The old-school tiki trend is making a comeback. Thanks to artsy glassware and creative garnishes, tiki drinks make great conversation starters during networking receptions. But there’s more to tropical concoctions than kitschy adornments, and mixologists are out to prove the nostalgic trend is making a modern-day comeback, leaving syrupy tastes in the past and incorporating complex flavor combinations that will have your attendees buzzing. While the history of the mai tai is up for debate, most know the story of Victor J. Bergeron, who was said to have created the drink at his restaurant Trader Vic’s in 1944. Today, Trader Vic’s has outposts in 12 countries and is a popular space for groups—and rum. General Manager Malik Diop of the Atlanta location (a cozy, authentic Polynesian space on the bottom floor of the 1,242-room Hilton Atlanta that can be bought out for groups of up to 300) shared his take on tiki (and a few recipes) with Connect’s Anna Dunn.
What should be included in a create-your-own tiki drink station?
Have a dark rum like Trader Vic’s Royal Amber, light rum, whiskey (for a Honi Honi drink), fresh lime and lemon juices, pineapple juice and coconut cream; plus pineapple, cherries, fresh mint, oranges, lime and lemon wedges for garnishes.
Illustration by Clint Poy