Bum Books



Potions of the Caribbean: 500 Years of Tropical Drinks and the People Behind Them strains five centuries of fascinating history through a cocktail shaker, serving up 77 vintage Caribbean drink recipes — 16 of them “lost” recipes that have never before been published anywhere in any form, and another 19 that have never been published in book form. Even more delicious are the stories of the people who created, or served, or simply drank these drinks. People like William Dampier, the 17th-century “pirate of exquisite mind” who plundered native cities but collected native recipes … José “Sloppy Joe” Abeal, who became an overnight celebrity when Prohibition brought millions of thirsty Americans to his sleepy Havana saloon … Conrad Hilton, the bible-thumping tycoon who used drinking and gambling to kickstart modern Caribbean tourism … mysterious Egyptian mixologist Joe Scialom, who escaped a Cairo prison to bring a new style of cocktail to the islands … restaurateur “Trader Vic” Bergeron, whose faux-Polynesian Tiki drinks turned the West Indies into a surrogate South Pacific … and hard-drinking novelists Ernest Hemingway and Graham Greene, who hated each other almost as much as they loved frozen Daiquiris.

As “a hybrid of street-smart gumshoe, anthropologist and mixologist” (The Los Angeles Times) and “the Indiana Jones of Tiki drinks” (The New York Times), the Beachbum is uniquely qualified to tell this epic story-with-recipes, lavishly illustrated with vintage graphics and rare historical photos.


A smattering of early reviews:

“With his new encyclopedic and entertaining ‘Beachbum Berry’s Potions of the Caribbean,’ the tiki expert Jeff Berry distills 500 years of tropical-drink history into 300-plus pages. He takes you from the days of pirates, explorers and sugar plantations to the adventures of those twin purveyors of Polynesian fantasy, Don the Beachcomber and Trader Vic, not to mention the forgotten career of the master tiki barman Joe Scialom, who seems to have worked in every swank postwar bar in New York.”  — Robert Simonson, THE NEW YORK TIMES

“Berry, one of the instigators of the cocktail revolution, has heretofore confined himself to covering the strange subculture of mid-2oth-century tippling known as tiki.  Tiki drinks are a mutation of the rum drinks of the Caribbean, and with this book Berry turns his gifts for research and snappy, incisive prose to the source, chronicling 500 years’ worth of colorful personalities, potent drinks, and bad behavior.”  — David Wondrich, ESQUIRE MAGAZINE

“You’ll pick this up for the recipes, but find yourself captivated by the arcana, such as JFK’s preference for daiquiris made with the addition of canned limeade, and the influence of the Panama Canal Zone on tippling trends.” — Wayne Curtis, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

“Tiki historian Jeff Berry’s magnum opus.” — Jim Meehan, NEW YORK MAGAZINE

“He manages to capture an astonishing amount of detail in his tales, the prose effortlessly betraying his screen-writer’s talents for story-telling. He easily paints pictures in your mind’s eye, builds mood and atmosphere, and there’s that familiar mix of humour and considered opinion (Ernest Hemingway created ‘lousy’ drinks, he says).  On Cuba and Havana – a city once of 7,000 bars and 270 brothels, he segues from the origins of Sloppy Joe’s bar, to authentic 1930s recipes by El Floridita’s King of the Daiquiri Constante Ribalaigua, to tales of a copulating showman who received magnificent plaudits for his on-stage talents and charged only $1.25 for the privilege. Bravo!”  — Ian Cameron, CLASS MAGAZINE

“He who opens Jeff Berry’s newest drink bible shall unlock the secret of the fountain of youth, for a well spring of forgotten potions will allow him to access history and make it come alive again, in potable and tasteable form. Berry’s brand of liquid time travel effects a rejuvenation of the mind and the senses, as 20th Century personae are reborn and spirit-guide you through times and places long passed.” — Sven Kirsten, AUTHOR OF THE BOOK OF TIKI AND TIKI MODERN

The full-color hardcover first edition is on sale now. Order your copy from Cocktail Kingdom:





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The global Tiki Drink revival is in full swing.  But without Beachbum Berry’s Grog Log (1998) and Intoxica! (2002), there’d be nothing to drink.  These two groundbreaking books revealed the top-secret, never-before-published, “lost” exotic drink recipes from Tiki’s original midcentury heyday.  The Bum has unearthed a lot more recipes since his first two books, and picked up a lot more drink lore too.  He spills it all in Beachbum Berry Remixed, a completely revised and updated anthology of Grog Log and Intoxica!  In March 2012, Class magazine listed Remixed as one of its top 20 “must-have” cocktail booksRemixed is the book the Bum would have written first if he knew then what he knows now. Featuring 107 additional recipes:  41 newly discovered, previously unpublished vintage Tiki drink recipes; 43 of the best new recipes from today’s Tiki revival, gathered especially for Remixed from the world’s top mixologists and cocktail writers; and 23 new original recipes by the Bum. Plus full-color vintage graphics and original drink photography; expanded drink history and lore, incorporating newly discovered information about the origins of the Mai Tai and other legendary Tiki mysteries; and a revamped ingredient glossary with new product recommendations.

“A must-have manual for the tiki enthusiast.” — NEW ORLEANS TIMES-PICAYUNE

Mr. Berry’s lasting contribution may be in salvaging tropical drinks from decades of bad bartending.” — THE NEW YORK TIMES

Like the Indiana Jones of tiki, Jeff uncovers lost artefacts and recipes like no other and has catalogued the reprise of the tiki movement. He lives and breathes tiki and his books are an exact extension of his own personality, as all good books should be.” — CLASS MAGAZINE




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Beachbum Berry’s fourth book in search of the great “lost” tropical drink recipes — and the people behind them.  This time out, the Bum offers up 69 newly discovered vintage tropical drink recipes, 48 of which have never before seen print in any form.  But that’s just the beginning.  He also tells stories about some of the most famous figures of the Polynesian Pop era, culled from interviews with those who actually created the midcentury Tiki scene. Sippin’ profiles people as colorful as the drinks they invented, or served, or simply drank.  People like Leon Lontoc, the Don The Beachcomber’s waiter who served Frank Sinatra and Marlon Brando by night, and acted in their movies by day; Henry Riddle, the Malibu Seacomber bartender who fed items about his famous customers to infamous gossip columnist Louella Parsons, till the day Howard Hughes found him out; and Duke Kahanamoku, whose manager turned him from Olympic champion into reluctant restaurateur.  Profusely illustrated in full color, with vintage graphics and rare photographs.

Publisher’s pick!  A well-written, profusely illustrated narrative of the people and bars responsible for the tropical drink craze that helped lubricate the ’50s and ’60s.” — ATOMIC RANCH MAGAZINE



A taste of history!  Uncover forbidden secrets of feastworthy food on a Cook’s Tour of legendary Polynesian restaurants, with long-lost recipes from Don The Beachcomber’s, Trader Vic’s, and other famous mid-century tiki kitchens.  Tropical drink-lovers take heart — party punches and exotic cocktails have a welcome place on the Taboo Table.

“Taboo Table is a trippy ride back in time to the days of Don The Beachcomber, Trader Vic’s and other tiki kitchens, complete with both food and cocktail recipes.  Rumaki and a Mai Tai anyone?  I’m in.” — Lauren Gaudin, EMERILS.COM

“A unique collection of South Sea themed vintage recipes that is enhanced with an informed and informative history of tiki cuisine from the first Polynesian settlers to the last remaining Polynesian restaurants … welcome and recommended.” — WISCONSIN BOOKWATCH



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Our maiden voyage into the lost world of vintage Tiki drinks.  Here’s what William Grimes had to say about it in his 1998 New York Times review:  “Jeff Berry and Annene Kaye, serious students of tiki, have compiled a serious tiki cocktail book … In 96 spiral-bound pages adorned with tiki illustrations, the authors have ranged far and wide to gather classic Polynesian fakes, like the Fog Cutter from Trader Vic’s, the Missionary’s Downfall from Don the Beachcomber and the Sidewinder’s Fang from the Lanai Restaurant in San Mateo, Calif. They have even managed to unearth Manhattan tiki cocktails, like the Hawaiian Room, served at the old Hotel Lexington in the 1940’s … As Mr. Berry and Ms. Kaye see it, they are giving the country the perfect drink book for the age of malaise. ‘If we’re going to feel like zombies,’ they write in their preface, ‘we may as well be drinking them.’”

The island bar bible.” — U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT

The best bar guide for tropical drinks ever published.” — Joe Bob Briggs, THE NATIONAL REVIEW