Tiki Huna’s Trent Kesterson challenged himself to make a carrot cocktail—with wonderful results

Photography by Kayla Masisak

Carrots are an uncommon ingredient in cocktails, which is exactly why Trent Kesterson wanted to use them. Kesterson is the owner of Tiki Huna and develops the drink recipes, including a seasonal creation using carrots that he calls The Scenic Root.

“Every time we change the menu, I like to give myself a curveball ingredient, Iron Chef-style, just to see if I can come up with something,” he says. “This time it was carrot juice because I really wanted to see a bright-orange cocktail.”

The resulting drink is, indeed, bright orange, with an earthy sweetness that remains tropical and fits with the rest of the menu at Tiki Huna, which is among the containers at the Iron District in North KC and is currently the only full-time tiki bar in KC. But it wasn’t just for looks.

“The earthy qualities led me to use a golden raisin-infused rich simple syrup and add the herbal spice of allspice dram and Campari,” Kesterson says. There’s a little fresh lemon and orange to give a pucker of sourness. 

The rums, though, are “the most important part” of this drink, as they are in most tiki cocktails. There are four in The Scenic Root, starting with a base of two different aged rums, then a grassy rhum agricole and a funky overproof Jamaican rum “to round things out.” “Because,” Kesterson says in the ancient words of IronChef, “why not?”

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