Things To Do

The Best Events at Hukilau 2018

Photo by Alex Markow
If you've ever wanted to create your own tiki cocktails, this year's Hukilau is the place to be. The next three days will be a whirlwind of classic tiki-inspired Americana, and for those who love the culture and want to learn more, Fort Lauderdale's annual event now offers a series of classes and symposiums geared toward the aspiring tikiphiles.

The Hukilau has a long history in Fort Lauderdale, beginning with founders Christie White and Tim Swanky Glazner, giving rise to what is now the 16th-annual Hukilau, a four-day festival celebrating Polynesian pop culture while also honoring the city's Mai-Kai Restaurant, among the nation's oldest tiki locations.

In Hawaii, the term "hukilau" refers to the ancient method of fishing in which villagers would cast large nets into the sea to herd fish to shore. The feast that followed was meant to emphasize the spirit of family and community. Fort Lauderdale's annual Hukilau is South Florida's metaphorical net, bringing the world's tiki fans together for a special celebration.

This year, the event includes a number of themed symposiums, classes, art shows, musical performances, and cocktail stations presenting some of the world's leading tiki aficionados. Expect bands such as the Intoxicators and Black Flamingos, artists such as Tiki Diablo, and new bars from London, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas.

Here are the top events with tickets still available.
click to enlarge PHOTO BY NICOLE DANNA
Photo by Nicole Danna
Friday, June 8

Blending Rum. 11 a.m., $49. During this class, the world's first global rum ambassador, Ian Burrell, will cover the art and science of blending multiple rums in a cocktail to add complexity, layers, and strength. This class is a hands-on learning experience, and students will be able to select one of five bar tools designed by Tiki Diablo to take home.

The Rise, the Fall, the Resurrection, the Redemption. Noon, $15. Symposiums are a big part of the Hukilau, so one on the history of tropical restaurants and drinks seems fitting to start your journey into tiki culture. Musician/bartender Brother Cleve will take you through the decades as he highlights the most crucial elements that helped create the tiki culture we know today. Filled with photos, music, cocktails, and rare vintage video footage, it's everything you always wanted to know about tiki.

Birth of the Tiki Drink. 3:30 p.m., $49. Learn how to make two of tiki's most infamous cocktails, the Mai Tai and the Zombie. The bartenders from Pittsburgh's Hidden Harbor will cover the birth of tiki cocktails as we know them today and then lead you through the steps to make the best of the best.

Saturday, June 9

Tiki Garnishing Class.
11 a.m., $49. Learn to make classic tiki cocktails during this hands-on experience. Top bartenders from across the world lead the small class. Each student gets to take home one of five bar tools designed by Tiki Diablo.

Stocking Your Home Tiki Bar. 1 p.m., $49. If you've always wanted to make your own tiki cocktails at home but didn't know where to start, this class will get you ready. Christina Jordan of Florida-based Strawhat Barmen will guide you through the necessary items you'll need as part of your shopping list. As a contributor to Florida Today and author of Everyday Exotic Cocktails, Jordan knows how to simplify the tiki-cocktail process to make it fun and easy.

Rum + Lime + Sugar. 1:30 p.m., $49. Learn about the Holy Trinity of cocktails with Scotty Schuder, owner of the Paris tiki bar Dirty Dick. With one of the world's best tiki bartenders by your side, you'll get to know the basics of creating a balanced cocktail with three of tiki's most basic ingredients.

The Hukilau takes place at various locations in Fort Lauderdale this Wednesday, June 6, through Sunday, June 10. Visit for more information.