flavors harmonize. I'm not releasing Volume 4 to make a load of cash. I'm releasing these drinks because I've decided they deserve to be shared for what they are, a 3 year time capsule and tome of bar experiments that push boundaries, to be enjoyed by future generations of bartenders and bar enthusiasts, properly cataloged in a quality printed barguide format. To simply break even on R&D costs over the years and initial book printing will suffice. If it keeps selling after word of mouth, well, even better. As long as there are books circulating out there in professional bars and the shelves of home bars who seek something different, the drinks will live on and speak for themselves.
Pre-order information for the first run signed copies of Kahuna Kevin's (not so) Tiki Cocktails Vol. 4 will be announced in the coming months, with a tentative release date end of 2018 to early 2019. Basically, released when it's done and I'm happy with what I've created. This will also likely be my last book, unless I get inspired to offer a 5th that's a "Redo" of maybe my 10 personal favorites from each of the 4 volumes. If the demand is there, it may happen. But not for many many years.
In the words of the great mad Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, it's ultimately up to you to decide if these drinks sound like they're within you or your guest's comfort zones and whether or not to 'Buy the Ticket, Take the Ride'. You can accept or refuse that personal challenge. Either way, I thoroughly enjoyed this journey from start to finish and it's one I intend to keep revisiting one recipe at a time - although I absolutely have top favorites I will keep those to myself - maybe they'll be your favorites as well? This is simply my time and effort in a book to all of you, as a thanks for buying my other 3 books since 2009. And as much as I enjoyed absolutely everything about making Tiki Volumes 1-3, the couple of Best Cocktail awards received also prove some of you folks enjoyed those books and drinks as well, Volume 4 will always be my go-to book for drinks. And I hope so for you and yours as well.
Cheers and thanks for your support over the years! I hope you enjoy my upcoming Magnum Opus. And if not, ehh... I'm proud of it and like the drinks plenty. ;)