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Written by Katryna Vecella

Tropical Tastes at Rapu Nui in the Old Mill District

An Island Old Fashioned at Rapa Nui

Even Bendites can sometimes use a respite from the normalcy of everyday life. Paradise awaits without layovers or delays at Rapa Nui, located in the Old Mill District. One step into the tiki lounge and you’ve entered the land where the rum never runs dry, and if only for an hour, your problems fade away.

“A tiki bar is a style of bar that has been around since the early 1930s. Its beginnings were because Americans weren’t really traveling right after the Great Depression,” said Jared Schmidt, co-owner of Rapa Nui. “It was a way to escape our everyday lives without spending a fortune.”

Donn Beach, an American adventurer, opened the first “tiki” bar in Hollywood when Prohibition ended in 1933. He named the place Don the Beachcomber. The restaurant served potent cocktails in a tropical setting, and started a trend of tiki bars throughout the country. 

At Rapa Nui, iconic Easter Island statue heads, also called moai, a bright red volcano and tropical flowers lend to the immersive experience that goes along with classic tiki cocktails and Asian-influenced tropical food. If it weren’t for the unobstructed views of the Three Sisters from the patio seating, you may very well forget you’re still in Central Oregon. 

Make your own tiki cocktail at home. “The prep work for the ingredients in this cocktail can be a little intimidating,” said Schmidt. But you’re sure to forget that hard work after just a sip of an Island Old Fashioned.

Island Old Fashioned

2 ½ oz. coconut washed bourbon

¼ oz. house pimento syrup (an allspice dram)

7 drops pineapple infused bitters 

Dash Angostura bitters 

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir until chilled and combined. Strain into a rocks glass over a large ice cube. Garnish with an orange twist and pineapple frond. Put on your tropical shirt, unfurl a paper umbrella and enjoy!

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