Tag Archives: theme

The History of the Tiki Cocktail

The Rise, Fall and Rise of…

tiki lounge


The origin of that great tiki cocktail, the Mai Tai, is murky water at best. To fully understand the where, when, who, why and how of the matter you have to go all the way back to the 1930’s!

As it stands the where and when of the original Mai Tai is pretty much set in stone; it’s the ‘who’ that’s the biggest query…

So let’s state for a fact: The Mai Tai was created in California back in the early 1900’s and was created by one of two cocktail legends: Victor ‘Trader Vic’ Bergeron or Ernest ‘Don the Beachcomber’ Gantt.

I won’t regale you with their two highly intriguing stories, at least no more than to say that Trader Vic’s story is the more plausible (and also sounds more naturally true). That said, if you want to read Vic’s or Don’s Mai Tai origin stories then click here

Arguably the most important factor in deciding who got the plaudits for the creation of the Mai Tai is that there are Trader Vic restaurants/bars across the world, and yet the same cannot be said for don the beachcomber establishments…

Although not taken directly from a trader vic restaurant this tiki inspired menu looks pretty darn amazing doesn't it?
Although not taken directly from a trader vic restaurant this tiki inspired menu looks pretty darn amazing doesn’t it?

That result for them both has led to Trader Vic’s being the go to establishment for truly authentic tiki themed bars/restaurants and, by way of necessity; they also stock one of the wealthiest collection of tiki cocktails (Click here for a link to the cocktail menu of Trader Vic’s London branch)…

So why are tiki cocktails a thing? Well when they first came about they accompanied some fantastic food recipes that were Polynesian inspired and boasted some bold and wonderful flavours. Now both Don the Beachcomber and Trader Vic translated the flavour combinations of their food into their drinks. This led to some stunning, and some strong, tiki cocktails entering the world of mixology and becoming synonymous with both American and tropical culture since…

A brief history in a timely fashion (yes this will be quick)

The tiki cocktail started with the opening of the very first ‘tiki’ restaurant back in 1934. Regardless of who invented the Mai Tai, it is clear to see that Don Beach was the first person to start mixing fresh syrups, juices and rum. This practice is what makes cocktail a true tiki cocktail and was carried out by both Vic and beach throughout the renaissance of the tiki cocktail, leading to some of the great cocktails we now see plastered across almost every menu in every bar we ever go to!

Of course huge events like the world wars and American prohibition all had extremely potent effects on the course of the tiki cocktail, whether they precede the tiki era or simply occurred during their height. Inevitably the novelty of tiki cocktails and their almost teleportation-like effects wore off and they fell out of fashion during the 1960’s – mainly due to the Vietnam war and an increased sensitivity to indigenous peoples and; the former taking away the ideals of living out your days on a beach paradise pretty much nailed the coffin of the tiki culture firmly shut.

Fear Not! Like a phoenix from the ashes the tiki cocktail is back in full force (hurrah). The best thing about reboots is the ability to do something right. Mostly.

Tiki cocktails are certainly on a rise, and this is probably buoyed on by the astonishing firework of a rise that rum is currently experiencing. Although, as I have mentioned briefly in my earlier posts tiki cocktails of the present day are experimenting with other spirits…

This current trend of craft cocktails taking on the tiki cocktails and introducing new and exciting directions, shows how far the cocktails of the tiki theme have come since their rather humble beginnings…

So from their creation stemming from the blood of the first Mai Tai, tiki cocktails evolved to include some rather stunning concoctions. Granted there are some that may not give you the best of evenings but if we’re honest with ourselves, drinking absinthe in copious amounts is never a decent decision…

Here's what you can expect if you order a tiki cocktail from a bar that prides itself on serving great cocktails...
Here’s what you can expect if you order a tiki cocktail from a bar that prides itself on serving great cocktails…

Look out for some of the best recipes from across the internet, from Classic Mai Tai’s to odd little Tequila-drenched Pina coladas, there is bound to be one cocktail for all tastes…

As a final note: This week will signal the end of my Tiki-Themed month and over the following couple of months I’ll be looking at something a little different. Keep an eye out near the end of the week for some (possibly) exciting news!

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Cocktails O’ Clock: Jericho’s Breeze

The apocalypse is fine and all, but I prefer the Ritz…

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Here’s to the end of the world… Well part of it anyway…

Here’s one for you: Have you ever seen/heard of the US TV show Jericho? – It’s a program starring Lenny James (The Walking Dead, Snatch), that great British actor with a touch of gold (everything I’ve seen him in has been pretty darn good), and follows the townsfolk of Jericho; No? Well what the hell! Check it out on Netflix or IMDB and find a way of seeing it, you will not be disappointed…

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A great show with a fantastic twist, unfortunately cancelled before it’s time, but still a very good watch…

Some of you may have gathered, although I’ve not made a point of it before, when I look for new cocktails to try out, I always try to find ones that can tie into a specific theme.

And this cocktail is not exception to that rule.

True sometimes a classic works wonders, but most of the time I like to theme my cocktail evenings; allowing for a better atmosphere for my friends, and also to make them even more fun (it’s always nice to drink apocalyptic themed cocktails when watching films/TV programs like The Walking Dead, Jericho, The Day After Tomorrow etc…

My process of thought when looking for this cocktail is for an upcoming apocalypse binge. Watching shows as those mentioned above, can really set a certain tense atmosphere in the house, and I feel that coming out with Martini’s or Pina Coladas would ruin it, burst the tensions bubble so to speak, so I like to theme my cocktails to add a deeper sense of theatricality to the evening.

These cocktails are not all my own recipes, it would take me weeks to come up with enough good quality cocktails for my friends, and I respect them enough (well just about enough) to not give them crappy cocktails (a famous genre of cocktails reserved for all those student recipes you thought tasted great but were actually better suited to stripping paint than ladling into your mouths).

So I gathered a few apocalypse-ish cocktails and this one, was really my favourite of the lot. I’ve included a link at the bottom of this post for a couple of god sources but this one, themed only in namesake, is themed towards the aforementioned Jericho TV series… Here’s the recipe (taken from Brian Lucas’ 365 cocktails):

Jericho Breeze Recipe:

(28ml) 1 measure Vodka

(21ml) ¾ measures Blue curacao

(70ml) 2 ½ measures sour mix*

(14ml) ½ measure lime juice

(5-10ml) 2 teaspoons orange juice

Dash sugar syrup

Top up Lemonade

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A representation of what your cocktail should look like when completed…
Picture courtesy of “21nogluten.wordpress.com”

Method:

1)      Shake all of the ingredients (except the lemonade) over ice and strain into a glass filled with crushed ice.

2)      Top up with the lemonade and garnish with a cherry and pineapple slice.

Whilst not as strong as the more ‘classic’ cocktails this one will certainly make you pay should you ‘neck them without thought. Sure it’s only a measure or two of alcohol, but 3-5 drinks later and you’ll feel them. That said if you drink responsibly then there’s no reason this cannot become one of your favourite sea-breeze type cocktails…

So pour a few out, and enjoy the fruity, light hearted fun with all of your friends…

Sour mix is a mixture of Lemon Juice, Lime Juice and sugar and can be purchased in some places, but is stupidly easy to make at home:

Sour Mix Recipe

(2 parts) 14ml Lemon Juice

(2 parts) 14ml Lime Juice

(1 part) 7ml Sugar Syrup

Stick to this ratio and you should be able to scale up your recipe without any problems. As with all syrups/mixes like this you might find you want more or less sugar/juice, in which case keep working out the kinks and find your perfect balance…

Gear Patrol Apocalyptic Cocktails

The Man Cave Cocktails

Alcohol Apocalypse

Countdown to the Apocalypse

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When facing the edge of the world it’s great to have a plan. Failing that it’s always worth having a cocktail as a back up plan. That way you can bow out in style…
“tonight we’ll sail to the edge of the world and watch the stars fall down” – Crown the Empire.