Friends With Benefits: Adam Rains of the Golden Tiki
He won’t boast or draw attention to his talents, but Adam Rains certainly has the brass to back up his bartending skills. Last year he was the recipient of two special awards: the Nevada Restaurant Association award for drink specialist of the year, chosen by his peers and recognized for his drink quality and creativity; and the USBG Tony Abou-Ganim Paragon Award for his mix of creativity and knowledge of bartending. “There’s people smarter, with better personalities, probably make better drinks,” Rains says. “I personally just think that I have a love for it. I have a love for the game, the craft.”
Rains practices his craft as the lead bartender and tiki-attaché at one of the city’s most-unique watering holes, the Golden Tiki. After more than two decades of bartending in both San Diego and Las Vegas, last year Rains joined the Chinatown hot spot. “We have a really good collection of spirits, and the cocktails run the gamut: fruity tiki cocktails, to approachable, to complex, and we get to light stuff on fire—I mean, come on,” he says with a laugh.
Besides his lauded skills behind the bar, you can catch Rains in front of the microphone singing and playing guitar for his party time punk rock band, The Rhumones (he even performs at Golden Tiki occasionally).
“Golden Tiki is the essence of escapism,” Rains says. “It brings Vegas more Vegas. It’s 24 hours. It’s live entertainment every night. Different vibes depending on the time of day. Gamers, tiki-philes, happy hour crowd, college crowd partiers, dive bar people, industry people and then three, four in the morning it just gets weird, man—in the best way.”
Fainter Was the Sound of the Sea
While reading George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones, a line that says “fainter, the sound of the sea,” sparked creativity in Rains. First, he likes to choose a cocktail name inspired by novels, song titles, etc., and then he creates the drink’s flavor profile based on the words—thus the Fainter Was the Sound of the Sea cocktail, a mix of Grey Goose vodka, fresh ginger, galangal root, demerara, lime juice, mint and a hint of absinthe. Then it’s lit on fire. The taste is refreshing with some salinity, a balanced cocktail with a nice, clean finish and a little bit of heat from the mixture of ginger and galangal root.