Hukilau Mai-Kai History Presentation

June 9th, in support of my recently released book on the history of the greatest Tiki bar on earth, the Mai-Kai, I will once again be giving a presentation at the largest Tiki event outside of California, The Hukilau.

This year I am holding a sort of Mai-Kai reunion and doing a live panel discussion with many of the people I interviewed for the book.  Their first hand stories were the driving force behind the work. I had thousands of fantastic images and I knew a few stories, but getting the history straight from the people who were actually there was a truly rare experience. These folks are now in their 70s, 80s and even 90s, and it is harder and harder to get them together. This will be a once in a lifetime opportunity. Come get your book signed by those featured in it!

First click here get this amazing coffee table book, that is also an interesting read about Don the Beachcomber, Tiki and the birth of the greatest Tiki bar in existence:

Book Jacket

Then get your tickets for the event by clicking HERE.

Here are some of those who will be in attendance:


Angel followed her sister Dee down from Chicago. She was a Mystery Girl and married singer Pat Gallo.


Dee came down from Chicago for Spring Break in 1959 and never went back!


Carol was a Mystery Girl and Ford model who appeared on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson twice in that role.


Toti at center with the Mai-Kai Islanders review. He was the founder of the show.


Randy on far right with his mother Pualani Mossman Avon on TV. He worked for Rums of Puerto Rico and his family are legends of Hawaiian culture.

Smuggler’s Cove Is All In

The Book

Smuggler’s Cove surprised me in several ways.

Martin had contacted me a few times over the past few years mainly about Mai-Kai and Don the Beachcomber history. Martin’s history is something itself.

He was a cocktail nerd like many of us, but then he took the extra step. He became a Trader Vic’s bartender. Then he helped open a truly fine example of a modern Tiki Bar at Forbidden Island. It merged old and new correctly. He went on to open Smuggler’s Cove, and with his efforts in the alcohol industry and personal drive to raise the standards for rum and cocktails, he brought the Cove to be a worldwide showcase of Tiki.

He has partnered in other bar ventures and in rum company offerings and probably other things I don’t know about. His presentations at Hukilau, Tiki Oasis and Tales of the Cocktail, etc. are always excellent and top notch.

So perhaps I should not have been surprised with his book offering, but I was. It is not just a cocktail recipe book. It is not just a recipe book with some helpful hints on ingredients and methods. It is not just a recipe book with helpful hints and some history of the subject. It is almost a road map and how to plan for you to emulate Martin. He left nothing out. Liquor choices, methods, décor, ambience, juicing, tools, makers, builders, designers, artists… it’s all in there. He held nothing back. Well, I’m sure he has more ideas and secrets, but the book contains a pretty full dump of years of his research and knowledge.

And this brings me to another surprise. He mentions me a few times. Me and a plenty of others. He didn’t have to, but he did. He took the time to graciously source some of the knowledge he shared. That’s a very class act.

And then he gave me permission to add his recipe to the Grogalizer where all us Tiki cocktail nerds can share our experiments with his recipes.

We are lucky he has chosen to devote the time and effort to make this book. And a big thanks to his wife Rebecca, who I know spent a ridiculous time on these efforts as well. Pick up a copy and get into the current of Tiki.

UPDATE April 2017: The book just won the James Beard Media Award!