When I first started getting into cocktails, Tiki drinks were a curiosity. I would see Greg from How to Drink ditch his plaid & apron for a Hawaiian shirt & eschew citrus zests for orchids, all while waxing poetically about complicated concoctions with rum, juices, & a multitude of other ingredients for which I had no reference. How does one acquire such a rum collection to make all these? How do I know which rums to get? What are all these extra ingredients? There was no Tiki bar in sight & no simple way to answer all my questions. That started me down a path of exploration, admiration, and finally, full blown passion.
I hope that by sharing my journey & what I’ve learned, I can accelerate that process for you.
But first off… What even IS Tiki?
One of the wonderful places featured in this video, Latitude 29 in New Orleans, belongs to Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, a historian of Tiki who alone played a huge part in making sure that we know our Donn’s Spices #2 from our Gardenia Mix. He’s got a few valuable words on the history & application of Tiki…
Great… but how do I make the damn things??
That’s a whole other can of worms. The history of Tiki is fascinating, but the application of it allows just as much nerding out. I’ve taken the best of my knowledge and distilled it down because God knows it isn’t easy to find all this information.
Okay, no go buy & make all of that….
Great! Now, it’s the best of times, & that’s all the time, because it’s Tiki time! 🗿
All joking aside, exploring the craft of Tiki drinks & Tikifying your home bar are wonderfully rich experiences. It doesn’t take much but a bit of effort to take part in a moment in culture that’s still happening; one that is rich in personality & even gives Disney Magic a run for its money (it’s no surprise that Disney was among the first to do Tiki & still does it very well).
And so, I hope I’ve helped you on your journey. This is the kind of thing I wish I saw when I first started looking into Tiki.
For a whole lot more info than I can ever tell you, check out the books of Martin Cate & Jeff Berry. And, as always…
Okole Maluna 🍹