Tiki Drinks A – Z
Although the Tiki is rightly thought of as being the figurehead of Polynesian Pop, there is something else that captures its kitsch and mystique just as colorfully : the Tiki drink.
No excursion into this strange and fascinating era of American pop culture would be complete without a look at it, for Tiki drinks were meant to be just as mysterious and enchanting as Tiki himself.
Popping with strikingly vibrant colors and garnishments, each of them was a Technicolor wonder to behold, meant to be savored as much as consumed.
The exact ingredients themselves were often a mystery. Although rum was usually the most common and easily identifiable ingredient, many others remained a secret to patrons of this era, who could only wonder at the infinite variety and combinations of spirits and juices that they were imbibing, or their supposedly exotic origins.
Donn Beach added to this mystique by refusing to label his ingredients, instead using numbers and letters to identify each one so that his staff could not copy and disseminate his recipes.
Perhaps the subject of even more speculation were the off-beat monikers given to many of these creations: Doctor Funk of Tahiti, Samoan Fog Cutter, the Suffering Bastard, the Vicious Virgin, Missionary’s Downfall and many others.
Adding to all of this cheeky exoticism, many Polynesian-themed restaurants had as their crème de la crème the “Mystery Drink.” At the sound of a ceremonial gong, a scantily-clad island girl would bring forth a communal drinking bowl to a table of patrons, the drink often smoking with dry ice or blazing with fire . The Mai Kai in Ft. Lauderdale is one of the few that still does this.
Taste-wise, unlike many of the sickly sweet tropical drinks that curse our modern age, the very best Tiki drinks from this era had a carefully multilayered taste that subtly straddled the line between sweet and sour, heavy and light, fruity and dry. No doubt about it, for true mixologists such as Trader Vic or Donn Beach, the creation of each and every Tiki drink was a labor of love.
Below are pages and recipes for some of the most popular and well-known Tiki drinks. Are there any you don’t see here but think should be included? Let me know and I’ll add them.
Big Bamboo Love Song
Chocolate Black Russian
Colonel's Big Opu
Doctor Funk of Tahiti
Doctor Funk's Son
Eastern Whiskey Sour
Gun Club Punch
Jamaican Me Crazy
Lei Lani Volcano
Montego Bay Cocktail
Passion Fruit Cocktail
Ponce De Leon
Queen's Park Swizzle
Samoan Fog Cutter
Sex on the Beach
Tahitian Rum Punch
Tiki Mai Tai