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Have a Cuba Libre: 'An Evening of Tiki' returns to the Spare Room

"An Evening of Tiki" returns to the Spare Room at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, just in time for the lazy, fruit-tastic days of summer.

The Polynesian-themed night takes place the first or second Wednesday of every month, ending in September. Each breezy incarnation hosts a new guest bartender (or two) who creates a list of tiki craft cocktails using only fresh juices and homemade syrups. (No bottled Blue Hawaiians here!)

This Wednesday night's event features Marcos Tello of the prominent cocktail consulting firm Tello / Demarest Liquid Assets, and Chris Ojeda, the global beverage director for Soho House. Both men began their bartending careers at Islands restaurant in Brea, so they know a thing or two about flair and old-school tropical drinks made with canned juices and commercial grenadine.

Their idea is to celebrate some of those classics using tricks of the modern mixology trade, which basically means keeping it clean, fresh and free of yellow No. 5 dye. Plus, I hear their garnishes are going to put boring old garnishes to shame. (Sorry, lemon and lime wedges and jarred maraschino cherries!)

Their drinks for the night include a Cuba Libre made with Atlantico Platino Rum, Mexican Coke and lime; a Lava Flow made with two types of Atlantico rum, strawberry, lime, coconut and pineapple; and a very rich and delicious sounding drink called Rusty Anchor, which is a mixture of Atlantico Private Cask, Galliano Ristretto (a coffee-flavored liqueur), bananas, coconut, espresso, whipped cream and nutmeg.

There is another cocktail menu on offer from the Spare Room as well featuring a variety of ticklish tiki drinks like the Sing-Along Daiquiri; the Doctor Funk (a Don the Beachcomber classic from 1953 that mixes rum, pomegranate syrup, lime and Pernod); and the High Thai'd, which is a recipe for too much fun in your mouth featuring rum, Batavia Arrack (a Middle Eastern equivalent of rum), kaffir lime leaves, ginger, cream of coconut, serrano pepper, lemon myrtle liqueur, Angostura, lime and essence of lemongrass. (Whew!)

Scorpion Bowls for up to 20 people are also available alongside a menu of island-themed food such as Hawaiian burgers with pineapple and teriyaki; crab rangoon and mango chili popcorn.

Upcoming events are: July 3 with Jim Meehan, Aug. 14 with Julie Reiner and Willie Shine, and Sept. 4 with John Lermayer (and special guest) for an evening of tiki history.

The Spare Room at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, 7000 Hollywood Blvd., L.A. (323) 769-7296; www.spareroomhollywood.com.

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Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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