Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Diplomat and Beachcomber, Prince and Pirate
Donn Beach left his native Texas in 1926 and embarked on a solo-trip around the world, island-hopping all over the Caribbean and Polynesia. His travels eventually lead him to Hollywood, California, where Beach opened a bar called 'Don's Beachcomber Cafe' in 1934, and it was then and there that tiki culture was born.
A Polynesian-themed bar and restaurant, Don’s Beachcomber Cafe was the birthplace of many tiki classics, like Zombie Punch, Navy Grog, Shark's Tooth, Missionary’s Downfall, Three Dots and a Dash and others. Moreover, many of our modern cocktail practices can be attributed to Donn Beach; he created over 70 original cocktails during the 1930s using fresh juices, syrups, liqueurs, extracts, fruits and brandies, while other bartenders were foregoing quality ingredients. But perhaps our favorite contribution made by Don the Beachcomber is the practice of fortifying his recipes with more than one type of rum, and the quote: "What one rum can't do, three rums can."
And yes, at first, we, too, thought ‘Don the Beachcomber’ was pretty long for a nickname, but he was born Ernest Raymond Beaumont Gantt, so it turns out he was actually saving himself quite a few syllables.