Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tiki Drinks? Yes, Please!

Well, the weekend is over. Monday is over. It's Tuesday. And if I was brainless and vapid like Hoda and Kathy Lee, I would call Tuesdays "Tiki Tuesday." But I am not that lame. Yet.

But I do want to reminisce about tiki drinks......

*Cue Martin Denny music as I stare off into space remembering Zombies and Scorpions past.*

Some say that Tiki Culture began in the United States in 1934 with the opening of Don the Beachcomber, a Polynesian themed bar and restaurant in Hollywood. The restaurant featured exotic rum drinks and rattan furniture. Donn Beach, founder of Don the Beachcomber is credited with singlehandedly creating the tropical drink genre with such drinks as the Scorpion and the Zombie. In fact, legend has it that Howard Hughes (pre-recluse days), consumed so many Zombies at Don the Beachcomber that he struck and killed a pedestrian one night while driving home. Allegedly.

There was also Trader Vic's, which started in Oakland and eventually grew to be a worldwide chain. It is currently the only major tiki-themed chain still operating. But, Don the Beachcomber found a new home in Huntington Beach. Side note- I have been to the relocated Don the Beachcomber and have graced them with my drunken charms over a few too many Dark and Stormies. Don't let the name Whiskey Darling fool you; I also enjoy my ginger ale and dark rum:)

Oh, and guess what? Victor Bergeron, aka Trader Vic, and Donn Beach both claimed to have invented the Mai Tai.  They did not, however, fight over the invention of the sugary drink hangover.

Which brings us to the tiki mug. Aside from being the BEST vessel in which to deliver alcohol to oneself, it is also believed to have been pioneered by Donn Beach. Tiki mugs hit their peak in the 1960's, then made a resurgence in the late 1980's and 1990's. Original tiki mugs from Don the Beachcomber or Trader Vic's go for a lot of money today, so if you got one from Nana and Pop Pop's trip to Hollywood in the 1960's, then you might want to do a little ebay research. Or stop using it as a pencil holder.

Don't have a tiki mug? Well, how about a tiki mug necklace? It's made by a girl who got really drunk on Dark and Stormies at Don the Beachcomber, so it's like, famous.

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