Ever heard of a Missionary’s Downfall? How about the Padre’s Pitfall or the Apostle’s Breakdown? Perhaps a Cobra’s Fang, Sidewinder’s Fang, Serpent of Doom?
Anyone? Class? Anyone? Bueller?
Welp, the truth is, neither had we!
That is to say, the spread of the classic Don the Beachcomber “Rum Rhapsodies” was so prolific during the height of “Tiki-Style” in America, it’s hard to keep track. As described in Jeff “Beachbum” Berry’s opus “Sippin Safari,” bartenders who worked at tiki-temples, like Don the Beachcomber, had job security by keeping their recipes secret. Rivals and bosses alike coveted their little black books where they kept these recipes close to their chests, sometimes literally!
But, in reality, many of Donn’s drinks were not replicate-able because Donn had coded his recipes. And yet somehow they proliferated, perhaps in name only, because of the marketability and mystique surrounding the fad we today call Polynesian-Pop, or “Tiki” for short.
I’ll always wonder how different a Doctor Funk was from a Doctor Wong, or a Test Pilot from an Astronaut. Even though many of these recipes have been researched, excavated, and documented, it’s impossible to replicate them exactly. Today it’s our job at 23 Restaurant Services, as stewards of iconic brands, to recreate the Don the Beachcomber classics as close to their original versions as possible. That includes testing and tasting them with modern rums and the freshest ingredients possible. For example, we all know today’s Lemon Hart brand of rum pales in comparison to their 1940’s version, (even the 1990’s yellow label was infinitely better!). So what do we use today? Test, taste, take notes…rinse and repeat!
Needless to say, the legend Don the Beachcomber is back! Shop new DTB merchandise on our website, and come visit us later this fall at our first location in Madeira Beach, FL to experience authentic tropical cocktails.
We look forward to celebrating the continuation of Donn’s legacy with you!