Minimalist Tiki

New cocktail books, magazine prove Tiki underground is alive and thriving

In the 21st century pop culture landscape, you typically gauge the health and success of a subgenre not by its mainstream success but by the vitality of its core audience. While Tiki has flirted with crossover fame for decades, it remains deeply rooted in the wants and needs of its devoted constituents. As evidence of this, we have the latest slew of new book and magazine releases aimed directly at this loyal demographic.

More details below:
* Hardcover book salutes Tiki home bartending community
* Spirits educator’s book puts modern spin on rum and Tiki cocktails
* Fans fund bartender’s Tiki cookbook adventure
* Exotica Moderne celebrates release of Issue 3
Bonus recipe: Lost Treasure by Syd Thomas of Tonga Hut

This year marks the publication of several new cocktail books along with continuing releases of a new quarterly magazine devoted to the revival of Polynesian Pop and mid-century culture. Who says social media and the Internet have killed off the printed word?

Hardcover book salutes Tiki home bartending community

The Home Bar Guide to Tropical Cocktails: A Spirited Journey Through Suburbia’s Hidden Tiki Temples

The most ambitious and anticipated Tiki cocktail book in years is being unleashed to a thirsty and ever-growing home bar community. The Home Bar Guide to Tropical Cocktails: A Spirited Journey Through Suburbia’s Hidden Tiki Temples from Koreo Press is the culmination of decades of work by Southern California mixologist Kelly “Hiphipahula” Reilly. She co-wrote the 272-page hardcover opus with longtime home bartending cohort Tom Morgan.

It features a forward by Polynesian Pop godfather Sven Kirsten (author of Tiki Pop and The Book of Tiki) plus artwork by Tiki Tony Murphy, Jake Geiger and Doug Horne. You can find 150 original recipes that were served in legendary home bars, such as Kirby’s Rumpus Room in Los Angeles, plus photos of these secret lairs.

The official U.S. release date is not until April 1, but The Home Bar Guide to Tropical Cocktails is already is among the top new releases in the alcoholic spirits category on Amazon thanks to relentless promotion by Reilly and the loyalty of her followers. Over the years, she’s probably served most of the California Tiki community at home parties, major events including Tiki Oasis and Tiki Caliente, plus a stint at Tonga Hut in North Hollywood.

Modern Caribbean Rum
The new book by Kelly "Hiphipahula" Reilly and Tom Morgan, profiled in the new issue of Exotica Moderne magazine, pays homage to the Tiki home bartending community.
The new book by Kelly “Hiphipahula” Reilly and Tom Morgan, profiled in the new issue of Exotica Moderne magazine, pays homage to the Tiki home bartending community.

A book release party was held on Sunday, March 10, at the Tonga Hut featuring live music by The Glasgow Tiki Shakers and special limited edition Mai Tai glasses. Joining the authors at the meet-and-greet and book signing were Kirsten, Murphy, Horne, and Geiger. Exotica Moderne magazine also joined the party, with artist Big Toe signing copies of the new issue featuring his cover artwork (see story below).

Reilly met Morgan – who teaches film, screenwriting and public speaking – through a shared interest in Tiki mugs. After many Rumpus Room gatherings, Morgan planted the seed for the book, but it was tough talking Reilly into sharing her secret recipes, according to an Exotica Moderne article on the book. This is a tradition dating back to the early days of Tiki cocktails, when mixologists feared others bars would steal their drinks, but Reilly also was leery about today’s free-for-all on social media. Luckily, she finally relented and the book was born.

Included among the 150 cocktail recipes are several created specifically for the book, plus the secrets to making your own exotic syrups such as ancho chili, lemongrass, sesame, and hibiscus. Full-color photos of a half-dozen home bars are splashed across the book’s pages. “These folks spend months and years and thousands of dollars on these bars, and it shows, we’re thankful,” Reilly told Exotica Moderne.

The Home Bar Guide to Tropical Cocktails: A Spirited Journey Through Suburbia’s Hidden Tiki Temples
ORDER NOW: | Koreo Press (UK)
* Hiphipahula: Official website | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter
* Related: Hear Kelly Reilly and Tom Morgan on Koop Kooper’s Cocktail Nation podcast

Spirits educator’s book puts modern spin on rum and Tiki cocktails

Tiki: Modern Tropical Cocktails

It’s no surprise that all three of the new books profiled here are written or co-written by female mixologists, long under-represented in the bar industry at large and Tiki subgenre in particular. But a new breed of talented professionals are quickly putting their creative mark on the Tiki and rum worlds, led by a Brooklyn-based cocktail consultant and spirits educator Shannon Mustipher.

Mustipher’s new 192-page hardcover book, Tiki: Modern Tropical Cocktails (release date: March 19 on Amazon), is the culmination of her short but intensive journey from bartender at the Caribbean restaurant Glady’s in Brooklyn in 2014 to her current role as “spiritual adviser” and founder of the Women Who Tiki pop-up that spotlights women slinging some of the best tropical cocktails behind the bar. She’s also a founding member of Women Leading Rum, an industry organization dedicated to education and career development.

In a short 5 years, Mustipher has taken her passion for Caribbean rum and raised it to the next level via brand consulting and speaking engagements across the country. Her writing, recipes and opinions have appeared in publications including Imbibe, Punch, GQ, and While overseeing the bar program at Gladys, she took her show on the road representing brands including Denizen(former brand ambassador) and Pusser’s (currently brand education specialist).

Shannon Mustipher is a Brooklyn-based bartender, cocktail consultant and spirits educator. (
Shannon Mustipher is a Brooklyn-based bartender, cocktail consultant and spirits educator. (

A book tour is planned, along with classes at Arizona Tiki Oasis April 12-14 (“Like a Hurricane – Flavor Hacks and Remixes on Iconic Tiki Cocktails”) and The Hukilau June 5-9 (“Attack of the Zombie Women” with Jeanie Grant). An April 7 book signing at Trader Vic’s in Emeryville, Calif., will be hosted by Ladies Who Tiki and will include a panel discussion featuring Pagan Idol‘s Grant, rum expert Suzanne Long, Michelle Perez, and creator and blogger Humuhumu.

Mustipher is known for taking tropical drinks to the next level by incorporating flavors of Southeast Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, including the Zombie, Mai Tai and Jungle Bird. Tiki: Modern Tropical Cocktails (Rizzoli/Universe) also includes original recipes, techniques, tasting notes and recommendations plus tips on style and music. The book promises “a focus on refreshing flavors, fine spirits, and high-impact easy-to-execute presentation.” It also promises to be one of the most visually stunning cocktail books in recent memory, considering Mustipher’s prior career as a styling assistant in the photo industry.

The book will include recipes from Mustipher’s brethren in the modern cocktail scene, including Nathan Hazard, Brother Cleve, Laura Bishop, and Ean Bancroft. It has a big industry buzz, resulting in pre-orders placing it among the top releases in Amazon’s alcoholic spirits and wine categories. With Mustipher’s unique perspective, Tiki: Modern Tropical Cocktails is sure to please hardcore rum cocktail fans and newcomers to Tiki alike.

Tiki: Modern Tropical Cocktails
ORDER NOW: | Rizzoli (U.S). | Penguin Random House (Canada)
* Shannon Mustipher: Official website | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Blog
* Women Who Tiki: Official website | Instagram
* Related: Hear Shannon Mustipher on A Hungry Society podcast | The Rum Lab

Fans fund bartender’s Tiki cookbook adventure

Tiki Lindy's Field Guide to Pupus, Tidbits & Exotic Provisions

While lacking a publisher and distribution on Amazon, the upcoming book from northern California bartender and rum/cocktail educator Tiki Lindy is no less ambitious than those profiled above. Tiki Lindy’s Field Guide to Pupus, Tidbits & Exotic Provisions is a self-published cookbook and true labor of love for the author, who spends her time bartending at private and spirits industry events.

Tiki Lindy has previously released her own line of bitters and worked closely with Blair Reynolds on cocktails for B.G. Reynolds Syrups. Not content to limit herself to drinks, the new project is themed as “an adventure cookbook.”

Sneak previews of Tiki Lindy’s Field Guide were posted on Facebook and Instagram, showing an impressive and highly-themed project. The index breaks down the recipes into sections including Bay of Bengal, North Pacific, and South Pacific with such taste-tempting dishes as Neua Satay (lemongrass beef skewers), Bora Bora Lamb Chops, and Huli Huli Chicken.

Tiki Lindy in action behind the bar. (Kickstarter photo)
Tiki Lindy in action behind the bar. (Kickstarter photo)

The book chronicles “the adventures of the good doctor ‘L.P.’ and the misfit team of explorers via letters and artifacts, regaling encounters with island natives and their local cuisine.” Tiki Lindy has assumed the task of deciphering the 60-plus recipes after they were “passed down through a secret explorer society.” It’s very much in the humor and spirit of Disney’s Jungle Cruise attraction and surrounding fandom (see Adventureland Day at Disneyland and Disney World).

The project was funded in less than 24 hours via Kickstarter. “When I fell in love with all things Tiki, I immediately noticed a lack of cookbooks for Tiki cuisine,” noted Lindy, who earned her way through college by bartending and running her own catering company. “This cookbook is the first of its kind: True to regional ingredients reflecting the food you see today in Tiki bars across the nation.”

A book release party is set for Monday, March 18, at the The Jungle Bird in Sacramento. You can also pick up the book at Tiki Kon in Portland (July 5-7) and Tiki Oasis in San Diego (Aug. 7-11) by pre-ordering online at Tiki General sales are set to go online in April.

Tiki Lindy’s Field Guide to Pupus, Tidbits & Exotic Provisions
ORDER NOW: Tiki Lindy’s official website
* Instagram | Facebook

Exotica Moderne celebrates release of Issue 3

Exotica Moderne Issue 3 features cover artwork by Big Toe.
Exotica Moderne Issue 3 features cover artwork by Big Toe.

Tropical cocktails and Tiki bars may be driving the ongoing Tiki revival, but fans and followers of the genre have a great thirst for all things Polynesian Pop. A new national magazine – yes, the old-fashioned printed kind – is helping to satisfy that demand with three colorful and comprehensive issues over the past three seasons and more to come.
See below: Bonus cocktail recipe for Lost Treasure

The winter 2019 issue of Exotica Moderne includes features on artists (Big Toe), authors (Kelly “Hiphipahula” Reilly and Tom Morgan), bars (Devil’s Reef in Tacoma, Wash.; The Inferno Room in Indianapolis; Bahi Hut in Sarasota, Fla.; and Psycho Suzi’s Motor Lounge in Minneapolis), musicians (Martini Kings, James Spencer), an informative Tiki tour of New York City, plus more. The cover artwork is the latest lowbrow masterpiece from Tom Laura (aka Big Toe).

Like previous issues, a launch party was held to celebrate the occasion, hosted on March 2 by House of Tabu at Devil’s Reef. And, as before, the issue sold out shortly thereafter. The event featured cocktails by Devil’s Reef owner Jason Alexander and his crew, plus a meet-and-greet with contributing writers Ray Wyland (Tiki With Ray) and Jason Craig, plus publisher Ken Holewczynski of House of Tabu. Limited-edition Devil’s Reef and Exotica Moderne Mai Tai glasses were created just for the event.

Editor Holewczynski, a former comic book illustrator and designer, came up with the idea for Exotica Moderne after launching the House of Tabu as an online resource for his Tiki-pop designs, including some distinctive mugs. A man of divergent interests, Holewczynski saw the same curiosity in the Tiki scene.

Exotica Moderne magazine can enhance any home Tiki bar. (Atomic Grog photo)
Exotica Moderne magazine can enhance any home Tiki bar. (Atomic Grog photo)

“I see a great intersection of genres and sub-cultures in the current Tiki scene that complement each other, despite obvious diametric origins,” he said in an interview in Issue 3. “In the end, I see a scene filled with interesting and outwardly friendly people who want to explore art, pop culture, mid-century modern design and other lesser-mainstream cultural phenomenons.” With Tiki Magazine on a seeming indefinite hiatus, he jumped at the chance to put out a quarterly magazine.

Regular features include some old standbys: Cocktail recipes (see below), photo essays on elaborate home bars, cartoons and artwork, movie reviews, and ads from businesses and scene supporters, from Munktiki to Tiki Farm.

The premiere, summer 2018 issue featured cover artwork by Tom “Thor” Thordarson and stories on Tikiyaki 5-0, The Surfrajettes, and Kymm Bang. The fall issue included stories on artists Sheryl Schroeder and Dean Hacker, plus cover art by Tiki Tony Murphy.

Exotica Moderne is a breezy, easy read … perfect for relaxing in a dark Tiki bar and expanding your cultural horizons.

Exotica Moderne magazine
Order future issues through House of Tabu
* Instagram | Facebook



(By Syd Thomas of Tonga Hut in Los Angeles, published in the winter 2019 issue of Exotica Moderne)

Lost Treasure, as prepared by The Atomic Grog. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward, February 2019)
Lost Treasure, as prepared by The Atomic Grog. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward, February 2019)

* 1 1/2 ounces Hamilton Blonde Jamaican Pot Still Rum
* 1/2 ounce Domaine Canton Ginger Liqueur
* 3/4 ounce lemon juice
* 1/2 ounce Demerara syrup

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with crushed ice, shake well and double strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a pineapple wedge and drop a cocktail cherry into the bottom.

Simple yet exotic thanks to the funky Jamaican rum and distinctive ginger liqueur. This cocktail is quite sweet but not cloying, making it sure to please many tastes, from Jamaican rum fans to tropical drink sweet tooths. The use of the cherry at the bottom of the coupe glass is likely a throwback to an old Don the Beachcomber cocktail, the Vicious Virgin.

Mixing notes

* Ed Hamilton no longer produces the blonde version of his Jamaican pot still rums from the from Worthy Park Estate, unfortunately. But you could easily substitute the gold (as I did) or the black versions of his extremely funky blend. They’re essentially the same rum with caramel coloring added in different proportions. Hamilton says he created the blonde version at the behest of bartenders who loved the black Jamaican rum but weren’t happy with the brown hue it made their cocktails. I was happy with the look of Lost Treasure using the gold rum. If you can’t find Hamilton in your area, try another funky Jamaican rum that’s not too dark, such as Smith & Cross or Two James Doctor Bird.

* I always have a bottle of Domaine Canton behind the bar and you should too. The French liqueur is made with eau-de-vie and VSOP and XO Grande Champagne cognacs with fresh, baby Vietnamese ginger. Other flavors include vanilla beans, ginseng, and Provencal orange blossom honey. You could be fine with a lesser quality ginger liqueur, but the depth of flavor may not be the same.

* Fresh-squeezed citrus is essential, of course. As for the Demerara syrup, Thomas didn’t specify a recipe, so use whatever version you’re comfortable with. I’m extremely partial to Martin Cate’s recipe in his 2017 book, Smuggler’s Cove: Exotic Cocktails, Rum and the Cult of Tiki.

Okole maluna!

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