Behind Bars: Die Blume von Hawaii, Nuremberg
One would not necessarily expect the heart of Franconia to be a hotspot for the Tiki culture in general and its associated cocktails like Mai Tai or Planter’s Punch in particular. Yet, at “Die Blume von Hawaii“ (Hawaii’s flower), Thomas Stingl is trying to accomplish exactly that. An exciting invitation: Thomas Henry goes Hawaii!
In case you don’t know, here is what “Tiki“ is all about. A “Tiki“ is a large or small wooden or stone carving in humanoid form, originating from Hawaii, Polynesia and New Zealand. American soldiers brought the figurines back home with them from WW2 tours. When Hawaii became a U.S. state in 1959 and subsequently a new and exotic tourist destination, many more people got exposed to Tiki culture, mainly through necklaces, peculiar looking pieces of furniture and special kind of drinking cups in which sweet cocktails were being served. The tradition of these drinks is much older, though. Cocktails like Mai Tai or Zombie were originally created in 1930’s California, at “Trader Vic’s“ in Oakland.
Tiki blossoming in Nuremberg
It is Thomas Stingl’s passion to introduce his guests to that very Tiki culture. Before he opened “Die Blume von Hawaii“ in 2014 – he borrowed the unusual name from an operetta by the Hungarian composer Paul Abraham – Stingl had other plans with his fascination for Tiki. For years, he had been collecting records from Hawaii and originally wanted to publish a book, dedicated to the colorful artwork on the album sleeves. He was working at “Bar Europa“ around that time, where Mai Tai and other Tiki cocktails based upon the original recipes were served and proofed to be extremely popular among guests. Trying to gain as much knowledge as possible about these cocktails, he suddenly realized that opening his own place purely dedicated to Tiki cocktails would be the way to go. Finding the perfect place for his bar took 4 years. Located in the historic center of Nuremberg, he finally found a small and cosy spot, designed for roughly 40 guests. Bamboo decor sets the mood, the staff is wearing Hawaiian shirts, the furniture with its red padded bar stools and accompanying lightning is reminiscent of an American diner, ca. 1960. For good reason. Of course, he hung the sleeves of his aforementioned record collection up on the walls.
It’s not about juice
There are 40 cocktails on the menu, which he and his team revise every 4 months completely. There is a lot of unusual stuff to discover. “People don’t realize that ingredients you’d normally use for baking, like vanillin or bitter almonds are great for cocktails, too“, he says. Many of his creations consist of a dozen or more ingredients. Juice is important, but not the focus. “We only use 20 ml of pineapple juice per drink, not 100 ml.“ For his “Bourbon Special“, he combines Bourbon Whiskey, fresh lime juice, sugar syrup, angostura bitters, Falernum (a rum-based syrup) and Thomas Henry Spicy Ginger. The filler is not added last, though. Stingl puts it in the shaker, too. This way, the cocktail surprises with its spicy sweetness while the tingling of the carbon dioxide is even more subtle. “We want to put an end to the cliché that a Tiki cocktail is basically nothing more than juice
adulteration.“ His guests appreciate this very much. “Die Blume von Hawaii“ is a very busy place, for obvious reasons. Aloha, Nuremberg!
Die Blume von Hawaii