When I’m out of town, I generally do some research on food places and if I can find one, I try to get to whatever tiki bar is in the area. Orlando (surprisingly) doesn’t have a lot of tiki bars, but apparently, we picked the best one. It’s set off the main street, so it’s easy to miss, but we tracked it down on a slow night. There were only a couple of people inside, so the bartender (Joe)(the most amazing man on the planet and a hell of a bartender) made sure we were well taken care of.
Joe recommended drinks for us and told us about all these fabulous off-the-menu drinks that they bring to cocktail contests and win with, but haven’t gotten around to putting them on the menu. If you go here, ask them about some of their incredible drinks they have back behind the bar that they don’t really have a lot of names for.
I can’t tell you a lot of the names of these drinks, mainly because Joe kept them flowing. He would tell us about a drink and it sounded really…uh…unusual (I’m being tactful). But then he’d offer to make us a sample (shot sized) to convince us. And EVERY one he made was better than the last. He had one he made with soy sauce and maybe brown sugar that was amazing, but the best one of the night was something involving a banana-infused rum and some sort of chocolate/coffee-hinted drink. I know I was expecting something sickeningly sweet like 99 Bananas, and it wasn’t that at all. It was made with like dehydrated bananas dropped in rum and took a lot of effort. Joe really knows his craft and I’m glad he was our bartender that night.
The place filled up with upstairs residents (Aku Aku is on the bottom floor of an apartment building, so the residents use it like their living room and Joe knows all of them by name), and became a lot more hopping, but Joe took time to come hang out with us and sit around and talk music with me. I’m sure I have a photo of the 13 or 14 rum drinks we had, but I can’t find it. Thankfully, D.Rough was driving home and making sure I celebrated my birthday properly. I assure you I will go back to Aku Aku every time I’m in Orlando. It’s in the top 5 tiki bars I’ve been to in my entire life. Thanks for KILLING IT, Joe.