First Annual Bartender’s Battle at Tiki Oasis

One year ago, I did it. I over stepped. I hadn’t the time, the energy or the experience. What I did have was passion and determination and just enough knowledge to be dangerous.  The result was a Tiki Bartender Battle that was a really raucous good time.  Surprisingly it all came together without a hitch and now as Tiki Oasis approaches we are gonna do it again, bigger and better and at least as much fun as before.

Now, only eleven months later I am finally (I am sorry, but yes FINALLY) posting the recipes and photos from last year as well as this pic of the 2016 gladiators.

2016 Finalists: Stephen Kurpinsky, Ryan Koontz, Adele Stratton, Luis Garcia


Last Year

Somehow I had four very talented bartenders, loads of booze, a capacity crowd and an army of awesome volunteers. I am so very thankful to everyone involved, my team (you know why), the bartenders, Old Harbor Distillery, The Cat Eye Club, Otto and Baby Doe (thank you for trusting me) and most of all the crowd.  You may wonder why I am thanking the crow most of all.  This event takes place on a Sunday (to make it easier for  working bartenders) and because this event takes place on a Sunday at the end of a long weekend.  This bartender’s battle takes place on the last day of Tiki Oasis.  People are tired, people stayed up late, people had a lot of a good time, and the biggest question was would they show up.  On the day when many people are packing up and heading back to their lives we got a packed house that showed up and made a statement that having a contest like this is important.  A little day drinking on a Sunday didn’t hurt either.


We had an esteemed panel of Tiki savvy judges. Otto Von Stroheim co founder of Tiki Oasis, Kelly Merril from Trader Sams, Rob V. Burr of the Miami Rum Fest, Kevin Up The Grove from 5 min of Rum and Marie King esteemed captain of the Tonga Hut.

The last supper
The Last Supper

We seemed to have all the things, but most of all we had a good time.

Bartenders and Drinks

Amber working the crowd!


Amber Riehman made the


1.5 oz Cruzan aged rum
1 oz banana liquor
.5 oz house made falernum
.5 pineapple juice
.5 orange juice
Shake all ingredients with ice
pour in hurricane glass over crushed ice
Garnish with brulee banana and flower


Travis was all business, he even wore a helmet.


Travis Nass made 

Islands in the Sky AKA The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

1 oz Old Harbour Navy Strength Rum
1 oz Apocolypto Reposado tequila
.5 oz Galliano
.5 oz Real Cocktail’s Mango Puree
.5 oz Trader Vic’s Macadamia nut liqueur
.5 oz house made don’s mix
.75 oz lime juice
18 drops Boy drinks World Serrano cocktail spice

Shake and Strain into a tiki mug full of crushed ice.
Garnish with a Thai Basil Sprig, dried chile covered mango slice, toasted star anise pod, lime wheel, swizzle stick, and lapsang souchong tea/ dry ice steam

Even Ryan had a good time


Ryan Andrew made

The Pain Reliever

1 oz ballast point habanero vodka
1.5 oz old harbor barrel flag rum
1 oz lime juice
.5 oz orange juice
.75 oz coco lopez
3 dashes aromatic bitters

shake all ingredients and strain over fresh ice
garnish with a orange slice

Anthony however was all about the winning.


Anthony Schmidt made the 

Spaceship Pink Slip

1.5oz Angostura 1919
1oz Fresh Grapefruit Juice
1oz Spiced Lime Cordial
.5oz Guava Syrup
1oz Rosé
Add all ingredients to a tall, 16-20oz glass. Add ice, Swizzle, and top with more ice. Top with several dashes of Peychaud bitters and a couple atomized sprays of absinthe. Garnish lavishly (orchids, swizzle stick, mint sprig, etc).

Marie King giving our winner a lay back.


This was a very good time and this year is going to be a blast.  I will see you there!


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