Thursday, August 23, 2007

What is Tiki?

This "article" is kind of a work-in-progress. I'll very likely revise and fine-tune this with the goal of adding it to Not sure if it will be a blog, a lifestyle feature, on our home page or in the about-us section.

I felt the need to write this because of a couple of comments I've seen where some folks get frustrated over how the the tiki pop culture of the 1950s was so distinct while today the things have become a bit blurred. The nostalgic side of some folks seems to drive an implied hatred or at least a resistance to the more modern island lifestyle people seek today.

To many, true Tiki is defined strictly as the American craze of the 1950s that was heavily Polynesian inspired. To others, Tiki is an icon that represents all things tropical. The original Tiki craze is a great nostalgic moment in America. I'm glad to see it never quite ended. I'm very glad to see the resurgence it has today. Many are very dedicated and passionate about the pure tiki lifestyle. To others, today's definition of Tiki encompasses more than what it did in the 1950s. Really, the root of what we have always loved and sought is the island lifestyle. The desire for island lifestyle is what inspired and drove the original Tiki movement in the first place. At the same time as Tiki we saw the surf craze in California, a poplulation boom in Florida and a free Cuba was THE hot vacation spot. This goes to show that there have been several tropically-inspired culture movements... some occurred in different eras, some occurred simultaneously. All had an influence on the other at some point in time. 1950s Cuba, the Caribbean, the South Seas, etc.. It doesn't matter. They all represent escapism... a place to relax and just enjoy life. Ironically, the differences between each and the lines that are blurred between them tend to cause the very debate I mention above.

Look... here's the bottom line: Tiki is really all about using your imagination to create an island lifestyle. Tiki actually really didn't have a strict Polynesian historical or cultural background. The look and feel of tiki was certainly Polynesian inspired. The presentation of the drinks were Polynesian inspired. The drinks themselves, most containing rums, actually makes them more Caribbean inspired. In fact, the founding father of tiki pop, Donn Beach, was from New Orleans an often made trips to the Caribbean. These trips were his inspiration for his Donn the Beachcomber bar and for the drinks he concocted. It is why rum became the standard ingredient in tiki drinks. The music became a blend of true Hawaiian music and American Standards and even Rock n Roll as artists from Bing Crosby to Elvis joined in on the movement. Today, you'll even hear steel drums incorporated into native Hawaiian artist's works.

That's what Tiki was... everything about tiki pop was man-made. It didn't have alot of real culture behind it. It had some, but most didn't know what it was. We were just fascinated and looking for escape from Suburbia.

So... the true spirit of Tiki is really about what I call the tropical melting pot... take anything tropical as your inspiration, blend them together, then relax, enjoy and escape. This is how the original Tiki movement happened in the first place.

Any island lifestyle is a good lifestyle. So, we should embrace it all, appreciate it all and not criticize a thing.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Tiki Bar Podcasts

Now that construction of our online marketplace is under way, the next things is to get ready for our Tiki Bar podcasts. These will be the most fun content we will have. It will be fun for us to make and for you to watch. Every recipe and cocktail we post will be presented to you in a video podcast on iTunes and streamed from our site. They will be filmed in our own backyard... a tropical setting with a few added props. When we add our lifestyles link, we'll even post videos of surfing, hula , scuba and more. These will be major productions. Look for our first podcasts tp be posted by mid September!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Island Marketplace

Our online Island Marketplace is now under construction. The page formats and the store itself are already built. Right now we are in the process of carefully selecting items that compliment the cocktails, music and recipes we have posted on the site. We will be offering affordable to high end items to help achieve and/or compliment an island lifestyle. Shopping will be easy and never invasive. Each item posted will have a small icon that can be selected to take you directly to related items in the store. Or, if preferred, you will be able to browse the marketplace by clicking the link in the navigation bar. From within the marketplace, we will provide categories that match the rest of our site: cocktails, recipes and music along with subcategories. There's a search widget and "similar items" widget as well.

We'll have the store completed within two weeks. In the meantime, we'll keep posting new content.

Keep checking in at!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Tiki Bar is Now an Amazon Affiliate

The Tiki Bar Is Open is now an Amazon Affiliate. This means it will be time to start advertising soon to draw more traffic. To this point it has been word of mouth and bloggers checking us out. Were working on the direct marketing scheme now. Yahoo and Google have some good things. We'll be doing some local exposure stuff like windows decals on our vehicles. Having the cool logo on there with be worth the purchase on its own. The other venue we are looking at is Tiki Magazine. They have a great site and there product looks good. We subscribed yesterday and will evaluate what kind of ad space in the mag and on the site to buy. We'll be looking at some other sites and media out there too, but more than likely we'll get into some community events like Taste of the Beaches. More targeted, more fun and more meaningful to do things with and for the community as opposed to just spamming a bunch of people. Islanders don't like spam.

For now, the Amazon stuff is on our music page and is our phase 1 online marketplace. We'll move the Amazon content to a Shop link soon and start filling the music page with or usual stories of history behind different island style music and recording artists. We'll always keep the Amazon stuff because it is great, but we'll be securing a fulfillment house in the next 3-4 months so we can offer specific things to Tiki Nation that will fit the tiki lifestyle. Finer items that one can use and appreciate.

We'll have a MySpace by the weekend as well. A few more iMixes on iTunes, and most importantly... it's time to start recording our tiki podcasts! Let the fun begin!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Achieving Tiki Lifestyle

There are many things we can do to achieve Tiki lifestyle. Besides the obvious food, cocktails and music that help us escape, relax and enjoy life... there are great island style activities too. Things like surfing, scuba diving, snorkeling, biking, hula, sailing, fishing and more.

Just like with fine food, music and cocktails... knowing the history and culture behind things helps you appreciate them even more. Plus it's important to practice a healthy lifestyle. You won't live long enough to enjoy all of the great things in life if you eat and drink your life away! We should all do what it takes to learn how to work smarter so we can free up our time and then use that free time to engage in healthy activities with friends and family.

This weekend, I will be adding a "lifestyle" link to The Tiki Bar is The recipes and cocktails on the site are the things you can enjoy on weekends and special occasions. Activities will be things you can do any time and will also be a great way to escape... riding a beach cruiser along the shore, hiking on a local nature trail, surfing and the like are guaranteed to keep you healthy and to help you escape. And, if you find yourself working too much and not having enough time for your Tiki Lifestyle, we'll even touch on ways to free up your time and put your money to work for you so you have time to do the things you want.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Concocting Great New Island Recipes and Tiki Style Cocktails

We're always looking for new things to try and learn about when it comes to supporting our Tiki Lifestyle. More history, more culture or simply trying to concoct something new of our own that is influenced by the tropics. This weekend was no different. For starters, we had an unopened bottle of banana rum. Experiment #1 was inventing our own concoction... a combination of flavors that would not hide the banana flavor but at the same time being able to taste the rum with a blend of fruits to compliment the banana without making the drink too sweet nor too sour.

For reasons I can't explain, the Mai Tai came too mind. This is a very tropical drink. It can be a bit on the sweet side, but I thought the banana rum could be a promising twist on the recipe. So, I mixed in 3 lime quarters to provide the sour and balance out the sweet from the banana rum as well as the orange and almond liqueurs I added. To smooth it out... some Tommy Bahama dark rum. The drink turned out quite good actually. We'll probably play with it more to perfect it before posting it on At the end of the night, we ended up just mixing equal parts Tommy Bahama dark rum with the banana rum over some ice. Smooth.

For our meal, we hit a home run. Inspired by summertime boardwalk foods mixed with a little backyard BBQ and a little bit of Hawaiian Luaus we created "Hawaiian mini burgers". This was a huge hit with kids and adults. The basic concept is use Hawaiian sweet bread instead of hamburger buns, toss on the ground beef along with some tropically inspired toping melded with the traditional toppings you would enjoy having a burger off the boardwalk at the beach in the middle of summer. The recipe is quick and easy. The burgers are fun to eat. The whole thing took as less than 30 minutes, then we sat down and enjoyed some great musics along with our cocktail and our newly invented recipe. This one will be posted on the site tonight with all the details. Making the video podcast on this one will be real fun too and something you won't want to miss!

Here's to the endless summer at!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Seeking the Island Lifestyle

I was very young when I made my first trip to Florida. I was drawn on my very first look. Drawn to the tropics. I was into everything from the scenery to the lifestyle. Palm trees and white sand beaches, Jimmy Buffett music and fine island foods, surfing and diving. I loved to be out and bare foot with my sunglasses on and soaking up the sun.

This was every summer for me and was what I lived for. Now its my everyday and has been for more than fifteen years now. It's where I live.

So many people from so may places are drawn to the tropics that they are the ultimate melting pot. Besides great weather, this is a big part of what make the tropics so wonderful and appealing. There is just one thing that have ever bothered me a bit about the lifestyle, and that is when those who are drawn to the tropics don't know why they are drawn there in the first place. It is important to understand the history and the culture of where you come from, where you are and where you are going.

The tropical lifestyle has evolved into something quite unique today as all tropical destinations have experienced this same cultural confusion over the years. Over decades, the love of the tropics has never ended, it has simply shifted from one place to the other as the world's eye changed focus from Cuba to Florida to the Caribbean to California to Hawaii and others. Why else would you where a Hawaiian shirt in Florida or eat Key Lime Pie and listen to steel drum music at a luau? It's what I call "The Tropical Melting Pot".

There are several icons of the island lifestyle and tropical culture. Perhaps the most popular is the Tiki. Today more than ever we pursue all of these things as we seek a finer living or just a means to temporarily escape. Today, more than ever the tropics has a wonderful identity. Today, this is what the Tiki has come to represent.

This is why a friend and I created Ultimately, our goal is to build the web's largest online community (Tiki Nation) for those who pursue fine island lifestyle... for real or just temporarily in your mind. It's a place where people from around the world can come to relax, escape and enjoy life through our stories, cultural history lessons, recipes, cocktails, music, podcasts and blogs.

These things are important to us. If you've found this and are reading this, it is probably important to you too. So come visit us, visit often and share your stories too!