2014 Tiki Gift Guide for the Holidays

Get a head start on your holiday shopping with this year’s round-up of some of the best tiki-related goodies from 2014, including books, bitters and more.

SanTiki Moai Masks by Bamboo Ben

1. SanTiki Moai Masks by Bamboo Ben

Bamboo Ben has created the escapist settings for many tiki bars, such as Frankie’s Tiki Room in Las Vegas and Tiki No in North Hollywood, to name a few. For Christmas, he’s gotten into the festive spirit by making SanTiki Moai masks ($25, plus shipping) and also some Shrunken Grinch Heads. I hear there will be some for sale at his booth at the International Tiki Market Place at Don the Beachcomber in Huntington Beach on December 6th, but you can also contact him via Facebook about ordering.

Krampus mugs by Munktiki

2. Krampus Mug by Munktiki

Now this is some Black Friday shopping I’m on board with! On November 28th, Munktiki will release the fourth and final glaze of this year’s Krampus mug. (Pictured is the red and black style sold earlier.) This terrifying creature from Bavarian folklore punishes naughty children during the Yuletide season. There are 25 of these super limited editions ($80) and they’ll be available for purchase on Munktiki’s web site at 6 p.m. PST.

Tiki Pop book by Sven Kirsten

3. Tiki Pop book by Sven Kirsten

As mentioned previously, this year author Sven Kirsten (The Book of Tiki/Tiki Modern) and Taschen published a new tome, Tiki Pop: America Imagines its own Polynesian Paradise ($40). It’s the companion book from the recent exhibition at the Musée du quai Branly in Paris. Make sure you have a sturdy coffee table to support this hefty edition filled with incredible images and fascinating history. Also of interest to tiki fans will be the book Kahiki Supper Club: A Polynesian Paradise in Columbus ($16) by David Meyers, Elise Meyers Walker, Jeff Chenault and Doug Motz. Many of us never got the chance to visit that Ohio oasis before it was bulldozed in 2000, so this is as close as we’ll get, alas.

Horror in Clay bitters

4. Horror Infused Better With Bitters Gift Set

Horror in Clay — who you may know from the Cthulhu mug Kickstarter success story — has followed up with a few neat new products this year, including the Innsmouth Fogcutter Tiki Mug ($40) and Horror Infused: Fiendishly Tropical Bitters ($13.13). Made in partnership with Bittercube Bitters (the gentlemen also responsible for the Torpedo Room in Minneapolis), these are small-batch cocktail bitters “tentacle-crafted with care” featuring flavors of molasses, grapefruit, allspice, cinnamon and vanilla. They even come in a gift set ($20) with stickers, swizzles and coins.

Gene Rains - Far Away Lands

5. Far Away Lands: The Exotic Music of Gene Rains CD

When you need a respite from carols, mix things up with some Gene Rains, the vibraphonist considered one of the “Big Three” of exotica music in the 1950s-60s along with Martin Denny and Arthur Lyman. His music had never been available on CD until this past July when Real Gone Music released “Far Away Lands: The Exotic Music of Gene Rains” ($15), which includes songs from his three albums. (Check out episode 68 of DigiTiki’s Quiet Village Podcast to hear some of the interesting stories behind the making of this compilation.) Featured on the cover art is the lovely MeduSirena the Fire-Eating Mermaid (in her human form) from the Wreck Bar in Fort Lauderdale.

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Tiki Holiday Gift Guide 2013

My long-suffering boyfriend can attest that people who like tiki can be picky and notoriously hard to shop for, so here’s some last-minute gift ideas for the tiki fanatic in your life!

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1. “I’m Dreaming of a Tiki Christmas” sign

While browsing Etsy, I stumbled upon these cute wooden signs painted by DiamondDustDesigns. She has several holiday designs but my favorite is this “I’m Dreaming of a Tiki Christmas” sign ($13) with a clever reindeer tiki.

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2. Beachbum Berry’s Potions of the Caribbean: 500 Years of Tropical Drinks and the People Behind Them Book

Jeff Berry‘s previous books Beachbum Berry Remixed and Sippin’ Safari present recipes for vintage cocktails — and the history behind them — in a highly entertaining and enlightening fashion. I have not doubt the same can be said for his latest, Beachbum Berry’s Potions of the Caribbean: 500 Years of Tropical Drinks and the People Behind Them ($35).

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3. Trader Vic’s London 50th Anniversary Shirt

Trader Vic’s London has released a limited edition t-shirt ($30) in honor of their 50th anniversary. I love the tapa print juxtaposed with the architectural icons of Big Ben, Tower Bridge and “The Gherkin.”

Kon-Tiki © Nordisk Film
Kon-Tiki © Nordisk Film

4. “Kon-Tiki” DVD/Blu-ray

In case you missed “Kon-Tiki” in the theaters earlier this year, the DVD/Blu-ray is now available for this thrilling retelling of Thor Heyerdahl’s raft voyage from Peru to Polynesia. You can watch the English version on Netflix Instant, but you’ll have to get the DVD/Blu-ray for the original Norwegian (with English subtitles) version.

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5. Liquid Vacation: 77 Refreshing Tropical Drinks from Frankie’s Tiki Room in Las Vegas

Frankie’s Tiki Room in Las Vegas is one of my favorite tiki bars, so I was very excited when they published a book over the summer: Liquid Vacation: 77 Refreshing Tropical Drinks from Frankie’s Tiki Room in Las Vegas ($25). Each of the recipes for these original creations is accompanied by vibrant photography and fun illustrations.

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Professor Cocktail’s Zombie Horde Book Review

Zombie

The Mai Tai may be the drink most closely associated with tiki bars these days, but the Zombie is really where it all started. It was the mixological masterpiece of Don the Beachcomber (Ernest Raymond Beaumont Gantt), who also pretty much invented the concept of a tiki bar (i.e. a Polynesian-inspired place serving rum concoctions). Made with a blend of rums, citrus, spices, Pernod and bitters, the Zombie was mysterious, complex and potent.

It was so popular that opportunists began creating their own Zombies, some bearing little resemblance to the original article. Don the Beachcomber went to great lengths to keep his recipes a secret, so nobody really knew what went into the original Zombie until decades later when Jeff “Beachbum” Berry embarked to uncover it through exhaustive research and interviews. (His book Sippin’ Safari: In Search of the Great “Lost” Tropical Drink Recipes… and the People Behind Them was one of the main influences that really got me into all things tiki).

Now, David J. Montgomery (aka Professor Cocktail) has added another chapter to this intoxicating narrative with his recently published e-book Professor Cocktail’s Zombie Horde: Recipes for the World’s Most Lethal Drink. He unearthed and assembled more than 80 recipes for the Zombie, starting with the real deal and its earliest imitators in the 1930s on through the decades. Helpful “Professor’s Notes” accompany many of the recipes and warn readers as to which drinks are duds and which ones are worth recreating at home.

My favorites are the reinvented versions of the Zombie collected from today’s top tiki bars like Smuggler’s Cove, Mahiki and Frankie’s Tiki Room. And it’s not just tiki bars that are represented but also craft cocktail spots around the country, including PDT, Bar Agricole, Caña Rum Bar and Drink. It should also be noted that 10 of these recipes are Zombie Horde exclusives that have never before been published.

Zombie Horde is available as an e-book for $2.99, but there’s a paperback version ($13.46) if you’re old-school. The author has also just released another new e-book for imbibers: Professor Cocktail’s Holiday Drinks: Recipes for Mixed Drinks and More.

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