Luiggi Uzcategui along with the rest of the bar team is shaking things up at Big Orange in Midtown by introducing a new lineup of Tiki- and tropical-themed cocktails. All six libations will be available now and served through spring and summer.
Cast out any preconceived notions that Tiki drinks are overly sweet. “There is a difference between what is tropical and what is Tiki,” Uzcategui explains. “Tropical consists of drinks like Piña Coladas with a lot of juice-forward drinks with rum in them. Tiki is complex and all these flavors that you’re not used to, work well together.”
The cocktails are visually striking with the combination of liqueurs, garnishes and glassware. Each drink is unique and all together maintain a cohesive Tiki vibe. Have a seat at the bar or out on the patio and have Uzcategui make you any and all of these six amazing cocktails.
The Spoils of Paradise – Created by Luiggi Uzcategui
I highly recommend the first cocktail, which is made with guanabana — a very complex and perfumy tropical fruit. “It’s been described as having a flavor similar to a strawberry and pear combined with coconut and/or banana,” Uzcategui says.
Oriental Spiced Gin — a chili pepper-forward liqueur — as well as Orange Curaçao and Pernod Absinthe pair well with the tropical fruit flavor.
Stay Out of my Crepe Myrtles – Created by Jacob Sawrie
An unusual Tiki drink because it is vodka-based is “a nice dry, refreshing reprieve from the typical Tiki drink that leans more toward the strong, sweeter side,” Uzcategui explains. “This one is more refreshing with a little bit of grapefruit, mintiness, earthiness, and it’s also pretty floral.”
The Apprentice’s Source – Created by Jon Hodges and Luiggi Uzcategui
This concoction was created to be very vanilla-forward. Havana Club Añejo Rum was introduced to balance the original, bold spice blend.
“Flavors of tamarind and lime juice give it a tropical flair. And Falernum is a liqueur made from limes, cloves, almonds and is rum-based as well,” Uzcategui says.
Queen of Hawai’i – Created by Ben Bell
You don’t want to miss this stunning cocktail. It features Plantation Stiggins’, a pineapple-infused rum — a nod to the Pineapple Trade and the last reigning queen of Hawai’i. Cappelletti Aperitivo introduces a slight hint of bitterness and balances the sweetness of the pineapple juice. Bénédictine adds a notes of hay, honey and other herbal flavors.
“It all works really well with the flavors of pineapple,” says Uzcategui. “It’s light, it’s bright. It’s delicious and refreshing. And it’s beautiful.”
Loosey-Moosey – Created by Jordan Crain
“We wanted to play with the flavors of grapefruit and cinnamon, but we couldn’t find the right medium at first,” Uzcategui recounts. “I suggested at the end to use a cherry-forward whiskey.”
Pineapple juice adds sweetness and acidity. Giffard Pamplemousse and cinnamon syrup add spiciness and complexity with a savory finish.
Lighthouse Atoll – Created by Merrick Fagan
The last cocktail is a split base cocktail with Gin and Salignac.
“It has a Sherry backbone giving it a little nuttiness and a bit of a savory finish,” Uzcategui articulates. “The blended lychees create a perfumy note and balance the bitters, cloves and baking spices. Almond Orgeat and Sherry play to accentuate the nuttiness.”
This menu showcases the range Tiki can have.
“It doesn’t all have to be sweet — some of it can be dry. It doesn’t all have to be floral — some can be nutty and complex. Some of it is going to taste more traditionally Tiki,” Uzcategui explains. “The ailment they all have in common, is they all allude to some tropical flavor and all have quite a bit of complexity. Some are a little savory, some are a lot savory.”
Ask your server or bartender for the list of featured drinks and follow Big Orange on social media to keep up with new specials. Bring a friend and raise a toast to good company and great patio weather.