In Rotterdam, everybody knows Mad Mick's Breakaway Cafe. But what if I asked you about Mick's Tiki Shack? The cosy pop-up bar, located on the first floor of the Breakaway is truly one of the hidden gems in Rotterdam's cocktail scene.
At Mick's Tiki Shack, expect a nice night out in a laid back atmosphere with friendly service and amazing drinks. Mick's Tiki Shack is a pop-up bar that first opened its doors in November 2018. It's a wintertime concept and will be shutting down sometime in March/April. The creative minds behind the shack are Allan Brown, Gyaan Khemradj and Rick de Groot. We dropped by on a Friday night in January and interviewed Allan Brown, head bartender at Mick's Tiki Shack.
What is Mick's Tiki Shack exactly?
"What we wanted is to recreate is a century or place you could go to, to escape reality even if it’s for one drink. This is also the reason we use the quote “Paradise is much closer than you think.” As our slogan. What we do at the shack are Tiki cocktails. These are rum driven drinks with exotic fruits served in amazing handmade vessels. So what you can expect are fruity, fresh, playful but still complex drinks. You can call it rum mixology."
The Tiki Shack is a small and intimate hideaway that, theoretically, could seat a maximum of 15 guests. The bar has been decorated accordingly with a Hawaïan style interior. Similarly, the cocktail menu is inspired by the classic Tiki cocktails of the 1940s and 1960s. There's a twist though! The cocktails served at Mick's have been recreated in a fresh and unique style.
What is there to drink at Mick's Tiki Shack?
"We specialize in Tiki cocktails and Caribbean concoctions but we also do tailor-made cocktails to suits our guests' flavour palates. So you tell us what you would like to drink and we will create this drink for you. We call this freestyling. Besides cocktails, you can sip on some amazing rums, either neat or on the rocks."
Allan explains that part of what makes the cocktails so unique and special is the number of ingredients that go into them.
"Most of the time it’s a six-ingredient drink or more. We start off with a rum blend of two to three different kinds of rum, different fresh juices combined with different sweetening agents. We use layers of flavours and try to play with your senses by using all of them at once. Not only taste but also sight, smell and feel."
The cocktail menu is a total trip. It's like finding a message in a bottle. It actually even looks like an old treasure map. It's been in the bottle for so long, that it's hard to keep it straight. But that kinda adds to the Indiana Jones vibe that the place has going for it.
The cocktail menu is a trip!
Punch is on the house
He starts me off with the welcome punch. The welcome punch is always in the house and a great way to ease into the more complex drinks. The drink is decorated with a branch of rosemary. The punch's ingredients are Bourbon, Lemon juice, Green tea syrup, Honey and a cold infusion of thyme and rosemary.
Queen's Park Swizzle
Next up is a drink that isn't yet on the menu: Queen's Park Swizzle. Allan describes this great tasting cocktail as the national drink of Trinidad & Tobago. The cocktail is mixed by rubbing a special 'swizzle stick'. The ingredients include lime, demerara sugar, Barbados rum and Angostura bitters.
The Mezcal-Mulita has a fresh herbal taste
The next drink is special. The Mezcal-Mulita has a strong and fresh herbal taste. Its ingredients include Mezcal (Tequila but different), Basil, Lime, Gingerbeer, Ancho Reyes, Mexican bell pepper liqueur, Agave syrup and cucumber.
Take flight with the Jungle Bird
The Jungle Bird is a fresh twist on the original Tiki cocktail created in the 1970s. It's mixed with lime juice, strawberry jam, cognac, Campari, rum, pineapple juice and plum bitters. It's a bittersweet drink, thanks in part to the addition of Campari. "The Junglebird is like the Tiki version of a Negroni," says Brown. "It's a drink that bartenders often drink because of the complex taste."
Which cocktail is highly recommended?
"If you're ever at the Shack, you must try our infamous Zombie." As it turns out, the Zombie Allan is referring to is a blend of seven different rums, three different juices, two syrups and two different kinds bitters served in a mug as big as your head. "What Mike Tyson is for boxing, the Zombie is for our menu. It’s a heavyweight if you know what I mean!" Due to the cocktail's potency, there's a maximum of two servings of Zombie per guest.
When is the best time to visit Mick's Tiki Shack?
"We are only open on Fridays and Saturdays, we start pouring at 20:00 and we stop pouring around 01:00. I think the best days are Saturdays before going out partying with friends or to drink a cocktail after having dinner or watching a movie, or just to enjoy a couple of drinks with some good company.
Are reservations necessary?
Are reservations necessary?
Because it’s a small bar we advise to make a reservation to assure your seats, but if you don’t want to make a reservation just drop by. You will be seated at the bar or at a table you get a short introduction of what we do at the shack and the menu explanation. Then the fun part begins and we take you on our flavour journey."
About Allan Brown - Head bartender at Mick's Tiki Shack
One of the main reasons why people flock to Mick's Tiki Shack is Allan Brown. The head bartender at the Tiki Shack is an up and coming bartender in the Rotterdam cocktail scene. Allan Brown is a native from Aruba who has been living in Rotterdam for over a decade. Allan is a guy who's passionate about cocktails and hospitality.
Over the past years, this passion has resulted in a lot of praise and accolades. In 2018, Brown was chosen as Rotterdam’s most loveable bartender by indebuurt.nl. Not shy of experimentation, he has also collaborated with two Amsterdam-based bartenders in launching their own gin called Hooghoudt Batch #2. He's also the winner of the 2018 Sir Edmond gin and sound competition.
Location: Mick's Tiki Shack
Mick's Tiki Shack is a place where time files and cocktails flow. It's located on Karel Doormanstraat 1, in Rotterdam centrum, on the first floor of the Mad Mick’s Breakaway cafe.
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