Talking Tiki cocktails + history with Jeff 'Beachbum' Berry
This week: Feature interview with Jeff 'Beachbum' Berry. Free Pour Five with Sheena Hartcher.
Jeff 'Beachbum' Berry has made a living from being, as he puts it, a tiki 'geek'. If it wasn't for Beachbum's decades spent doggedly digging up and decoding old trade secrets of tiki cocktail history, many of the classic tiki cocktail recipes we know today would have died with the people who created them. Tiki culture and the rum-based mixed drinks that come with it have been enjoying somewhat of a resurgence lately, and Beachbum's six books - which now culminate in a smartphone app - have been at the absolute heart of that. And since 2014 he's been taking advantage of it himself with his New Orleans venue, Beachbum's Latitude 29. You'd struggle to find a better tiki cocktail list anywhere else in the world - Beachbum is, after all, the guy who wrote the book(s) on them!
Beachbum is on Living Proof to chat about where and when his love for this category was born, why tiki bars were the only place you were able to get a good drink in the 80s and how he went about sifting through tiki cocktail history to find little-known recipes. He's a hilarious yet knowledgable conversation that we didn't want to end.
Then, we're joined by Sheena Hartcher, President of the Australian Bartenders Guild, in the Free Pour segment. Sheena owns and runs Firefli Bars with her partner Toby - together they run pop up bars for events and perform guest shifts at various venues. They're both passionate about flair bartending whilst maintaining the quality of their cocktails.
Resources, bars and products mentioned:
- A Proper Drink: The Untold Story of How a Band of Bartenders Saved the Civilized Drinking World , by Robert Simonson
- Beachbum Berry's Latitude 29, New Orleans