Tiki Month 2012 has begun! If you're unaware, Tiki Month is one of the many curious creations of Doug Winship, the proprietor of the Pegu Blog. Instead of giving you a drink to kick off the month, I'll tell you about a tool that helps facilitate that which is tiki.
Each time I bring up the subject of tiki, especially when I "celebrate" February as Tiki Month, I usually decry the drink style as a barely-worthwhile laborious undertaking which may represent mixology's most dark and decadent corridors.
Imagine this frustrating scenario: it's Friday night, and you've just gotten home from work. You don your tropical shirt (or is that only me?), and you want to mix up a tiki beverage to take away the week's furrows from your worn, worn brow. You look toward your rums, your liqueurs... you notice that your fruit bowl is full of bright citrus varieties... you think toward all the bottles of juice and syrups that you have in your refrigerator or elsewhere...
But you know that it will still take a good while to flip through all your tiki drink books in order to find a drink that you'll actually have all the ingredients to make. I TOLD YOU TIKI WAS HARD!
Luckily for you, there's a interwebs solution to your problem: the Grogalizer, created by a dedicated tiki fan nicknamed Swanky.
The Grogalizer is a thing that could only have been made by someone familiar with the hardships of tiki: it's a sophisticated database which will simply tell you which classic tiki drinks you're able to make, once you've told it all the tiki ingredients that you currently have on hand. Specifically, the drink list it draws from are in the books of Jeff Berry.
Whether you only have handful of ingredients or a spread that rivals a craft cocktail bar, the Grogalizer can easily pinpoint which recipes suit your arsenal. To add to that, the Grogalizer can even tell you the drinks that you can almost make, should you feel a bit sacrilegious and attempt to make an ingredient substitution. As I always say: I'd prefer that you make a substitution and drink than not drink at all.
There are two catches, however:
1) You have to have an account in order to use the site, but it's free. I bet that the simple registration is required because the Grogalizer offers the ability to execute fairly complex database queries, technically speaking. Your search's results come from the cross-referencing of up to hundreds of variables, and since the Grogalizer is a small operation, I imagine that Swanky's modest hardware or software wouldn't be able to handle the load of random and casual visitors running intensive searches.
2) Your search results will not give you the recipes for the drinks that fit your criteria. Instead, they will give you the name of the drink, and the page number of the book in which it can be found. This was done deliberately, I imagine, to not break copyright.
Luckily, site registration takes seconds, and Jeff Berry's latest and most comprehensive tiki drink book is cheap.
Your excuses for not making tiki drinks (other than the seven I outline here, as well as those I offer above) grow few! Soon you too will be asking "Why is all the rum gone?" Viva Tiki Month!