Ventana Magazine Stops by for a Little Fun
By Lisa Snider
Despite its downtown location, you’re sure to feel like a castaway at VenTiki Lounge & Lanai. With its piped-in ukulele music and occasional orchestrated volcanic eruption, you can almost hear ripe coconuts falling to the ground. Cocktails are taken seriously here—you won’t find a drop of pineapple juice in the Mai Tai, which is made the proper way, right down to the hand-smacked mint leaves called for in the original recipe created by Trader Vic’s in Oakland in the 1930s.
“In the tiki community, we believe in traditional garnishes to accentuate the drink,” says Dr. Shocker, VenTiki’s manager and self-proclaimed evangelist preaching the gospel of tiki.
The first tiki movement came about when World War II soldiers returned home from the Pacific, but became a fad in the ‘70s when original drink recipes were lost and adulterated. “The ‘70s were the dark days of cocktails,” explains Dr. Shocker. “These drinks are part of the craft cocktail movement and made the correct way: light and refreshing and balanced, not sickeningly sweet.”
Since opening 15 months ago, the quirky little bar has become a popular locals’ hangout, and a regular stop for Ventura Food Tours. Drinks made with myriad ingredients are served in intricate tiki mugs and sometimes set ablaze.
“The Alter of Sacrifice—it just screams it needs fire.” Made with lime vodka, two kinds of bitters, and spiced vanilla syrup, it certainly does.....Read More