It’s time to escape the late summer doldrums and the accompanying angst that proceeds the return of the tedious nine-to-five and mundane academic routines. Disappearing near you now are the long leisurely sunset suppers, the walks on endless beaches, and days sailing, surfing, playing golf, tennis, or just a splashy afternoon in the pool. On everyone’s mind right now is: “How did the summer pass so darn fast?!”
Well, I’ve a simple solution that will help slow the days down, perfect for a Labor Day Celebration, that offers immersive escapism, retro-fun foods, and rather potent cocktails that can be sipped directly out of a ceramic Easter Island Head!
Tiki Bars hit it big in the 1950’s and 1960’s in the United States, but their history goes back to the 1933 when Don the Beachcomber opened in Los Angeles. Trying to emulate the aesthetics he encountered in his South Pacific travels, founder Ernest Gantt hung his souvenirs of masks, fishing nets, tropical torches and fabrics, along with lots of bamboo and tropical plants, to create a unique environment.
In 1936, Victor Bergeron took the look one step further and created Trader Vic’s, which flourished in an upscale market - it even had an outpost for two decades at The Plaza in New York City!
Even Walt Disney was captured by the craze a designed his first audio-animatronic attraction at Disneyland, The Enchanted Tiki Room - “Where the birds sing words, and the flowers croon!”
By the 1970’s cultural shifts, and changing tastes, left the tiki bars as being antiquated, irrelevant, and rather tacky and camp. Yes, a few of them did survive, and are fun places to visit - but if you are not near one, I’ve compiled a great menu to offer your guests. When was the last time you had a Pupu Platter… with COCONUT SHRIMP?! (take a look at the Brian Beal Moore Catering's inspired Tiki Bar Menu below)
So don your loudest Hawaiian Shirt, slap on some Hai-Karate, and play Don Ho on the Hi-fi… it will be a swell time!
How to Make a Mai Tai
(makes one cocktail)
1 oz (2 tablespoons) dark rum
1 oz (2 tablespoons) amber rum
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1/2 oz (1 tablespoon) Cointreau or triple sec
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon orgeat syrup* or 1 drop pure almond extract
1 teaspoon superfine granulated sugar
Dash of grenadine
Garnish: an orange slice
Shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with 1 cup ice cubes, then strain into a glass filled with ice cubes.
*Available at Fortunes Coffee Roastery Inc. (888-327-5282)