Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
This is "The" Tiki Drink BookApril 29 2010
- Published on Amazon.com
Beach Bum Berry is a true cocktail archeologist - he has searched out the history and lore of these drinks and the fantasy world of Tiki to which they belonged from the 1930s to the 1970s - a world which is now being revived.
While to me as a student Tiki Drinks were usually a mish-mash of fruit juices with a lot of rum, at one time they were made with as much care and deliberation, and they were excellent! Some were world famous. And now you can make these spectacular drinks yourself.
Most of the recipes for the most famous drinks were secret - to prevent your competitors from copying your drinks, so until now it was never possible to recreate the masterpieces of the best of the pioneers and founders of this style - most notably Donn Beach aka Don the Beachcomber, who invented tiki. By interviewing surviving bar-staff (and their children) and going through: papers, notebooks, receipts, magazine, old menus, etc.; Jeff Berry has put together the largest (and best) collection of important recipes - including all three of Don the Beachcombers (known) Zombie recipes.
But this is not just another book with a hundred drink recipes.
First, it includes all the recipes from the Bum's first two books, and they are unusually clear about how to make the drinks. Most drink books say " then add to crushed ice in a blender and blend", but this book says "add 6 oz of crushed ice to the mixture and blend for 20 seconds."
Second, Jeff has gone through all the recipes and tried them (again), and included only the better recipes. And some recipes say "this drink is famous, but we've never liked it much" or "this is Vic's revised version, circa 1950. Not that did, but if you did ask us, we'd say that this one is much improved."
Last, there is a lot of entertaining trivia about the bars, the stars, and the world these drinks lived in. Old photos, crazy drink mugs, the works.
I own over 100 cocktail recipe books, for Tiki, this is the place to start and end.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
The author may be a beach bum, but his book is a dynamoApril 28 2010
- Published on Amazon.com
Jeff (a.k.a. "Beachbum") Berry has established himself in cocktail circles as a (the?) leader in reviving tropical, or "tiki" drinks. These drinks were the mainstays of once-trendy polynesian-themed restaurants such as Don the Beachcomber or Trader Vic's. Examples of some of the prominent concoctions include the Mai Tai, Doctor Funk, and the formidable Zombie (which pretty much requires you have a designated driver).
Before the Beachbum, these drinks had fallen out of favor and were usually available only as inferior sugary syrup mixes. Berry authored a number of volumes meticulously recreating and celebrating the original drinks, revealing them to be sophisticated blends of juices, alcohol (usually rum), syrups and some offbeat ingredients.
"Remixed" is the Best Beachbum title yet. It takes two of his earlier, best, titles and (1) combines and updates them, (2) adds a ton of slick, colorful graphics and photos, (3) provides some more tiki drink history and lore, and (4) adds some more recipies, both historical and new. The book is absolutely packed with recipes and has an essential guide to finding the more exotic ingredients.
I do have a nitpick. This volume contains a normal binding when it absolutely screams for a spiral binding (just try keeping the pages open on a small table crowded with rums, fruit juices, etc). The Beachbum recommends the solution on his website: take the book to a Kinkos or other printer and have them remove the original binding and insert a spiral replacement while you wait. I have; it cost less than $7 and it makes a huge difference. Nevertheless this is a route not everyone would want to follow.
Even with the original binding though, the bottom line is that this is a reference book I consider indispensable for anyone interested in or curious about tiki drinks. There have been a lot of books on tropical drink recipies, and this one outclasses all the ones I have seen--even his own earlier titles.
Not bad for a beach bum.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
The Only Tropical Drink Book You'll Ever NeedApril 12 2010
- Published on Amazon.com
In the world of tropical cocktails Jeff "Beachbum" Berry is the wacky offspring of Julia Child and The Professor from "Gilligan's Island." Berry's approach neatly epitomizes why I love them. He's serious enough about his craft to urge his readers to acquire an eyedroper, for those recipes requiring a single drop of Herbsaint. But on the other hand he's also created a cocktail with the name of Okonkulukooler. At their best, tiki drinks balance great taste with outright silliness. My copy of his first book, the classic "Grog Log," is dogeared and rum-stained from regular use. His new tome is so thorough and fun to read that it almost makes the earlier book look like the work of a talented amateur. The drink formulations are supplemented by witty historical notes and anecdotes about the nearly forgotten mixologists who originally crafted many of these drinks in first half of the 20th Century. A sizable number of these pioneers were Asian Americans and often faced racial discrimination, a story detailed in Berry's earlier book "Sippin' Safari." Working in obscurity they cranked out scores of gems, which Berry has collected here along with a few dozen of his own creations and 43 of the best new libations from the contemporary tiki revival.All told there are over 200 all-killer, no filler drink recipes included. An extensive rum glossary offers scads of tasting notes, and an ingredient glossary deciphers some of the more exotic drink components. Like I said, this is the definitive guide to tiki potions. Prepare yourself for the summer ahead and buy a copy for your bar.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A Masterful UpdateJuly 8 2011
- Published on Amazon.com
This is a wonderful book. As many others have noted, the binding is a bit of an issue - it's bound like a paperback and with it's relatively small size it's hard to keep it open flat on a counter or bar while mixing, but that's the only gripe one can level. Jeff Berry, aka "The Bum," has updated his 15 year old Grog Log and Intoxica! very well, rethinking some of the compromises he had to make then (for example, insisting now on fresh squeezed lemon and lime earlier he suggested Sour Mix for some drinks) and taking note of the greater availability of some once hard to find ingredients like falernum. He gives very helpful advice on some syrups one can make easily and inexpensively at home rather than purchasing good but more expensive commercial products. Berry is a realist - he offers alternatives, gives a good summary of rum styles and has added over a hundred new drinks. The printing layout is sometimes difficult to read with badly coordinated colors, but this is a product of the extensive use of period art from the 1930s to the 1970s, so a trade off I'm more than happy to accept. This anthology of two of Berry's books is a bargain, but you will also want to pick up his "Sippin' Safari" where he details much of his research. Sippin' Safari: In Search of the Great "Lost" Tropical Drink Recipes... and the People Behind Them One note of interest - Berry has created a very good iPhone App that includes many of his recipes plus the essays on rum and other ingredients. The app is not a replacement for the book - it's a great accessory because it doesn't include all the recipes, many comments are shortened and the artwork is completely missing. For $20 you can have both the book and the app and it's a great package. Plus, you have The Bum's website where he happily takes questions. What's not to love about that?
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Amazing Drink Recipes, Entertaining History, and Even Some "Tiki Detective Work"July 21 2015
- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
I was referred to Beachbum Berry's works by the captain of a local "Tiki Boat Tour". The boat gives tours of the local harbor, and includes a full bar. The tropical "umbrella drinks", or more accurately Tiki Drinks, were amazing, better than any I'd had before. In talking with the captain, he described Beachbum Berry's works, and their influence on his drink recipes. I purchased this compilation of two books by "The 'Bum", and it is sheer Tiki genius! The author has conducted extensive research to find original recipes from the Tiki phenomenon that arose in the 30's and 40's. Many recipes, held highly secret at the time, were found by talking to the families of original bartenders from legendary establishments like Trader Vic's, Don The Beachcomber’s, and more. Many were found in tattered notebooks or scraps of paper, carried in a bartender's pocket decades ago and now family heirlooms languishing in obscurity until Berry tracked them down. Reading and mixing these recipes, one quickly realizes that most of today's generic bar versions of these drinks are unoriginal, unimaginative, and pale in comparison to the classic recipes. You haven't had a good Mai Tai until you've tried the original recipe, and others in these books. The Zombie was legendary in its own time, but if you order it in a bar today, you'll never know why. Aside from hundreds of amazing drink recipes, the author describes the process of tracking down relatives of long deceased bartenders in hopes of finding recipes that haven't seen the light of day in over 50 years, as well as a thorough, very entertaining history of the Tiki movement, the highly secretive "cloak and dagger" world of coded drink recipes and "Tiki Bar espionage". Buy this compilation book as a treasure chest of delicious drink recipes, and be the star at your next party. Or simply buy it for a glimpse at a historic, very colorful time in our pop culture. history.