Voyage to the Amazon
This time UnderTow Phoenix has really outdone itself. Voyage 6 has left for the Amazon jungle and nothing will ever be the same...Which is a fancy way of saying they revealed a new menu in September. I had a chance to attend their media open house and get a preview. It’s definitely my favorite menu yet. They only saved two speciality drinks from the old menu and pushed themselves hard with delicate flavors and difficult techniques. There are even more spirit forward cocktails this time including a coconut fat washed cocktail reminiscent of a Negroni, (but with better balance).
Tiki is a special genre of the cocktail world. It can seem foreign and odd to the outsider or kitschy and silly if done wrong. Jason Asher and his business partner Rich Furnari get it…. in a big way. Undertow is a story, it’s a journey and it’s meant to take to you to another place.
Remember that’s the entire point of the tiki movement when it began. To take us away from WWII and the difficulties of daily life and sweep us off to Polynesia at a time when most people couldn’t afford to travel. Today you know tiki is done right if you walk into a space and can leave the stress behind you and smile and laugh for a couple hours.
If you are wondering what happened to Voyages 3-5 they intentionally skipped it and went to 6. They took an option to jump ahead a few chapters in their storytelling.
The bar has added some new art pieces as well. An incredibly detailed shrunken head of the famous Captain from the story. Also a nearly life like giant Dodo bird. If he seems familiar you will find him in the painting that showed up during Voyage 2. There are more touches, but I don’t want to spoil all the fun for you so I’ll just say look out for the blow darts.
The bar is fairly dark so it may be difficult for you to sit and read the story that covers the pages of the menu. You can take your own copy home for $20. These hard cover, gold embossed drink menus are pretty enough to display… and who doesn’t love a great story?
If you find yourself in Phoenix this really is a must see place. Warning though. It’s a tiny hidden bar in the basement of a coffee shop. and it’s very popular, especially on weekends. People come from all over the country to have an Undertow Experience. Do yourself a favor go to their website and get a reservation. They are limited to 90 minutes, they don’t offer food, and you must arrive on time. The drinks are very strong so I advise you to have a good meal before coming and take an Uber/Lyft car home. There are too many wonderful things on the menu to drink to limit yourself.
Time to grab that Hawaiian shirt or mumu dress and orchid for your hair and head on down.