The Tiki Lounge, an annex attached to Charlie’s Chowder House on Marine Drive in Astoria, became a welcome refuge on a recent torrential Sunday afternoon. If you avoided looking at the rain-spattered window and concentrated on the tropical drinks and the kitschy décor of surfboards and tiki heads, you could almost imagine you were toe-deep in the sand, a lucky inhabitant of a warmer climate.
I had not been back to the Tiki Lounge for years, certainly not since it reopened last fall. Both the Chowder House and the lounge now boast new management, new staff and new menus. One new favorite beverage at the lounge, a month-long-and-going holdover on their new weekly special menu, is the Piranha.
The Piranha captures the proverbial Tiki rainbow — silver and gold rum, coconut, all sorts of citrus — into one chilled pint glass. Just in case you are wondering: Yes, with all that citrus, the Piranha does indeed bite back. Though, as bar manager Sean Ake mentioned, measurements are subject to change depending on the customer’s mood.
The Chowder House and Tiki Lounge still have developing plans. Look for a new brunch menu to roll out in the near future, and the Tiki Lounge is toying with the idea of pairing classic bowls of cereal with retro Saturday morning cartoons for a side of nostalgia with your Mai Tai or Charlie’s Zombie.
1 ounce gold rum*
1 ounce sliver rum*
1/2 ounce of freshly squeezed lime juice
1 ounce of freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 ounce cream of coconut
1 ounce pineapple juice
1 ounce cranberry juice
1 ounce orange juice
Chill a 16-ounce vintage or pint glass (the funkier the better). In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, mix all ingredients, shake and pour into a cold pint also filled to the brim with ice. Garnish with the orange wedge, a kitschy cocktail stirrer or any other matter of vintage bar ephemera, close your eyes, enjoy and consider what books and records you’ll take with you on your next island getaway.
*The Tiki Lounge uses Ronrico rums, but any brand of rum will suffice.
—Recipe courtesy of Sean Ake, bar manager at Charlie’s Chowder House and Tiki Lounge, Astoria