Episode #029 – Tiki Cocktails

tiki cocktails - cocktail podcast

Tiki. One word, so many images in your head when you hear it. Colorful drinks. Colorful shirts. Island décor. Women whose hips simply cannot lie. And up until just a few years ago, it would probably have conjured up either:

  1. “Man, those frozen drinks and sugary syrups are terrible, I hate Tiki.”
  2. “Man, I can’t feel my face anyway so Tiki is cool with me #yolo.” (And yes, you’d have actually said “hashtag yolo.”)

But not anymore.

Tiki has seen a resurgence just like the bygone eras of Prohibition-era (and pre-Prohibition) styles of drinking. And while pre-Prohibition tavern culture can find some of its roots in other countries (e.g. New Orleans bars’ having a French-feel), Tiki is actually uniquely American, even though it is an appropriation.

We can talk all day about the history of Tiki (and we have A Most Brief History of Tiki article for you), but Tiki came out of post-Prohibition Hollywood as an escape from the realities of a country in the depths of the Great Depression. Tiki, in its original form, was a release. There’s a degree to which that’s still true today, with the resurgence of this bar form in full swing across the country.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • What Tiki actually is
  • The roots of Tiki drinks
  • Why fresh fruit juices matter
  • How to build a Tiki drink
  • Why home bartending has its limits when it comes to Tiki

Hold up—what was that last one?

  • Why home bartending has its limits when it comes to Tiki

Okay, okay, okay—yes, this is a podcast about home bartending. And there are definitely some Tiki or Tiki-style drinks you should definitely be making in your home. But while we’re going to tell you about our home bartending experiments in Tiki, the best way to experience Tiki is to go to an actual Tiki bar near you.

UPDATE: Listen to this episode of Bartender at Large Interview with Martin Cate of Smugglers Cove

Other Features:

Smuggler’s Cove: Exotic Cocktails, Rum, and the Cult of Tiki by Martin Cate

Tiki Pop: America Imagines Its Own Polynesian Paradise by Sven Kirsten

A Set of 4 Tiki Mugs to get you started.

But seriously, get yourself a Hawaiian shirt. It’s gonna be a tasty summer.