By Kevin Wilkerson, PubClub.com Nightlife Blogger
When you travel, it’s important to immerse yourself in the local flavor of a place and for PubClub.com, that means one thing: drink what the local drink or try out a destination or restaurant/bar’s signature item.
Catalina Island, 26 miles across the sea from Los Angeles, has a signature cocktail and the main town of Avalon has an additional two. These are the three must-to signature cocktails to have when you are traveling to Avalon on Catalina Island.
By the way, other than the main liquor in it, I’m not putting down all the ingredients. Why? Because that’s not really important; what is important is the taste, the potency and the uniqueness of these Catalina Island cocktails.
1.) The Wiki Wacker, Luau Larry’s
With a name like the Wiki Wacker at a place called Luau Larry’s, you can no doubt start to hear Hawaiian music and picture grass skirts swaying in the breeze. Yes, Luau Larry’s is a tiki bar and it is known far and wide (at least to Southern Californians) for it’s wild Wiki Wacker.
The Wiki Wacker is rum based, of course, and is served in a Pat O’Brien’s style of Hurricane glass. It is full of rum and juices and is delicious. It also packs quite the alcoholic punch so rookies and lightweights are to proceed with caution.
The best thing about the Wiki Wacker, tho, is that it comes with an awesome straw hat (ideal for wearing to Jimmy Buffett concerts) and it’s hilarious to see people laughing and staggering back to the cruise ships, boats and even through town wearing the Wiki Wacker hat.
Avalon veterans know where those people have been and what they drank.
If you’re only going to stick with one drink in Avalon, this is the one.
2.) Buffalo Milk, Pretty Much Any Restaurant Or Bar
Catalina Island actually has buffalo on it. Oh, you won’t see them roaming through town like a horse in an old Western; they are on the rugged interior of the island, held in by huge gates. They were brought to the island in 1924 by a movie production company to use in a film, although accounts vary which movie, either The Vanishing American or The Thundering Herd.
Well, some ambitious bartender along the way decided to create a cocktail named after the creatures and thus, Catalina Island is home to the Buffalo Milk. Vodka is its alcohol base and it actually resembles an espresso coffee in a taller glass.
The best ones on the island are at Two Harbors, a sailboater’s paradise that’s halfway across the island. But you sure can find them in Avalon at just about any bar or restaurant.
You can also find the island’s signature food, the Buffalo Burger. The meat, tho, comes from buffalo in South Dakota and not on Catalina. So they say, anyway.
3.) Descanso Destroyer, Descanso Beach Club
This is Avalon’s secret weapon when it comes to cocktails. The aptly-named Descanso Destroyer is only available at Descanso Beach Club at the far end of Avalon (keep walking past the casino, which is not actually a casino).
There you will find a small beach club with a bar (and now zip-lining) and the drink there is to have is the Descanso Destroyer. Heavy on the rum and juices, it’s kind of a cousin to the Wiki Wacker.
It’s my advice to start there and then make your merry way over to Luau Larry’s for the Wiki Wacker. Start first with a Buffalo Milk at Descanso, drink some water so you don’t immediately mix the alcohols and then switch to the rum drinks.
Either that or if you’re staying on Avalon, then go back to your room, take a power nap, and have the Buffalo Milk as an appetizer to dinner.
For more on where to drink in Avalon, read PubClub’s complete guide to the best bars on Avalon (including the noisy bar in Avalon mentioned in the Crosby, Stills & Nash song “Southern Cross.”)