A true wine lover very likely has no interest what-so-ever in a wine made in Florida from grapes grown in Florida. However… to be a true wine lover… maybe a true wine lover should.

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This is now officially my favorite wine. It’s great in every way and is a great compliment to the lifestyle we pursue at The Tiki Bar Is Open.

It has a perfect name, a perfect story and a perfect philosophy:

Both surfers and winemakers reach the summit of their respective crafts when they attain an understanding of, and a respect for, the environment in which they work (and play). Adapting to their surroundings, they achieve peak performance, on the waves and in the vineyards. – Longboard Vineyards

It is an enticing wine from the first time you see the bottle. Read more…

SEVEN TIKI® Spiced Rum is a Fijian rum that stands out like no other. It goes beyond the typical spiced rum and adds several hints of natural, exotic flavors. It is a premium rum made from molasses of Polynesian sugar cane, sun baked Indonesian nutmeg, Madagascar vanilla beans, other exotic spices and virgin water drawn from deep beneath Fiji’s volcanic highlands.

Such a description may sound like a colorful sales pitch, but it’s not. These are just pure and simple facts Read more…

You haven’t had a margarita until you’ve had a Margarita.

Lot’s of cocktails have lost their heritage over the years as they’ve been commercialized. Probably none more than the Margarita, and that’s a shame.

A Margarita is NOT crushed ice, tequila and some green bottled syrup and it certainly does not come in a bucket that just requires some tequila and several hours in a freezer.

Go with the real deal. Use a finer tequila like Cabo Wabo (A Tiki Bar Is Open favorite) and use authentic ingredients. Cheap tequila is NASTY and cheap mixes are meant to disguise this. Don’t go there.

Because the Margarita is such a cool cocktail, there’s a ton of stories that have cropped up to describe it’s origin. They all seem to span about a decade and date back to the mid 1930s. All take place in bars in Mexico and revolve around a female named Marguerite, Marjorie or Margarita and a man creating the concoction in her honor or to claim her love.

You get the idea, so the rest doesn’t really matter and we’ll leave solving the mystery of the true Margarita origin to someone else since the basic story and the taste of a good Margarita are all you really need to know to truly appreciate this cocktail.

Ingredients – The Real Deal:

2 oz. Cabo Wabo Reposado Tequila
2 oz. Lime Juice, freshly squeezed
1 oz. Triple Sec
Combine the ingredients in a shaker half filled with ice. Shake well. Strain into salt-rimmed martini glass.

A great variation – The Red Rocker:

1-1/2 oz. Cabo Wabo Reposado Tequila
1/2 oz. Amaretto
3 oz. Cranberry Juice
Splash Lime Juice
Shake in a shaker half filled with ice. Strain into a chilled martini glass.

The One Acceptable Shortcut:

3 oz. Cabo Wabo Reposado Tequila
2 oz. Stirrings Margarita Mix (The one acceptable mix we’ve found… based on ALOT of experimentation)
Combine the ingredients in a shaker half filled with ice. Shake well. Strain into salt-rimmed martini glass.

The Cuba Libre is a simple yet refreshing and elegant cocktail. It’s basically a rum and coke but with just a little something more to give it that extra balance and hint of something exotic… lime juice. For the secret touch of The Tiki Bar Is Open that will make your Cuba Libre better than anyone else’s… add some Angastora Bitters.

Not to be outdone by other great cocktails, the Cuba Libre’s past has some mystery to it and accounts of it’s inception vary. What all stories seem to have in common is that the drink dates back to around 1900. As the name implies, it’s a Cuban cocktail but probably has some American influence (that would be the cola). 1900 is when Coca-Cola became available in Cuba. However, “Cuba Libre!” was the battle cry of the Cuba Liberation Army during the war of independence that ended in 1878. So, before cola it is likely the drink was originally made with cola nuts and coca before it was popularized (and much easier to make) with cola.
As Tiki Pop Culture grew in the US, so did the drink’s popularity. In 1945 The Andrews Sisters recorded a song named after the drink’s ingredients, “Rum and Coca-Cola.” Cola and rum were both cheap at the time too so this probably also contributed to the concoction’s popularity. It remains one of the most popular American drinks today.

Juice of 1/4 lemon wedge
3oz light rum (as always… I recommend Havana Club light rum but have found Seven Tiki Spiced rum makes a nice drink as well. Pick your poison!)
6oz Cola (regular Coke or Coke Zero recommended)
5 drops Angastora Bitters

Place two or three ice cubes in a tall glass.
Add rum
Add cola (important to add second so carbonation helps mix drink)
Squeeze in juice from lemon wedge
Add 5 drops of bitter
Stir lightly and garnish with a slice or two of lime.

The Zombie is an exceptionally strong cocktail made of fruit juices, liqueurs, and various rums, so named for its perceived effects upon the drinker. It first appeared in the late 1930s, invented by Donn Beach (formerly Ernest Raymond Beaumont-Gannt) of Hollywood’s Don the Beachcomber restaurant. It was popularized soon afterwards at the 1939 New York World’s Fair.

Beach concocted it one afternoon for a hung-over friend who had dropped by his restaurant before flying to San Francisco for an important business trip. The friend left after having consumed three of them. He returned several days later only to complain of how he felt during the trip. “I felt like the living dead”, he proclaimed. Hence the name Zombie and, by the way, the friends tip proved to be a successful one.

Zombies have a smooth, fruity taste that works to conceal its extremely high alcoholic content. For many years the Don the Beachcomber restaurants limited their customers to two Zombies apiece. According the original recipe, there are the equivalent of 7.5 ounces (2.2 dl) of alcohol in a single Zombie; this is the same as drinking three and a half cocktails made with a fairly generous 2 ounces (0.6 dl) of alcohol per drink. The restaurant limit of two Zombies, therefore, would be the equivalent of 7 regular cocktails such as a Manhattan or Scotch on the rocks.

Ingredients: 1oz lime juice
1oz lemon juice
1oz pineapple juice
1oz passion fruit syrup
1tsp brown sugar
1 dash Angostura bitters
1oz gold Puerto Rican rum
1oz 151 proof Demerara rum
1oz light Puerto Rican rum

Preparation: Mix ingredients other than the 151 in a shaker with ice. Pour into glass and top with the high-proof rum. Note: if you cannot find passion fruit syrup, you can make your own by boiling equal parts passion fruit and sugar into a syrup.

Great Sangria recipes are hard to come by. In general, they are held as secrets by Latin families and Latin restaurateurs. Various recipes have been handed down through the generations… a mix of fine wine, tropical fruits ad usually a little something extra to give it some kick. The fruits it can contain can be as simple as the juice from some lime wedges, but the better and more authentic Sangrias have a concoction of fruits. Sugar is generally added, and kicked up with liquors such as brandy, rum or triple sec. The mixture is then allowed to sit anywhere from a few hours to a weeks so the flavors can infuse and to allow time for the concoction to develop its personality.A Sangria is usually made from red wine as the name implies by describing its ruby-red color (“sangria” is derived from the Spanish word for blood – “sangre”). However, it can be made from white wine as well.The drink itself traces from Cuba and back to the European beginnings of Latin culture in Spain.There is no “best” sangria, but we are proud of the recipe we bring you. This recipe was shared with us by a Cuban friend, so we consider ourselves fortunate to be let in on a little secret and to share our secret with you. We hope you enjoy it!
1 bottle burgundy
1/2 bottle light rum
4 shots Cointreau
6 shots vodka
4 shots Grand Marnier
1 liter seltzer
1 pineapple, sliced
4 tart apples, Granny Smith, sliced
6 oranges, sliced
1 qt pineapple juice
1 qt orange juice
2 limes, sliced
sugar to taste
Slice fruit and place on bottom of large container/bucket (with attachable lid). Add juice. Add alcohol and sugar. Just before serving add ice and seltzer. Keep refrigerated and covered. Best when made a day or two in advance.


Many believe that this drink was first mixed by Victor “Trader Vic” Bergeron in 1944. Indeed at that time, Vic mixed Jamaican rum, juice from a fresh lime, a few dashes of orange curaco syrup, some french orgeat, and rock candy syrup for some very lucky friends from Tahiti who promptly proclaimed “Mai Tai, Roa Ae!”. In Tahitian, this translates to “Out of this world, the best!”.

Vic became quite frustrated by all of the various lounges that also claimed to be the birthplace of the Mai Tai. Driven by his frustration, he contacted the friends he originally made his concoction for and had them sign an affidavit attesting to it origins.

Then there’s the other side of the story. The one that holds Donn Beach as the Mai Tai originator. Beach was the true innovator who really helped start Tiki Pop Culture more than anyone. Although he was never as successful as Vic, Vic would not have existed if not for Beach’s innovation and trendsetting as people marveled at his true life tropical adventures. In fact, Beach often referred to Vic Bergeron as his greatest imitator.

Through years of controversy, Vic eventually had to admit that the Mai Tai was indeed originally created by someone else. During a dinner conversation with columnist Jim Bishop and Donn Beach, Vic Bergeron finally admitted the truth about the Mai Tai. Jim Bishop later wrote in the Honolulu Advertiser:

“In probably 1970 or ‘71 Donn and I were with Vic at Vic’s in San Francisco.

In the “Friend-foe” relationship Don and Vic had, Vic said in effect that night, “Blankety blank, Don, I wish you’d never come up with the blankety blank thing. It’s caused me a lot of arguing with people.”

Then Vic looked at me and said, “Jim, this blankety….blank did do it. I didn’t.”

So Vic gave the Mai Tai its famous name, but the concoction was Beach’s. This certainly should not be a fact that takes away from Vic’s great influence on Tiki Culture, but it should certainly add to Donn Beach’s. Ultimately, it’s just a fittingly great tale about two men who brought us the tropics and helped us escape without having to go too far.

Ingredients: 1 ounce dark rum (such as Meyer’s)

1 ounce lite rum (we recommend Havana Club Rum)

1/2 ounce orange Curacao (actually we prefer Grande Marinier)

1/2 ounce Orgeat or Creme de Almond

1/2 ounce simple syrup

3 mint leaves

Juice from 1 whole lime

Preparation: Squeeze juice from whole lime into cocktail shaker. Throw in 3 mint leaves and use a muddle to release mint oil. Add remaining ingredients and ice. Shake and serve in a tall cocktail glass.

The Noa Noa is another great tribute to my favorite cocktail… the Mojito. The Noa Noa doesn’t go quite as far back as the Mojito… it is a Tiki Pop era drink obviously inspired by the great Cuban cocktail (you’ll notice how similar the ingredients are). As with many Polynesian drinks, the Noa Noa contains dark rum as opposed to the light rum in the Mojito. This is an obvious influence from Donn Beach as he loved to use Jamaican dark rum in his concoctions. It also used brown sugar instead of simple syrup (some traditional Mojito recipes call for the same). I’m not quite sure who invented this one, but it’s certainly a worthy mix!

Recipe 1 oz. fresh lime juice Tablespoon brown sugar Dash of Angostura Bitters 4-6 mint leaves 3 oz. Tommy Bahama Dark Rum

Preparation: Squeeze juice from 3 quarters of lime into tall glass. Throw in mint leaves and brown sugar. Muddle the sugar into the mint to release mint oil. Add remaining ingredients. Fill glass with ice cubes. Then top with club soda if desired. Shake with cocktail shaker and serve.