A “Tiki” drink is actually a retro term. They weren’t invented in the tropics, but in the U.S.A.!

The first Tiki bar appeared in California in 1934. Donn Beach created the Tiki bar and the “Tiki drink” when he opened Don the Beachcomber in Hollywood.

Beach’s real name was Ernest Raymond Beaumont Gantt. He had it legally changed to Donn Beach for short. A former bootlegger during Prohibition, Beach moved to Hollywood in the 1930s after traveling the Caribbean and South Pacific. Don the Beachcomber quickly gained popularity as an escape from the everyday: The bar featured tropical decorations, exotic cuisine, and a plethora of rum-based cocktails.

In 1946, Beach moved to Hawaii where he opened several restaurants as well as a shopping and entertainment complex called The International Marketplace. A genuine beachcomber, he retired to Tahiti, where he lived on a Tikified houseboat before succumbing to liver cancer at the age of 81 after a return to Hawaii.

Most of Beach’s Tiki drinks are rum-based, simply because back when the tropical drink craze started after Prohibition, rum was the cheapest liquor available. If you were a bar owner, in order to get a bottle of whiskey, you had to order a case of rum!

The “Lime in the Coconut” is a cocktail inspired by Tiki drinks in their heyday—the 1940s and 1950s. I usually make my own coconut syrup when making this at Japp’s, but to make things easier, the 1800 Coconut Tequila cut down on the work!


  • 2 oz. 1800 Coconut Tequila
  • ½ oz. lime
  • ½ oz. simple syrup
  • small bunch of cilantro
  • soda water


Build in a high ball glass. Place cilantro, lime, and simple syrup in glass. Lightly muddle. Add tequila and ice. Give it a stir. Top with soda water.