Tiki Revival on Westminster

BARTENDER PROFILE – PUBLISHED IN PROVIDENCE MONTHLY 8/20/14

Tiki Revival on Westminster

Aurora adds seasonal flavor (and live music) downtown

BY CRISTY RAPOSO

Former Stonington, CT resident Audrey King came to Providence to study painting at RISD; she stayed because she liked the city so much. Try one of her refreshing sippers any Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. Be sure to ask her about her love for Luxardo Maraschino liqueur.

What is Aurora?
This is an arts and events space. Last night we had an experimental film showing followed by live bands. Local artwork is hung on the walls. We have a monthly salsa night. The bar is open even when there isn’t a scheduled event. Come in and enjoy pro- jected videos, films and music and a selection of bar snacks.

What will Aurora be known for?
Accessible craft cocktails. Some people are intimidated by craft cocktails but these are very simple and have a tiki vibe. Try our Painkiller – a frozen draft daiquiri – or the House Punch made from a really old recipe. Or enjoy a Slow & Low Old Fashioned on tap. Jay Carr from The Eddy is consulting on this project.

How old is the House Punch recipe?
It’s so old; George Washington drank it. It’s made with Appleton Estate Vx rum, Korbel brandy, Luxardo Maraschino liqueur, Paul Mason peach brandy, green tea and lemon.

Why the name, “Aurora?”
The owner, Buff Chace, named the space after Sleeping Beauty – a creature that wakes up from a ten-year sleep.

Which cocktails should not be missed?
Kosmos, which features a flaming orange peel. It’s made with Skinos, a Greek spirit that’s kind of birchy. Add Sobieski Cytron vodka, lime juice and Fruitations cranberry syrup. The flaming orange peel sends a spray of citrus oil; it adds a burnt orange flavor to the cocktail. Don’t miss the Boring (Alice) El Diablo made with a really good super spicy tequila; Tanteo Jalapeño Tequila, Merlet crème de cassis, lime juice and Barritt’s Ginger Beer.

How did you get into making exotic elixirs?

After graduating from RISD, I just fell into it. I was hired at a high volume bar with no experience. I like talking to people and hearing their stories. I like the banter and the bar atmosphere. I fell in love with craft cocktails. It’s a more creative version of bartending. You get to make different flavor com- binations. Test things out. It’s more visually pleasing. That’s what I like about tiki so much – crazy garnishes, just the whole esthetic of it is really fun. I just want to serve people drinks in coconuts.

What’s your favorite tiki cocktail?
Zataran Storm as featured in a Beachbum Berry tiki book. It’s made with Appelton Estate Jamaican Rum, Angostura bitters, Luxardo Maraschino liqueur, St. George raspberry liqueur, lime juice, vanilla syrup and ginger beer. It’s a little tart from the raspberry and spicy from the ginger. This drink combines all these different flavors and creates something totally new. It’s a well-balanced cocktail; no one flavor steals the show. I love the way it tastes.

What’s a good example of a tiki cocktail?

Mai Tai, but most people make that one wrong. Fresh lime juice, orange curacao, orgeat syrup, sugar syrup, dark Jamaican rum and Martinique rum. Orgeat syrup is what gives it its character, which I love. It’s awesome. It’s like almond and orange blossom water. Golden Dream is a good one, too. Made with Giffard triple sec, OJ, cream and Galliano served over crushed ice. It’s like an herbal orange creamsicle.

If you’re not in the mood for a tropical libation, what else can you order? 
We have craft beer, craft cocktails, a small selection of wine and specialty non-alcoholic drinks like the Roy Or- bison. It’s like a Shirley Temple, but cooler. It’s made with Jack Rudy small batch grenadine and ginger beer.

Raposo, Cristy. “Tiki Revival on Westminster.” Providence Monthly. Sep. 2014. www.providenceonline.com Web 20 August 2014.  http://www.providenceonline.com/stories/tiki-cocktails-bartender-interview-aurora-audrey-king-providence-rhode-island,12994

Audrey