Curiosity thrills the cat.

Kuku Canukoo – aka Chuck – has a insatiable curiosity for creating cocktails. With 103 bottles of rum, all catalogued and printed in a menu for his guests, you might say he’s serious about his rum. He’s also thrilled with the process of coming up with new tiki drink recipes based on specific flavor combinations.

When we sat down to talk about the Tangaroa Tavern, his newly completed bar located in the basement of the home he grew up in, he served us his signature bar drink: “Half a Bubble Off Plum” a delicious concoction using a mix of rums, lime, ginger liquor, plum wine, plum simple syrup, and a splash of club soda. He spent three months trying different combinations, challenged by how to best combine plum and ginger as the key flavors. When a fellow mixologist friend suggested he try plum wine – the recipe fell into place.

Chuck’s advice for those building a home bar? Paint the walls a dark color if you plan to install Lauhala or other matting on the surface. Unfortunately, he learned this the hard way and wanted others to avoid this challenge.

Chuck has a picture wall that documents his visitors to Tangaroa Tavern. Within a few minutes, Chuck served me a cocktail, took my picture, printed it, and invited me to add it to his netted wall with a tiny clothespin. It was a fun and engaging way to become a part of his bar’s history.

Jojo and Lulu – sweet sister kitties – provided feline companionship and occasional pinup models for my visit. They were curious cats indeed.

But the real curious cat is Kuku Canukoo.

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