Back in the simpler days of the 1950’s, when beginning-to-retire-now Baby Boomers were focused on Howdy Doody, slip-n-slides, hula hoops and Elvis, their parents were heading out the door to the kitsch-iest, wackiest place in town – the Tiki Bar.
Don the Beachcomber, Trader Vic’s and New Orleans’ own, Bali Hai at Pontchartrain Beach, all, in ersatz fashion, created the impression of being somewhere in the Hawaiian Islands or the South Pacific. Assuming your views of those places include small paper umbrellas, long straws, plastic mugs, strings of different colored blinking lights and Easter Island-style heads, without being buried in the sand and made of Styrofoam.
Don the Beachcomber, who created and fueled this wildly popular dining and drinking concept and was featured at scores of eponymous restaurants all over the world, was incidentally, born Ernest Gantt in that most exotic of island-mentality locales – New Orleans.
The crowning achievement of the era, Tiki Drinks, work well in spirits and food pairings, when coupled with coconut curry shrimp or a mélange known as a Poo-Poo Platter, usually flaming with Sterno, for a real, faux-tropical feel.
Made with fresh citrus, at least one type of rum and usually topped off with a maraschino cherry, Tiki Drinks are making a big comeback. Since there’s a party involved, New Orleans is fully participating in the resurgence of Tiki culture.
On Fri., Feb. 22, at the Pelican Club, Jeff “Beachbum” Berry will be resurrecting the fun, the food and the refreshment that makes Tiki what it is: a great way to escape to another culture or at least our interpretation of it.
(by Jeff “Beachbum” Berry)
1 ounce fresh lime juice
1 ounce orange juice
1 ounce pineapple juice
1 ounce Grand Marnier
1 ounce gold Puerto Rican rum
1 ounce Cruzan coconut rum
Shake well with ice. Pour unstrained into an old-fashioned glass.