Listen hard and you’ll hear the rumble of the distant jungle drums… They are calling you to romance… mystery… the magic of the far-off South Pacific! The throbbing drumbeats are your signal to escape the commonplace and come spend an enchanted evening dining in the pagan splendor of the South Sea Islands.
What is the cult of Tiki? Its birth began as an escapist fantasy for Depression-era Americans, allowing those beleaguered souls an evening where the cares of the everyday world could be forgotten in an atmosphere bedecked in tropical splendor, the sounds of Hawaiian music, the hand wrapped around the frosty glass of an exotic cocktail. Fueled by the imaginations of Earnest “Donn the Beachcomber” Grant and Victor “Trader Vic” Bergeron, Polynesian Pop took root in California and quickly spread across the US. The décor was there to make one feel as if they had stepped into a bar in the South Pacific, but it was the drinks that made the fantasy complete. Using rums as the base, layering multiple spices, fresh citrus juices, select liqueurs and bestowing exotic names (e.g. Mai Tai, Zombie, Navy Grog) in secret, closely guarded recipes, the cocktails created an exotic flavor that had never been experienced before. Perfectly balanced, not too sweet, the Tiki drinks were the original American craft cocktail. The Tiki culture teetered on the brink of extinction in the 80’s and 90’s as the cocktails morphed into sugary, watered-down impostors of their forerunners, a cocktail umbrella being enough to classify a drink as Tiki. The craft cocktail craze sweeping the US has resulted in a resurgence of Tiki, and the original drinks stand up well to their contemporary counterparts.
Watch this space to learn more about the cocktails that will be offered at the BYC’s own Tiki Night.