Minimalist Tiki by Matt Pietrek (/u/CocktailWonk) & Carrie Smith

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After tearing through the pages of Minimalist Tiki I wanted to write a short and amateur review of it for the subs I frequent. I’m not affiliated in any way with the author, I just liked the book.

Let’s start with the shallow before we dive into the deep and acknowledge the beauty of this book. They obviously have a great eye for visuals and photography (or at least photographers) and that extends well past the cover. The photographs are stunning and printed in high resolution. It’s a beautiful tabletop tome. They include not only pretty pictures of bottles and bars and cocktails, but also informative pictures of tanks of molasses/stills/sugar-cane/etc.

This book is also exceptional for people new to tiki cocktails. It’s wonderfully minimal, as it’s title states. They lay out 30 golden era cocktails you should know and do an amazing job letting you know how frequently ingredients for those appear in the cocktails, and also which cocktails use what so you can sync up what you’re buying with your favorite tiki drinks. What this does is let new/somewhat-new to tiki know what to buy to START in which they’ll get the biggest bang for their buck. First rum purchase and looking to make tiki drinks? Don’t make it an agricole. For me this was not nearly as obvious in the Smuggler’s Cove book but Minimalist Tiki gets straight to the meat of what I want to know. It also has whole chapters on technique, equipment, garnishes, syrups, and on and on. The beauty of this book is answering the questions you had when you bought the book, which it does wonderfully. It goes into their own rum classification which I personally prefer to the SC one. It gives specific rum recommendations for you to pick up, but also makes it clear what else works.

The book goes into rum with a very deep dive. I’m up over 40 bottles of rum (yo ho ho?) and have tried around double that. I’ve also read Smuggler’s Cove cover to cover. I learned a lot about rum reading this book. Some highlights for me were the process of turning sugar cane into fermentable/distillable sugars and the bit about Agricole being a seasonal product. It also goes into the distilling process in a deeper way than I’ve heard it explained which goes into the types of stills, what makes Jamaican rum funky, the heads and tails of distilling, and so much more. It also covers the following processes of barrel aging, and on and on even to the producers and merchant bottlers and independent bottlers. It also covers something I thought was really cool (1, 2) which is the locations of distillers and the ways you could find out who the PRODUCER is of the rums on the shelf. Some rum brands don’t make rum. I found that a little mind blowing but it’s explained well in the book and we’re told how to figure out (as much as we can) who makes what.

Beyond all that, if you needed more. The book goes into new recipes and “The New Tiki Vanguard” of bartenders and bars, giving the fresh lay of the land of now and the future of tiki. A lot of really interesting recipes are included in a refreshingly straight forward format. The book ends with new riffs on it’s essential 30 recipes many of which sound great and I look forward to drinking my way through in the coming months.

My only complaint would be that they left out the actual recipe’s of their essential 30 cocktails. In the book they reference leaving them out for the sake of brevity and flow, and them being from Beachbum Berry’s Total Tiki app. That app though is iPhone/iPad only however which is a bit of a shame as someone with an Android phone. These recipes aren’t hard to find online (or through the Mixel app w/tiki pack, which is what I already had) but since the focus for newbies are on these 30 cocktails I would have preferred they be self contained within the book. The author responded that they have those 30 linked to here, but that they were removed from the book and replaced with the riffs on those cocktails. That helped contextualize it, but since so much emphasis is on simple and those 30 in the first half of the book I still miss them and don’t find it simple to juggle apps and links.

In summary it’s a book worth a purchase even if you have other tiki books. New to Tiki? Get this. Want a beautiful coffee table tiki book? Get this. Want to know more about the spirit that is rum? Get this. Want to know about rum brands and bottlers and how that all works? Get this. Want to know some essential recipes? Get this. Want to know some new recipes you hadn’t heard of but are being made currently in tiki bars? You know what to do by now. I highly recommend this wonderful book.


I began noticing this book by noticing fellow redditor /u/CocktailWonk. As I asked questions surrounding rum within reddit I kept having other redditors link his site an wonderful articles like this article on E&A Scheer which I found absolutely enthralling and more recently asking about Habitation Velier and getting his articles linked like Independent Rum Bottlers: The Real Story. I’ll also give a quick shout to The Lone Caner’s article on Velier here and his followup article on Habitation Velier.

The book is sold through his website. I initially looked for it on Amazon where it isn’t, for which he cites the high costs of selling on Amazon. I buy it. They obviously went with a quality publisher willing to print their beautiful color images in high resolution. They’ve also included so many bartender recipes I imagine they probably had to pay for.

Just as a note I paid for this book with my own money and get nothing for hopefully convincing YOU to buy it. I just admire his work and appreciate the product I’ve purchased and think that you would too. I did get approval to post the images I have.

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After tearing through the pages of Minimalist Tiki I wanted to write a short and amateur review of it for the subs I frequent. I’m not affiliated in any way with the author, I just liked the book.

Let’s start with the shallow before we dive into the deep and acknowledge the beauty of this book. They obviously have a great eye for visuals and photography (or at least photographers) and that extends well past the cover. The photographs are stunning and printed in high resolution. It’s a beautiful tabletop tome. They include not only pretty pictures of bottles and bars and cocktails, but also informative pictures of tanks of molasses/stills/sugar-cane/etc.

This book is also exceptional for people new to tiki cocktails. It’s wonderfully minimal, as it’s title states. They lay out 30 golden era cocktails you should know and do an amazing job letting you know how frequently ingredients for those appear in the cocktails, and also which cocktails use what so you can sync up what you’re buying with your favorite tiki drinks. What this does is let new/somewhat-new to tiki know what to buy to START in which they’ll get the biggest bang for their buck. First rum purchase and looking to make tiki drinks? Don’t make it an agricole. For me this was not nearly as obvious in the Smuggler’s Cove book but Minimalist Tiki gets straight to the meat of what I want to know. It also has whole chapters on technique, equipment, garnishes, syrups, and on and on. The beauty of this book is answering the questions you had when you bought the book, which it does wonderfully. It goes into their own rum classification which I personally prefer to the SC one. It gives specific rum recommendations for you to pick up, but also makes it clear what else works.

The book goes into rum with a very deep dive. I’m up over 40 bottles of rum (yo ho ho?) and have tried around double that. I’ve also read Smuggler’s Cove cover to cover. I learned a lot about rum reading this book. Some highlights for me were the process of turning sugar cane into fermentable/distillable sugars and the bit about Agricole being a seasonal product. It also goes into the distilling process in a deeper way than I’ve heard it explained which goes into the types of stills, what makes Jamaican rum funky, the heads and tails of distilling, and so much more. It also covers the following processes of barrel aging, and on and on even to the producers and merchant bottlers and independent bottlers. It also covers something I thought was really cool (1, 2) which is the locations of distillers and the ways you could find out who the PRODUCER is of the rums on the shelf. Some rum brands don’t make rum. I found that a little mind blowing but it’s explained well in the book and we’re told how to figure out (as much as we can) who makes what.

Beyond all that, if you needed more. The book goes into new recipes and “The New Tiki Vanguard” of bartenders and bars, giving the fresh lay of the land of now and the future of tiki. A lot of really interesting recipes are included in a refreshingly straight forward format. The book ends with new riffs on it’s essential 30 recipes many of which sound great and I look forward to drinking my way through in the coming months.

My only complaint would be that they left out the actual recipe’s of their essential 30 cocktails. In the book they reference leaving them out for the sake of brevity and flow, and them being from Beachbum Berry’s Total Tiki app. That app though is iPhone/iPad only however which is a bit of a shame as someone with an Android phone. These recipes aren’t hard to find online (or through the Mixel app w/tiki pack, which is what I already had) but since the focus for newbies are on these 30 cocktails I would have preferred they be self contained within the book. The author responded that they have those 30 linked to here, but that they were removed from the book and replaced with the riffs on those cocktails. That helped contextualize it, but since so much emphasis is on simple and those 30 in the first half of the book I still miss them and don’t find it simple to juggle apps and links.

In summary it’s a book worth a purchase even if you have other tiki books. New to Tiki? Get this. Want a beautiful coffee table tiki book? Get this. Want to know more about the spirit that is rum? Get this. Want to know about rum brands and bottlers and how that all works? Get this. Want to know some essential recipes? Get this. Want to know some new recipes you hadn’t heard of but are being made currently in tiki bars? You know what to do by now. I highly recommend this wonderful book.


I began noticing this book by noticing fellow redditor /u/CocktailWonk. As I asked questions surrounding rum within reddit I kept having other redditors link his site an wonderful articles like this article on E&A Scheer which I found absolutely enthralling and more recently asking about Habitation Velier and getting his articles linked like Independent Rum Bottlers: The Real Story. I’ll also give a quick shout to The Lone Caner’s article on Velier here and his followup article on Habitation Velier.

The book is sold through his website. I initially looked for it on Amazon where it isn’t, for which he cites the high costs of selling on Amazon. I buy it. They obviously went with a quality publisher willing to print their beautiful color images in high resolution. They’ve also included so many bartender recipes I imagine they probably had to pay for.

Just as a note I paid for this book with my own money and get nothing for hopefully convincing YOU to buy it. I just admire his work and appreciate the product I’ve purchased and think that you would too. I did get approval to post the images I have.

Bar Talk! September 11, 2020

Week-End Project (Make Oleo Saccharum and have an ecuse for daydrinking mimosa)