At Hale Pele, the women next to us were depressed.
"We're here drinking eggnog," she said, sadly, "and that guy's drink is freaking on fire!"
Don't be like those women.
At the 4-year-old thatched and tiki-pillared Northeast Broadway rum club, there is fake thunder and lightning that strikes once an hour. The lamps are shaped like pufferfish, and the "rain" comes out of hoses. But at the nationally acclaimed bar that takes rum so seriously it helped reclaim the once-maligned tiki cocktail for modern mixology, the fire is very, very real.
The drink that made the women so unhappy was the Krakatoa—a mixture of elements every bit as volatile as those baking-soda-and-vinegar volcanoes from grade school. It contains both caffeine and liquor, both fire and ice. It is a deeply boozy slushie of aged Jamaican rum, citrus, cinnamon and cold-brew coffee served with an impressively flaming bit of sugared citrus resting gracefully atop a mountain of crushed ice.
Somehow all this excess inspires moderation: Try to drink it too soon, and you might lose a bit of your eyebrows to the fire. Drink too fast, and you get brain freeze. The reminders are needed: It goes down smooth and is intense with both uppers and downers, the recipe for a Eurotrash night if left unchecked.
Also on fire at Hale Pele? A rendition of Don the Beachcomber's classic citrus-and-cinnamon Jet Pilot using a potent blend of aged rums. And if you're feeling especially festive, the signature boozy volcano bowl is served in a special goblet whose center is made only for fire, which blasts a frightening 6 inches high.
Even on the coldest nights, the fire isn't enough to warm you. But it will distract you until the firewater warms you from within.
Welcome to the Portland Winter Bucket List
Soaking in Bagby Hot Springs Is a Portland Rite of Passage
The Yard Apartment Building Now Has a Fancy Indoor Hot Spring
Huber's Historic Spanish Coffee Is an Institution, But Not As Old As You Might Think
Catch a Fire at Hale Pele, One of the Nation's Great New-Wave Tiki Bars
Out In East Portland, a Zen Master of Tea Brings You Into the Moment
One of Portland's Top Chefs is Reviving the Russian Tea Tradition
The Grotto is a Shrine To Old Portland Tradition
Cheer The Fuck Up, With This Local DIY Choir
Timberline Lodge is Oregon's Most Famous Building, And a Decent Hotel
Suttle Lake Lodge Brings New Portland Sensibilities To The Wilds of Central Oregon
You Can See The Next Kevin Garnett at the Les Schwab Invitational
Former Blazer Terry Porter is Making University of Portland Hoops Relevant
Dan & Louis has Been Shucking Oysters Downtown for a Century
Get Tipsy and Eat Oysters You've Never Seen Before in a Grocery-Store Fish Market
Macy's Santaland Brought Back its Wonderful Kiddie Train (Sorta)
Sit On Hipster Santa's Lap Because…Portlandia
Your Last-Chance List of Now-or-Never Winter Deadlines in Portland