I often get people asking me about creating a list of things to buy so that they can make excellent vintage tiki cocktails at home. Here is that list! And if you use my affiliate links, you will help to support Spike's Breezeway Cocktail Hour!
The book that started it all for me was Beachbum Berry's Grog Log. While everyone thought that 'tiki drinks' were a mess of grenadine, pineapple juice, and Bacardi, Jeff Berry was searching out the real recipes and the stories behind them. My two favorites by him are his first one, the Grog Log, and the book that tells the stories of the bartenders and places that made tiki what it is; Sippin' Safari. Everything by Jeff is great though.
The book that took everything to the next level was by our buddy Martin Cate. His book, Smuggler's Cove goes into depth about the flavor profiles and distillation techniques of different rums. He guides us through all of the different syrups that you'll need on your cocktail-creating journey as well as the reasons for using fresh fruit and being specific about your ice. It is an all-emcompasing (and beautiful) book.
Since the beginning of Spike's Breezeway Cocktail Hour, BG Reynolds has contributed to making the cocktails on our show taste incredible.
If I were to recommend four syrups to buy (rather than make yourself) they would be the Orgeat, Falernum, Grenadine, and Passion Fruit Syrups. Some of these are easier to make at home than the others, but why bother when BG has them all packaged up for you and tasting delightful?
Ever since inventing the Breezeway Cocktail, I've had people ask me where to find the required ginger syrup. Here ya go! I haven't tried other ginger syrups, but the label of 'Fiery' on the Liber & Co bottle sold me on it!
If you DO decide that you want to try your hand at making syrups, I would suggest these 17oz bottles. They secure with a latching rubber stopper at the top (very sad that they didn't use a cork) and they come with a little rubber funnel and a cleaning brush. These bottles have been great to me and you feel like a true cocksmith while using them.
Assorted Bar Supplies
My favorite juice squeezer is the Chef'n (Lemon) FreshForce Citrus Juicer. The way that the tool is hinged makes squeezing fruit really easy. Innovative dual-gear mechanism increases pressing power to reduce hand fatigue. Durable nylon and stainless steel construction ensures a long lifetime of use.
OXO Steel Angled Measuring Jigger is what I use on the show and in my own kitchen.
It features both tablespoons as well as ounces. Easy to read, consistent, and dishwasher safe.
I've never used the Cocktail Kingdom Koriko Small Weighted Shaking Tin before, but everything that I've ever bought from Cocktail Kingdom as been of incredible quality... It's also been kinda expensive. So if you want to be fancy, buy this thing, if you just want to get the job done, you absolutely don't need this. Get a reasonable cocktail shaker from someone like Barfly.
The Shun Classic Utility Knife may be overkill for home bartending but it sure feels good in your hand. I didn't know anything about these knives until my buddy from the Ballistic Barbecue YouTube channel gave me one! Between a chef’s knife and a paring knife in size, the Shun Classic Utility Knife has a narrower and straighter blade, affording power and precision when cutting a variety of ingredients. Certainly not necessary for home bartending, but I had to mention it!
Hamilton Beach 727B Classic DrinkMaster Drink Mixer
Our top-down mixer in the Breezeway is from the 1940's, so I can't vouch for the quality of this one, but it is made by the same company. At about 40 bucks, it's not much of a gamble. The top-town mixer is essential to so many Don the Beachcomber and Trader Vic cocktails. It is essential in mixing as well as aerating the drink, creating the perfect mouth-feel in the drink.
GE Profile Opal | Countertop Nugget Ice Maker
Ice is often overlooked in home bartending. It's one of the things that separates your average home bar cocktails from the libations that you come across at world-class tiki bars like Smuggler's Cove, False Idol, Strong Water, or other 'craft' tiki bars. Good ice is a total game-changer.
This machine is not cheap, but it can create (24 pounds per day!!) of the perfect pebble ice for your tiki drinks. Schedule fresh ice, monitor your ice maker’s status and order accessories, all through the app on your smartphone via built-in Bluetooth connectivity. Begin enjoying your first batch of ice in 20 minutes or less with the rapid production of this countertop ice maker.
I don't know how I ever got by making tiki cocktails without this machine.
Because paper straws are a bumout and no one wants to party with Smooshy the Straw... Surfside Sips have been with us since the beginning. I really like their natural colored bamboo-styled straws for tiki cocktails.
So one day this guy reaches out to me on Instagram. He goes, 'Hey, I'm gonna bring the hanging lantern garnish back...' I remember thinking, 'that sounds cool but let me know when you actually do it.' Then he did (to my amazement)... And now we're buddies.
Tiki's long lost and most elusive garnish has returned. Out of production for nearly 40 years, the Kon-Tigo Tiki Bar is very proud to have been able to authentically recreate the hanging Chinese lantern pick. Based on the vintage hanging lantern picks produced in the 1950's and 1960's, this beautiful lantern comes in six colors; blue, red, green, yellow, pink, and orange. Each pack comes assorted with a variety of colors.
Hanging Lantern Pick
If you watch our cocktail show on a regular basis, you'll notice that the majority of our drinks are either made in the glassware that the drink was originally served in or in a 'double-bucket' style Mai Tai glass. Until Spike's Breezeway Cocktail Hour comes out with another custom glass set, I would certainly direct your attention over to the record label that The Hula Girls are on, Hi-Tide Recordings. Not only do they have all kinds of well designed glasses, but you can pick up music by The Hula Girls, the Surfrajettes, and even the Breezeway Cocktail Hour theme song (Neon Jungle by Black Flamingos) on vinyl!
If you're gonna have a cocktail show about tiki cocktails, you had better have your own custom tiki mug, right? I reached out to David O'Connell of the Shrunken Monkey to create The Breezeway Cocktail Hour's first ever tiki mug. It is currently available for pre-order and mug should start shipping after the end of the year.
Well, I hope that helps to get you started in making some delicious tiki cocktails. As for the rums and the fruits, you're on your own for now. Remember that fresh ingredients and better quality rum will always get you better (and tastier) results.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!