5406 Marina Drive
Holmes Beach, FL 34217

Tropical Drink Revolution at The Feast

The Tropical Drink Revolution: A Brief History

Tropical drinks, also known as tiki cocktails, have a fascinating history that dates back to the mid-20th century. These fruity, sweet libations transport us to exotic beaches, swaying palm trees, and warm ocean breezes. Let’s explore the origins of these delightful concoctions and how they’ve become a beloved part of our drinking culture.

Origins of Tiki Culture

While tiki culture itself originated in New Zealand and Polynesia, it gained widespread popularity in Western countries during the 1930s. After World War II, American soldiers who served in the South Pacific returned home with an appreciation for the region’s vibrant flavors, tropical fruits, and laid-back lifestyle. This newfound fascination led to the rise of tiki bars and restaurants across the United States.

The first tiki bar, Don the Beachcomber, was opened by Ernest Raymond Beaumont Gantt in Los Angele

s in 1933. He served exotic rum-based cocktails with a flair for the dramatic, setting the stage for the tiki craze that followed. His bar became a sensation, drawing in Hollywood stars and everyday patrons alike, all eager to escape to a tropical paradise, if only for an evening.

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Classic Tropical Drinks

1. Piña Colada: A Taste of Puerto Rico

The piña colada, invented in the 1950s, is a classic tropical drink that combines white rum, cream of coconut, and pineapple juice. Unlike the overly sweet versions found in many bars today, the authentic piña colada is a sophisticated blend of flavors that transports you to a Caribbean paradise. The invention of this iconic drink is credited to Ramón “Monchito” Marrero, a bartender at the Caribe Hilton in Puerto Rico, who crafted it to embody the island’s tropical spirit.

2. Mai Tai: The Legend Lives On

Victor Bergeron, better known as Trader Vic, claimed to invent the mai tai in 1944 while entertaining friends from Tahiti. According to legend, one of the revelers tasted Bergeron’s concoction and exclaimed, “mai tai — roa ae,” which means “out of this world — the best” in Tahitian. The mai tai features rum, lime, and tropical juices, creating a harmonious balance of flavors. This cocktail quickly became a staple at Trader Vic’s locations and beyond, symbolizing the allure of the South Pacific.

3. Blue Hawaii: A Splash of Ocean Bliss

The Blue Hawaii, a vibrant blue cocktail, epitomizes 1950s tiki culture. It combines white rum, vodka, blue curaçao, pineapple juice, lime juice, and simple syrup. Served over crushed ice with a festive drink umbrella, it’s a visual delight that captures the essence of tropical paradise. This drink was created by Harry Yee, a bartender at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki, who sought to craft a drink that matched the vivid blue of Hawaii’s skies and seas.

The Feast Restaurant’s Tropical Drink Selection

Located on Anna Maria Island, The Feast Restaurant offers an array of island craft cocktails that perfectly complement its fresh and exotic cuisine. Here are some highlights from their drinks menu:

1. Tipsy Mermaid

  • Ingredients: Rum, pineapple, blue curaçao, splash of soda, agave, and a sugar rim.
  • Description: Sweet, tart, and tropical, the Tipsy Mermaid is a refreshing choice for beachgoers looking to unwind.

2. Salty Dog

  • Ingredients: Vodka, grapefruit, and lime juice, served on the rocks.
  • Description: Tangy and invigorating, the Salty Dog is a classic cocktail with a tropical twist.

3. Tampa Bay Breeze

  • Ingredients: Rum, pineapple, blue curaçao, splash of soda, agave, and a sugar rim.
  • Description: A stunning drink that captures the essence of Florida’s Gulf Coast. Sip and savor the tropical vibes.

4. Shipwrecked

  • Ingredients: Choose from Rum and Coke, Gin and Tonic, Vodka and Cranberry, or Vodka and Tonic.
  • Description: Whether you’re stranded on a desert island or just craving a classic, the Shipwrecked options have you covered.

The Evolution of Tiki Culture

Tiki culture has evolved significantly since its inception. While the early tiki bars of the 1930s and 1940s focused heavily on escapism and exoticism, the modern tiki revival is marked by a deeper appreciation for the craftsmanship and history of these cocktails. Contemporary tiki enthusiasts often seek out authentic recipes and high-quality ingredients, ensuring that the drinks they serve are true to their roots.

The resurgence of interest in tiki culture has also led to a renaissance of tiki bars around the world. These new establishments blend the traditional elements of tiki with modern sensibilities, creating spaces that are both nostalgic and innovative. Whether it’s through carefully curated decor, expertly mixed cocktails, or themed events, these bars continue to capture the imagination of patrons looking for a taste of the tropics.

Crafting Your Own Tropical Cocktails

Creating your own tropical cocktails at home can be a fun and rewarding experience. Here are a few tips to help you get started:

  1. Use Fresh Ingredients: Whenever possible, use fresh fruit juices and garnishes. Freshly squeezed lime, lemon, and pineapple juice can make a significant difference in the flavor of your cocktails.
  2. Invest in Quality Spirits: High-quality rum is the cornerstone of many tropical drinks. Experiment with different types of rum, such as light, dark, and spiced, to find the flavors you enjoy the most.
  3. Get Creative with Garnishes: Part of the fun of tiki cocktails is the presentation. Use colorful garnishes like pineapple slices, maraschino cherries, and cocktail umbrellas to add a festive touch to your drinks.
  4. Master the Shaker: Many tiki cocktails require shaking to mix the ingredients thoroughly and chill the drink. Invest in a good cocktail shaker and practice your technique to achieve the perfect consistency.

For more inspiration, check out Cocktail Society’s guide to the best tiki cocktails and A Couple Cooks’ collection of essential tropical drinks.


Tropical drinks have a rich history that intertwines culture, creativity, and a love for all things exotic. From their origins in the tiki bars of the 1930s to their modern-day resurgence, these cocktails continue to captivate and delight. So next time you’re at The Feast Restaurant, raise your glass to the sun, sand, and the joy of sipping a perfectly crafted tropical cocktail. Cheers! 🌴🍹

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Last updated February 06, 2023

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