5 O'Clock Somewhere
It’s Tiki Time
By Chris O'Neal 08/22/2013
Dining and Cocktails
701 E. Main St.
Step into Ventiki and one might imagine great explorers gathered around the bar, speaking of savage beasts and epic mustachioed fisticuffs, strange elixirs in hand. The idea of a Tiki bar brings to mind images of Disneyland, singing birds and elephant guns, but not here. Not at Ventiki, where wooden swords and masks give atmosphere to Ventura’s new source for craft cocktails.
Owner Scott Noble mixes up classic — and I do mean classic — Tiki cocktails behind the bar from a menu that splits the originals from the modern. Order a mai tai and don’t expect a sugary trip down diabetes lane, but a recipe pulled from the original Trader Vic’s. A blend of real tropical citrus goes into an old-fashioned glass with ice and is topped with Rhum Clement from Martinique and Appleton rum from Jamaica. Noble garnishes it with a thoroughly slapped sprig of mint and a cocktail stirrer in the shape of an oar.
The mai tai joins a menu featuring several classic Tiki cocktails, including the zombie and the suffering bastard, all utilizing fresh juice and actual alcohol rather than a pre-mixed abomination.
On the modern side of the menu is a Tiki spin on the classic Sazarac cocktail. The shrunken head makes use of Templeton rye whiskey and Clement Creole Shrubb orange liqueur alongside the unique flavor of Falernum bitters, an additive with a uniquely tropical aroma. Topped with a curled orange zest, the shrunken head is as innovative as it is tasty.
Noble consulted renowned Tiki master Sven Kirsten to better reproduce the cocktails and atmosphere that made Trader Vic’s and the fathers of Tiki into a lifestyle. Ventiki’s cocktails are one of a kind for Ventura and are not to be missed.
5 O’Clock Somewhere is a new column and will run every other week for the latest in tempting intoxication around Ventura County.