Welcome to Tiki Month at Supercall, a time to discover the best cocktails, people and cultural moments that have made this tropical drink movement so interesting.
A Brief History of Tiki
Born out of a Depression-era need for escapism, the tiki craze started in 1933 with Ernest Raymond Beaumont Gantt. You probably know Gantt as the man who opened Hollywood’s famous Don the Beachcomber restaurant (who later legally changed his name to Donn Beach). After the tiki spot gained massive popularity among celebrities of the 1930s and 1940s, it was only a matter of time until other restaurateurs began to copy his tropical style. Close behind Beach was Victor Jules Bergeron Jr. who opened Trader Vic’s in Oakland, California, and is widely credited with introducing orgeat to the masses.
As servicemen returned home from the South Pacific in the late 1940s and early 1950s, tropical shirts and Mai Tais in tow, the tiki movement gained mainstream popularity. With the economy strong, many families had the means for exotic tropical travel. Elvis starred in Blue Hawaii and the musical South Pacific was a Broadway hit. Tiki culture was everywhere.