Tiki Drinks: Tropical Cocktails for the Modern Bar is a 2015 offering from Nicole Weston and Robert Sharp. It is an excellent book, with plenty to offer to both novice drink makers and experienced Tiki mixers. As I mentioned earlier, I am very sorry that I gave this book a pass when it first came out.
First off, Tiki Drinks is a very professional production. The writing is clear and concise, without leaving out details through laziness or a misplaced eagerness for concision. Everything you need is in there… efficiently. The photography is gorgeous, and the layout is a model for a book like this. The recipe section that makes up the lion’s share of the book, and which is valuable for beginner and expert alike, consists of a two-page layout for each cocktail, with a photo on one page, facing the description which will contain some history or discussion of flavors, the recipe, and often a sidebar about producing ingredients introduced with this drink or, more often, a quick how-to on reproducing the very cool garnishes shown with the drink.
For the less advanced reader, the book has excellent sections on basic technique, basic Tiki housemade ingredients, and a good primer on rum. I have my reservations about the orgeat and falernum recipes, as they are a bit over-simplified. Otherwise, things are solid.
The classic recipe section of the book is a good, short tour of the classic oeuvre. The bowls section is actually pretty extensive, for as narrow the category generally is. Where the book truly shines is in the largest recipe section, the collection of original recipes. Many of these are truly delicious, and truly original. I believe that many of these recipes came from Nicole’s blog, ModernTiki.com, which has sadly gone more quiescent than the website you are currently reading…. I already posted a recipe from the blog that is not in the book, the Trinidad Via Kingston, and I’ll add posts on a cocktail or two from the book here in a bit. (Tahitienne)
The only real complaint I have with the book is the incomprehensible way the drinks are ordered in in book. For the most part, they are listed alphabetically in each section, but about of the quarter of the drinks are not in that order. It’s a small thing, but it is disorienting at times if you are trying to read through a section at a time. Fortunately, there is an excellent index; a feature that is more rare in cocktail books than it ought to be,
If you haven’t already grabbed a copy of Tiki Drinks: Tropical Cocktails for the Modern Bar before me, I highly recommend it.