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Tiki? Tikki? Tiki Bar? Enlighten me

Kris in Beijing Mar 31, 2013 01:43 PM

On more than one current post, CHers are lamenting the demise and disappearance of THE TIKI BAR.

At the ripening age of 44 with a completely nonalcoholic background, I'm clueless. Say "tiki" to me, and I think two things--
The Tikitikitiki tiki barrrr song from Disney
Dishes enhanced with canned Dole heated through with Heinz. and called Polynesian.
OH-- and I guess I get a "bamboo hut" image.
But that's all.

So-- definitions? Menus? Must haves? Stories? Glories? [and maybe a few horrors to boot]

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  1. JMF RE: Kris in Beijing Mar 31, 2013 01:54 PM

    Tiki was sort of a faux Polynesian food and "tropical" drinks from the late 1930's through 1970, and in some places still going strong. The restaurants have very fanciful Polynesian themed interiors, and exteriors for some as well. The drinks were complicated with all kinds of house made syrups and mixes, using fresh fruit and juices, and typically very strong. The recipes were usually kept secret, and the drinks are very good.

    I recommend the books be Jeff "Beachbum" Berry. The three to get are Beachbum Berry Remixed, a compilation of his first two books, Sippin' Safari, and one food one, can't remember the name. they have tons of accurate history, and hundreds of the original recipes that he tracked down.

    4 Replies
    1. re: JMF
      Kris in Beijing RE: JMF Mar 31, 2013 04:56 PM

      I'm still not a drinker, although I cook with wine when I want/can.

      So nonalcoholic versions of many of these drinks would be...okay? They 'd turn into complex smoothies?

      1. re: Kris in Beijing
        linguafood RE: Kris in Beijing Mar 31, 2013 04:58 PM

        They'd basically be a bunch of fruit juices mixed together, plus syrup. Eh.

        1. re: linguafood
          Kris in Beijing RE: linguafood Mar 31, 2013 05:03 PM

          Sounds justtttt like the chain smoothie places' recipe, plus ice.

        2. re: Kris in Beijing
          JMF RE: Kris in Beijing Mar 31, 2013 05:53 PM

          I'll post some non-alcoholic tiki drinks. I just have to pull them out of my files tomorrow.

      2. linguafood RE: Kris in Beijing Mar 31, 2013 02:37 PM

        Zombie is a good example for a tiki drink.

        1. Veggo RE: Kris in Beijing Mar 31, 2013 02:51 PM

          Check out Kipling's Rikki Tikki Tavi, or Donovan's Rikki Tikki Tavi mongoose is gone (there are reggae versions that are better). Tiki bar definition? On the water, thatch palapa roof over pole frame. Menu? Bar seafood - coconut shrimp, blackened fish sandwiches, blender drinks. Must haves? Either a Caribbean/Jamaican beat, or straight teeth and cleavage. Stories? I plead the fifth. Many hours under the thatch here. Glories? Ask her. Horrors? No, it's all good.

          1. Perilagu Khan RE: Kris in Beijing Mar 31, 2013 04:49 PM

            If you're really interested, you might lay your hands on a copy of Trader Vic's cookbook. I've got one published in '68. It provides a good cross-section of Tiki dishes, and drinks, too, I bleeve.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Perilagu Khan
              foodieX2 RE: Perilagu Khan Mar 31, 2013 06:22 PM

              I went to Trader Vics on NYE in 1980? 81? Amazing! The height of cool for someone under the legal drinking ageā€¦

            2. s
              sedimental RE: Kris in Beijing Mar 31, 2013 05:51 PM

              I have one!

              I converted a covered area outside into an outdoor tiki bar 1940 to1960 era. It is a big hit with my friends and family. Bamboo bar and bar stools, ceiling fan, tabletop grill, blender, rat pack music and Elvis on the outside stereo, vintage candleholders and tiki masks, vintage bar wear: wood tiki mugs, vintage Polynesian coasters, 50's glass wear and app plates. Specialites of the house are Mai tai's and zombies. Rumaki and chicken skewers are popular.

              Very fun.

              5 Replies
              1. re: sedimental
                sedimental RE: sedimental Mar 31, 2013 06:02 PM

                You will need orgeat for many fun tiki drinks.

                1. re: sedimental
                  Kris in Beijing RE: sedimental Mar 31, 2013 06:18 PM

                  Rat Pack - Tiki connection?

                  I KNOW I could go a'googling, but you guys are going to give me so much more... right? : )

                  1. re: Kris in Beijing
                    JMF RE: Kris in Beijing Mar 31, 2013 06:30 PM

                    Never heard of a Rat Pack tiki connection.

                    1. re: Kris in Beijing
                      JMF RE: Kris in Beijing Mar 31, 2013 06:31 PM

                      Heck, just buy Berry's books, cheap on Amazon.

                      1. re: Kris in Beijing
                        sedimental RE: Kris in Beijing Mar 31, 2013 07:57 PM

                        My bar is a 50s and 60s tikibar. My decor and ambiance is of that era. A bit kitschy to say the least ....Elvis Blue Hawaii, etc. I modeled it after my families tiki rooms during that time. Many of my relatives had them. I guess they were just super cool...uh....or maybe just big drinkers.?

                        My aunt and uncle had a "lanai" also (but I didn't go that far).... :)

                    2. jmcarthur8 RE: Kris in Beijing Mar 31, 2013 07:50 PM


                      Kris, take a look at this story of the Kahiki. I never heard it called a tiki bar back when I was a kid and we used to go there.
                      It was a magical place to me at 12 years old!

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