The tiki drink trend took off in the 1950's after Ernest Raymond Beaumont Gantt of Louisana, or Don the Beachcomber, visited the South Pacific in the 1930's. When he returned to Hollywood, he opened a tiki-themed bar of the same name shortly thereafter and started serving up exotic-themed cocktails that loosely translated from what he experienced abroad, although were not accurate renditions of drinks from the South Pacific. Instead, the tropical island cocktails took off in the American cocktail market, and became a staple drink that dreams of faraway places and warm weather.
The tiki drink as we know it today is any variation of a strong rum-base, with sweet liqueurs and tropical fruit flavors such as orange, coconut, passion fruit, pineapple, and most likely with a miniature paper umbrella and a cherry on top. As VinePair writes, tiki drinks "taste like summer." While the popular drinks continued to be in demand during the middle of the 20th century, Behind the Bar highlights their decline in the 1990's. Only in the 2000s did they pick back up again.
Whether you're a tiki connoisseur or have never sampled one, Nation's Restaurant News calls them "the original craft cocktail," so you would be remiss not to jump on the resurgent tiki trend and try some of these delicious mixes. We've compiled a list of tiki recipes from our very own backyard from Portland, Maine restaurants. So while you're sipping on a slice of summer sun, you're also sampling an original local mix.
The Restaurant Recipes
More Tiki Inspiration from our Library