There’s no blender at this tiki bar.
There is, however, a classic daiquiri, Trader Vic’s-inspired mai tai and pina colada (Piscolda Punch) made with a base of clarified milk punch, which general manager and bar manager Jeremy Ross credits to Ben Franklin, that is not creamy but instead, he says, “a cleaner approach … without drinking a milkshake.”
There’s also cold brew coffee spiked with soju and MD 20/20, an ode to the 7-Eleven staple Mad Dog 20/20’s Electric Punch featuring Everclear infused with pink Starbursts.
This collection of a dozen cocktails (the full list is below) premieres tonight at Sense of Thai St.’s tiki pop-up, Ni ngæ̀ di . It’s a Thai word generally translated as having a positive outlook. Because this tiki bar is opening within a Thai restaurant, there’s a less overt tribute to Polynesian culture and also a nod to tropical drinks found on Thai beaches.
And then there’s a drink like Bittered Sling—bourbon, rye, Cappelletti Amaro, Italian vermouth and black walnut bitters—that reads like an extra boozy boulevardier, batched for four at $42. Says Ross, “It’s not tiki for the sake of the drink, but the party aspect and bringing people together.”
The restaurant section of Sense of Thai St. will remain the same, but the bar will transform into a straw hut, and Thai wooden fishing baskets will act as a chandeliers.
The pop-up starts tonight and lasts through Sept. 3. Ross is already plotting a wintertime pop-up and another one next summer. “Next time around,” he says, “I’ll have a slushie machine.” // Ni ngæ̀ di at Sense of Thai St.: 20413 Exchange St, Ashburn