As people settle in for the long, dreary winter, certain drinks are especially comforting. Eggnog, mulled wine, hot cider, and peaty Scotch unfailingly warm the soul, no matter the temperature outside.
Boozy fortification takes many forms, though. A growing group of bartenders on Instagram, known as Tiki the Snow Away, are rejecting typical wintertime beverages in favor of tropical rum drinks.
The group convenes digitally each year to create and share tiki cocktails throughout January. Early entries for the 2019 iteration range from mid-century-inspired originals, courtesy of Portland, Ore.-based @Migsology, to absinthe-spiked swizzles from @servedbysoberon in Ghent, Belgium. There are no real rules or prizes, only the promise of digital community, good cheer, and lots of rum.
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Beautiful! 🐦🌴🍹 #Repost 📷 @mmydrinks ・・・ It seems many of you would like to hear about Anders and my journey on IG. So I’ll work on that and post something soon. It will also give you a little insight to one of the reason he said farewell to IG. • In the meantime I wanted to try to get another cocktail in for #TikiTheSnowAway before it ended. I’m so sorry for my lack of participation. I also apologize for my lack of engagement to everyone who left a comment to me and to your posts as well. I’m going to try to leave some space so I can catchup a bit with everyone. • Here’s a fabulous tiki drink from @bootleggertiki. I enjoyed it very much when I had one while in Palm Springs. • Oh My Gato by Chad Austin @chaddaustin ・ 1 oz Caña Brava Rum 1 oz Scarlet Ibis Rum 1 oz Lemon Juice 0.75 oz Passionfruit Juice 0.75 oz St. George NOLA Coffee Liqueur 0.5 oz Orgeat 0.5 oz Cane Sugar Syrup 0.5 oz Amontillado Sherry • Even though Gato means cat, this drink makes me think of Anders. Maybe since the city of Los Gatos is near where Anders lives. Or maybe be cause Anders loved tiki drinks. Or maybe Palm Springs was where we finally met in person. Or maybe because it contains St. George Spirits NOLA Coffee Liqueur and St. George is one of our favorite distilleries. In any case this one goes out to Anders.
Winter tiki is one of those ideas that makes more sense the longer you think about it. Tiki cocktails are escapist, perfect for the snowed-in drinker whose only diversions are political headlines or another Netflix marathon.
Many of the same baking spices in wintry drinks like cinnamon, vanilla, and nutmeg are perfectly at home in tiki concoctions. And when you just don’t have the energy to trek through the tundra to meet your friends at a bar, Tiki the Snow Away connects you to digital pals via Instagram.
Dani DeLuna, known to her followers as Home Bar Girl, launched the group in 2015 as a repudiation of eggnog.
“I had competed in an eggnog competition that December so I was really over all the heavy sh*t we all drink during the cold part of the year,” DeLuna says. She remembers thinking, “‘F*ck this. I want to make Daiquiris.’” That impulse evolved into a quest to make tiki drinks throughout the entire month of January.
When DeLuna polled her IG followers for a name for her project, fellow drinkstagrammer Nic Titze provided the moniker. DeLuna spent the first year casually hashtagging posts to see if anyone was interested in playing along. In year two, she says, Titze’s involvement hashtagging and reposting helped the concept take off. In 2018, the group’s fourth year, users submitted 1,000 tiki drinks by using the official hashtag, #tikithesnowaway, and DeLuna now reposts a sampling on the Tiki the Snow Away page.
Last year Titze even crafted custom art for the group, printing up swag like coasters and swizzle sticks. He and DeLuna strategically sent them to drinkstagram influencers in the early days of January to drum up even more interest. Titze has even crafted updated versions for this year’s celebration.
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🤤🍹🌠 #Repost 📷 @moodymixologist ・・・ . H o k u H e l e . Better late than never, here’s my humble contribution to #tikithesnowaway! I’m just beginning to learn about the wonderful world of rum, so I anticipate many more tiki drinks to come. The name Hoku Hele is Hawaiian for ‘wandering star’. 💫 . 3 dashes Angostura bitters 2 oz dark rum 1 oz pineapple juice 1/2 oz coconut water 1/2 oz lime juice 1/2 oz sage + cinnamon syrup Garnish with a slice of starfruit . Follow @moodymixologist for more original recipes + twists on classic cocktails! 🍸 . . . . #cocktails #booze #mixology #imbibe #craftcocktails #libations #cocktailporn #homebartender #cocktailart #mixologyart #imbibegram #happyhour #photooftheday #feedfeed #cocktailoftheday #cocktail #thirsty #drinkstagram #bartender #cocktailculture #liqpic #artofdrinks #huffposttaste #supercall #drinkpunch #myfavoritecocktail @thefeedfeed @thirsty #artofdrinks #tiki
The digital movement has leaked into the real world, too. In 2018, DeLuna held a pop-up event at the King Tai, a bar in Brooklyn. Earlier this month, she collaborated on a menu for the Sunken Harbor Club, a weekly tiki event at Fort Defiance, also in Brooklyn.
Tiki the Snow Away remains mostly digital, though. DeLuna has personally met only a few participants.
The group’s digital-first approach works to its advantage. Along with other home bartending groups on Instagram like Home Bar Awards, We Have the Last Word, and Secret Santé, Tiki the Snow Away gives global cocktail enthusiasts a chance to come together and share their exploits in ways they couldn’t IRL. Propelled by influencers like @mmydrinks and @servedbysoberon, these remarkably talented home bartenders experiment with unconventional methods, promote local spirits and drinking traditions, and connect with like-minded drinkers across the globe.
“For all of us who like doing drink stuff, it’s way more fun when it’s a whole group thing,” DeLuna says. “Isn’t all of this social media stuff kind of self-gratifying anyway? If a lot of people come through and like your post because everyone’s participating in a big group thing, you get a little self-confidence boost, too.”
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This is a swizzle! 🔥🍹 #Repost 📷 @servedbysoberon ・・・ SUNSOAKED SWIZZLE – 60ml HenTho Classic Gin – 30ml Beartender Strawberry Juice – 15ml Artful Spirits Elderflower Liqueur – 25ml Lemon Juice – 15ml Vanilla Syrup – 1 barspoon Absinthe Fill glass 2/3 with crushed ice / Add all ingredients / Swizzle and top with more ice / Garnish with mint and orchid, serve with a reusable (bamboo) straw. 🍸🍸 January's here and is ready to deliver some cold stings ❄️ which means it's time for #tikithesnowaway!🔥 The annually returning event of drinksta-legends @ntitz and @homebargirl is all about beating the winterblues by going full-on Tiki and Exotic! 🗿 I'm happy to be sharing my first contribution today 🍹 a Gin Tiki that screams sunsoaked, beachside vibes 🏝️ using Gin, Strawberry, Vanilla, Elderflower, Absinth and Lemon. . Base spirit is the Belgian @hentho_spirits Classic Gin with its extra infusion of Juniper berries.🇧🇪 From Germany comes the @artfulspirits 'Holunderblüte', an Elderflower liqueur with soft whiffs of pineapple in the back palate.🍍 Strawberry and lemon combine it all together like a charm 🍓🍋 and that touch of Absinthe opens up the entire aromatic profile! Garnish abundantly and Tiki The Snow Away! ☀️ (It seems to be working, as I haven't seen any snow here in Belgium yet! 😅) ❤️ Drinkstagram, cheers to the weekend! 🍸🍸 #cocktail #cocktails🍹 #ginoclock #drinkstagram #homebartender #mixology #instadrinks #ginstagram #liqpic #cocktailsofinstagram #cocktailgram #imbibe #imbibegram #cocktailoftheday #ginlover #cocktailrecipe #tikidrinks #cocktails
How to get involved
If you’d like to start posting your own drinks to Tiki the Snow Away, you’ll need a few — O.K., a lot of ingredients.
When you’ve crafted a tiki drink you’d like to share, simply hashtag your post with #tikithesnowaway and wait for the sweet, sweet likes to roll in.
Here’s what you’ll need:
At least five rums
“To wade into tiki, you really need five different rums,” DeLuna tells VinePair. “You need an overproof rum. You need something that will give you length, maybe something from Barbados or something like Ron Barrilito that’s an easy, dry, mellow rum. You need some funky Jamaican rum (which could also be your overproof rum). People suggest a 151 demerara rum because it is in a lot of drinks. And I would suggest having a blanc rhum agricole.”
Depending on where you live, fresh produce in January might sound like an oxymoron. Fortunately, there are solutions, even for those who spend January in below-freezing temperatures. Blood oranges, grapefruits, and persimmons all provide tiki’s requisite bright pop of flavor.
“Use the weird citrus that’s in season now,” DeLuna says. “Don’t attempt to use fresh pineapple because it’ll be nasty.”
“The thing I like to emphasize is that we’re in the middle of winter so people should be doing more spiced stuff than usual,” DeLuna says. Lots of baking spices make great syrups. DeLuna suggests arming yourself with cinnamon, vanilla, or cinnamon-vanilla syrup.
DeLuna also encourages home bartenders to use sherry, port, and vermouths to lengthen their drinks. The right bottle of fortified wine can add wintry flavors and depth while keeping things (relatively) light.
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This guy! 🍹💛 #Repost 📷 @migsology ・・・ The motivation behind Depeche Mode's classic "Just Can't Get Enough"? Rum. Definitely rum 👍🏽 * I finally got Beachbum Berry's Potions of the Caribbean for Xmas this year! 🤓 And so I'll start things off with this oddly named Rum Punch from 1947. The drink has an odd story in that it may not be the original recipe as the proprietors could have been trying to throw off the competition AND Trader Vic had allegedly released a version that was dismissed by said proprietors. Ah, the good ol days of tiki mayhem and anarchy 🤘🏽 *** Oloffson’s Rum Punch 2.5 ounces Rhum Barbancourt 5 Star (8 yr) 0.5 oz Cruzan Blackstrap Rum (for float, subbed in for Myers’s) 0.25 oz Luxardo maraschino liqueur 1.5 oz orange juice 0.75 oz lime juice Rounded teaspoon white sugar Shake, strain over fresh crushed ice; swizzle garnish and Cruzan float