Liquid Vacation—-77 Refreshing Tropical Drinks from Frankie’s Tiki Room in Las Vegas is much more than a recipe book. It tells the story of Tiki culture in Las Vegas, a place where the over-the-top South Seas décor was a perfect complement to the up and coming hotels and resort designs of Las Vegas. It also shows what the real tiki mugs looked like and serves as a reference to needed ingredients for any tiki drink. This is not only an incredibly well-researched book, but a fun read.
In this book, written by P Moss and with drink recipes by Chris Andrasfay, Allison Hartling and Mike Richardson tell stories about the various Tiki bars in Las Vegas, personalities such as Don the Beachcomber as well as the Enchanted Tiki Room at Disneyland. Of course, it would not be complete without the book’s background of Frankie’s Tiki Room, an old-school Las Vegas Tiki bar that the partners of Frankie’s in 2008 opened at the location of the old Frankie’s Bar and Cocktail Lounge . They used the Frankie’s name out of respect to the long-time, iconic Las Vegas tiki bar.
Frankie’s is notable for being the only 24 hour Tiki Bar in the world. The two partners in Las Vegas’ popular Double Down Saloon, a legendary punk-rock bar near the Strip, already had their pulse on what was needed to make Frankie’s a success and they did by bringing in expert Tiki bartender Allison Hartling to run the bar and expert Strip nightclub bartender Mike Richardson to bring the Las Vegas savvy to Frankie’s. Their bartenders are also notable for creating not only new versions of authentic tiki drinks, but original drinks that have quickly become classics of the genre.
The recipe part of the book is divided into two sections, Frankie’s Original Tiki Drinks and Classic Tiki Drinks. Original names like the Drunk Monk, Bearded Clam, the Bender Ender and Caldera Chiller are reminiscent of the sometimes funny, sometimes lewd and always hilarious names for the Tiki drinks. Dr. No, the Higgins and Five-0 Fireball bring tropical connections from film and TV, while the Broken Benzart is an homage to the man who carved the Lono tiki in front of Frankie’s.
The other secion of drinks brings recipes in that have been around since as early as the 1930’s. The Fog Cutter, Lapu Lapu and Mai Tai are some of the more common drinks represented, while readers will have fun trying the somewhat forgotten tiki drinks like the Missionary’s Downfall, the Shark’s Tooth and the Vicious Virgin. These drinks have stood the test of time and some have changed dramatically since they were invented, so Allison and Mike have recreated them with their own spin on each, designed to bring it as close to the original as possible but with Frankie’s own unique style.
Liquid Vacation—-77 Refreshing Tropical Drinks from Frankie’s Tiki Room in Las Vegas is a beautiful hardcover book that is lavishly illustrated and not only shows the drinks but also many classic pictures from the Tiki era in Las Vegas. Dave Cohen, aka Squid, has done a wonderful job with his numerous illustrations of traditional and not-so-traditional tikis as well as other items such as a Las Vegas sign atop a Hawaiian volcano.
One of the nice things about Liquid Vacation—-77 Refreshing Tropical Drinks, is that it gives you an incentive to try some of the drinks yourself, but also an extra incentive to take the trip to Frankie’s in Las Vegas to really see what it’s all about. Whether looking at the carved tikis, the hand carved masks or just sipping a rum drink that you have read about in the book, it is a great way to see this book and the authentic tiki drinks really come to life. You’ll be glad you did!
Liquid Vacation—-77 Refreshing Tropical Drinks from Frankie’s Tiki Room in Las Vegas
Available from amazon.com or frankiestikiroom.com