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Love tiki drinks but hate the corn syrup and artificial colors? Our kit lets you make your own mixers using fresh ingredients.
Love tiki drinks but hate the corn syrup and artificial colors? Our kit lets you make your own mixers using fresh ingredients.
34 backers pledged $5,974 to help bring this project to life.

About

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$5,974

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Introduction

This Kickstarter will fund the purchase of custom-designed tiki mugs to enhance High Desert Botanicals’ existing Tiki Mixers kit. The kits provide herbs and spices needed to make your own tiki mixers as well as recipes to use those mixers in tiki drinks, such as the Mai Tai and Zombie. Our backers may choose specially discounted Tiki Mixers kits that include the custom tiki mugs along with extra recipes and ingredients. Higher reward levels add our other cocktail mixers kits and do-it-yourself bitters kits. Additionally, we have a stretch goal to add the choice of a second color of mugs.

Make your own tiki mixers and:

  • Avoid artificial commercial mixers
  • Balance flavors to suit your taste
  • Use natural herbs and spices – no artificial colors or flavors
  • Replicate recipes from the dawn of Tiki
  • Add seasonally available fresh fruits
  • Use sweeteners of your choice

The Mysteries of Tiki

In Polynesian mythology, Tiki was the first man on earth, created by the gods. This quintessential man was represented by large, totem-like carvings. Despite claims that all things Tiki emerged intact from an ancient document uncovered by Thor Heyerdahl in the dark jungles of an undisclosed South Pacific island, more recent evidence seems to point to its emergence in the Los Angeles area in the early ‘30s. Inspired by trips through the tropics, Ernest Gantt, who changed his name to Donn Beach, started a chain of restaurants named “Don the Beachcomber.” The restaurants were decorated in Polynesian motifs, complete with lava rocks, bamboo, exotic masks, hula skirts, and palm tree murals. They featured Cantonese-styled food and unique rum-based drinks. Donn is credited with unleashing the first Zombie upon the brains of unsuspecting customers.

The Nui Nui
The Nui Nui

This romanticized South Pacific formula of the bars was a hit and soon had a legion of followers. Bar owners created syrups that provided the unique flavors of the tiki drinks – syrups whose recipes were kept very secret to prevent competing bars from using them. This secrecy continues today, leading to numerous variations in recipes for drinks with the same name. Our research into one of the most mysterious aspects of tiki has yielded reconstructions of these essential tiki syrup recipes!

Like an idol discovered in a jungle cave, Tiki’s power has once again returned to cast its spell upon a new generation of drinkers eager to seek out the unusual, the forbidden, the essence of TIKI! To appease Tiki, you must demonstrate your devotion to the handcrafted nature of authentic tiki drinks with a mastery of the intricacies of rum, the bright flavor of fresh fruits and juices, and the use of tiki mixer syrups that you create using our herbs and spices and the recipes we provide. Finally, serve your tiki creations in our custom-made tiki mugs and bask in Tiki’s favor.

The Mugs

We got in touch with a small manufacturer of ceramic mugs and they created some samples for us with custom glazes. After polling our customers and friends, we decided to first focus on mugs that are matte black on the outside and brightly glazed on the inside, like a volcano with a fiery heart. There are four tall molds with different incarnations of tiki and each will be lined with a different color. Four shorter moai themed cups are all the same design on the outside with interiors that match the tall mugs. If we reach our stretch goal of $8,000, we can add a second color: coconut brown lined with the cool colors of a pristine island lagoon. We didn't have our new sample mugs during most of our filming so the mugs in the video have the old glaze colors.

Black Custom Mugs
Black Custom Mugs

The Mixers

These are the secret voodoo mixes, the blends that transform a dull, rum-sodden drink with bits of citrus jetsam into TIKI! Yes, nice glasses and some bartending performance art may impress the natives, but without these mixes you’re just zombie fodder.

Tiki Mixers
Tiki Mixers

Falernum 

An intense blend of almonds, lime, and rum. The origins of falernum (fah-learn-um) are a bit hazy but is mentioned in newspapers as old as 1896 and likely began as a homemade rum punch. This is the workhorse of your tiki mixer lineup and is used in the majority of the recipes we provide. Since it has a high rum content, it is very shelf stable and does not require refrigeration. Kit makes 34 ounces (1 liter) of falernum.

Cinnamon Syrup

Rich cinnamon sweetness that isn’t limited to use in tiki drinks. Add a splash to tea or coffee for a sense of elegance, swirl some into warm milk or hot chocolate for a treat on a cold day, or drizzle over toast or roasted meats. Delicious on ice cream! Kit makes 34 ounces (1 liter) of cinnamon syrup.

Vanilla Syrup

Another great all-purpose ingredient, vanilla syrup can be added to non-alcoholic drinks and even be mixed with sparkling water to make cream soda. It's also great in oatmeal. Kit makes 34 ounces (1 liter) of vanilla syrup.

Pimento Dram

Based largely on allspice, pimento dram adds a spicy, savory note to your tiki drinks to contrast with the sweet rum and fruit flavors. Serve by itself as a delightful after-dinner liqueur. Kit makes 34 ounces (1 liter) of pimento dram.

The Ingredients

Our Ultimate Tiki Mixers kit includes the dried herbs and spices you’ll need to make our recipes. These are 100% all-natural ingredients sourced from around the globe – California almonds to Indonesian cinnamon. Our kits use only high quality, natural ingredients. You will never find the artificial colors and flavors that are so common in commercial mixers. Ingredients: Cinnamon Chips, Vanilla Extract, Lime Peel, Ginger Root, Almonds, Apricot Kernels, Cloves, Allspice Berries, Citric Acid, Star Anise, Sarsaparilla Root. The kit also includes a book of recipes, some cute little paper umbrellas to adorn your drinks, four natural bamboo straws; and eight custom-made tiki mugs.

All Natural Ingredients
All Natural Ingredients

What you provide

Rum

Rum is the fuel and fire of tiki drinks. Beginning life as fermented sugarcane juice or molasses, rum’s flavor, color, and strength are dependent upon aging, temperature and humidity, and methods. Our recipes frequently call for several different types of rum and are intended to encourage experimentation and discovery.

Fresh fruit

While bottled juices will work in a pinch, fresh fruits will make your tiki drinks burst with flavor. Some fruits, such as passion fruit, can be difficult to obtain in good quality fresh in the US, but are available frozen with little loss of flavor.

Sweetener

Sugar, honey, stevia, agave – it’s your choice. Our recipes are written for sugar, but most can be adapted to other sweeteners.

Other ingredients

Some of our recipes recommend specific bitters flavors that complement each drink. You may use store-bought bitters, but we highly encourage making your own bitters at home. We offer do-it-yourself kits for those who wish to explore this.

What are bitters?

Bitter herbs and spices have been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years. During the patent medicine boom of the 19th century, recipes of specific blends to treat ailments or aid in digestion were marketed commercially. Bartenders discovered that bitters can mellow the harshness of alcohol and add pleasant flavors, and thus the cocktail was born. By adding aromatic herbs and sweeteners, we can balance bitter tastes and make what was once strictly medicinal pleasant to drink. 

 A number of pre-made bitters are available at better liquor stores and these are perfectly serviceable in our tiki recipes. Wherever we call for bitters in our recipes, you may safely use the same amount of store-bought bitters. However, the more adventurous of you, those who wish to journey to the jungle’s dark heart, will find that the best bitters are the ones made at home using your own custom blends of bittering agents. 

Hibiscus Bitters Kit
Hibiscus Bitters Kit

 High Desert Botanicals produces a line of kits for making your own cocktail bitters (including hibiscus, molé, and many other flavors we mention in the recipes), soda and tonic syrups, and gin. Tune your tiki to perfection and work your cocktail voodoo with your own secret brew of exotic roots and barks. Each kit contains specialized ingredients and the equipment needed to create your own bitters and mixers. The kits don’t contain the alcohol, fresh fruits and veggies, or sweetener that you will need for the recipes. This allows you to choose your own local ingredients to suit your tastes. High proof spirits such as vodka, whiskey, or rum are recommended for extracting the most flavor from the herbs and spices.

Drink Recipes

Some of the recipes included in our Ultimate Tiki Mixers book are modern adaptations of Donn’s creations and include Beachcomber Daiquiri, Black Pearl Punch, High Seas Hot Toddy, Ancient Mariner, Mai Tai, and the Nui Nui. Here are some recipe highlights:

  • Midnight Tide Daiquiri – Espresso and blackstrap rum with chocolate, almond, and cinnamon bursts. Best served by the light of the full moon.
  • Mojito y Margarita – Tequila and Tiki tango in falernum and mint!
  • Pearl Diver – Three rums mingle with citrus, almond, honey, and spices. A garnish of cheap, fake pearls is highly recommended.
  • Spice Island Vanilla Chai Cocktail – Our mixer syrups with vodka and chai tea. Tiki’s caffeine fix!
  • Zombie – Rum, rum, fruit, mixers, rum, bitters, more rum. The original bar drink had a two-per-customer limit. While testing this recipe, we figured out why. A monster.

FAQs

Why did we start this campaign?

We think our tiki kits are fabulous just the way they are, but after attending a tiki themed convention (Tiki Kon) we had an epiphany: what if we created our own tiki mugs and included them in the kits? Better yet, the boxes we already have will fit 4 tall tiki mugs with room left over for 4 shorter cups. Who wouldn’t love a tiki kit that comes with 8 custom tiki mugs?

What is special about the KS version of the Tiki Mixers Kit?

To thank our backers for helping us get these kits off the ground, we’re offering a special price on each kit, a bonus kit for making hibiscus grenadine, extra drink recipes, and instructions for making your own blackstrap rum.

When will I get my reward?

The production timeline for the custom mugs is 40 days plus 25 days shipping. If we meet our funding goal by the end of September, we should have the mugs by early December, which gives us enough time to pack the kits and ship them out for Christmas delivery in the US (and maybe worldwide too.)

Why is international shipping so expensive?

Tiki mugs are not delicate bone china, they are thick, sturdy mugs built to contain the most dangerous of potions. Unfortunately that means they are also a bit heavy and heavy items are expensive to ship. We anticipate each kit will weigh about 8 pounds.

How big are the mugs?

The tall mugs are 2.5 inches (6.4 cm) in diameter and 5.5 inches (14 cm) tall.  They hold 10 ounces (295 ml) each. The short mugs are 2.5 inches (6.4 cm) in diameter and 3.25 inches (8.3 cm) tall. They hold 6 ounces (175 ml) each.

Budget:

  • Tiki Mugs (Production and Shipping): $5000
  • Custom Tiki Boxes: $1000
  • Spices and other ingredients: $1125
  • Recipe Books: $300
  • Stickers, paper umbrellas, misc packaging: $400

Total Cost: $7825

Savings and supplies available for this project: $2500

Kickstarter Goal: $5850 ($5325 plus KS fees)

 

Risks and challenges

We have an excellent track record of getting our rewards delivered on schedule but this project involves outside custom manufacturing for a major portion of the rewards, something we have not tackled in the past. While we have not worked with this factory before, we have made overseas orders for custom glassware in the past so we have good relationships with buying and shipping agents who make the process much easier and more reliable.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $3 or more About $3

    Recipe Book

    Glossy 16 page Tiki Recipe booklet, includes recipes for mixers and drinks such as the Corn & Oil and Zombie.

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    Pledge $55 or more About $55

    Tiki Mixers Kit with 8 tiki mugs

    A complete set for making and serving tiki drinks. Includes: recipe book, ingredients pack, 4 tall tiki mugs, 4 matching lowball cups, and tiny paper umbrellas, packed in a custom printed box.

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    Pledge $65 or more About $65

    Tiki Mixers Kit with 8 tiki mugs

    A complete set for making and serving tiki drinks. Includes: recipe book, ingredients pack, 4 tall tiki mugs, 4 matching lowball cups, and tiny paper umbrellas, packed in a custom printed box.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Double Tiki Mixers Kit

    Tiki Mixers Kit with tiki mugs plus a tiki mixers kit with glass bottles.

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    Pledge $115 or more About $115

    Double Tiki Mixers Kit

    Tiki Mixers Kit with 8 tiki mugs plus a tiki mixers kit with 4 glass bottles.

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    Pledge $225 or more About $225

    Ultimate Tropical Drinks Package

    Tiki Kit with 8 mugs, Tiki Kit with 4 bottles, gin and tonic kit, set of 8 bitters kits or a mad scientist kit.

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  7. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    Tiki Party

    We bring our steampunk bar to your home or business, teach you how to make fabulous tiki drinks, and throw a party for you and your friends.

    Includes the Ultimate Tropical Drinks Package

    To comply with insurance, liquor law, and Kickstarter policies, the host must provide all alcohol and it must be a private party, and guests cannot pay for admission or drinks.
    Available within 800 miles of Carson City, Nevada.

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Funding period

- (27 days)