Trader Vic and A.J. Rathbun both have a history in the world of cocktail culture. They also had a big impact on the history of Tiki culture as well. In fact, a lot of Tikis are named after them. You can learn more about the origins of Tiki culture in this article.
Don The Beachcomber
During the 1930s, Don The Beachcomber created one of the most famous cocktails of all time, the Zombie. This drink was so popular that it put Don the Beachcomber on the map. In fact, it’s said to be the originator of the Mai Tai.
Don The Beachcomber, also known as Ernest Raymond Beaumont Gantt, was born in Texas in 1907. He grew up in Waikiki and spent most of his life traveling in the South Pacific and Caribbean. His father was a hotel owner in New Orleans. When he was grown, he traveled around the Caribbean and the South Pacific with his grandfather. The young Gantt opened a bar in 1934. He decorated the room with South Pacific gewgaws and wrecked boats.
He eventually built Don the Beachcomber’s first restaurant and tiki bar in Hollywood. He later opened additional establishments in Hawaii.
Trader Vic’s mai tais and cocktails have long been a part of the fabric of modern civilization. In the good old days, the boozing crowd could be found sauntering from one end of the bar to the other. Trader Vic’s is the place to be. It’s not hard to see why, a long queue of happy customers, a well-stocked bar, and the occasional flash of hysteria all make for happy hour aficionados. The one-two punch paired with an impressive wine list and a stellar view of the Pacific is the recipe for success. In addition to the many libations, visitors can also enjoy an array of scrumptious food and beverages. Luckily for the seasoned connoisseur, Trader Vic’s is a short drive away from most major hotels and casinos.
Origins of Tiki culture
During the mid-20th century, tiki culture developed in the U.S. and incorporated elements of Southeast Asian and Polynesian culture. In turn, Tiki culture influenced music, art, cuisine, and drinks.
The origins of Tiki culture are traced back to ancient Polynesia. This was a time when cultures carved statues of gods and idols into wood. They were used in religious ceremonies and were considered sacred. These carvings can be found throughout the South Pacific. Some of these carvings are similar to voodoo rituals. Some Tiki figures are used as focus objects in ceremonies. Some Tiki statues are believed to have the power to bring good luck.
Tiki was first introduced to the United States during the 1930s. Its popularity grew as society became fascinated with Polynesian art. Its theme soon spread to restaurants and bars.
Sasha Petrake’s Dutch Kills
Located in Long Island City, New York, Dutch Kills is a cocktail bar owned by Sasha Petraske. The bar is themed after an 1890s neighborhood saloon. This is a quaint and intimate venue that’s perfect for a date night or a night of drinking. The decor includes antique cash registers and a piano.
While the drink menu isn’t quite as extensive as some of the aforementioned, you’ll be able to try a few of the classics that have made Petraske’s namesake bar famous. The Silver Fox cocktail, for example, is a gin-based concoction that features citrus-forward gin, orgeat, and campari.
The ice program at Dutch Kills is also similar to that of Petraske’s bars. The bar uses crystal-clear Hundredweight ice to craft the cocktails.