New York bar tending maestro Richard Boccato knows a thing or two about tiki.
Starting out eight years ago in New York’s Little Branch bar as a doorman, Boccato has since spawned his own family of cocktail bars: Dutch Kills in New York, Sweetleaf in Long Island, Hundredweight Ice and Cocktail Services, Weather Up Tribeca and Weather Up Austin in Texas.
Lending his knowledge to Alfred & Constance as a consultant on all things tiki, Boccato helped create the venue’s White Lightening Tiki Bar and each of its three menus since last November, bringing the tiki touch with its escape, hedonism, and theatrical drinks.
“The essence of what modern tiki represents for me is a nostalgic, yet admittedly contrived, return to the notion of a tropical retreat fueled by delectable food and forbidden libations,” says Boccato.
“Tiki appears to be very alive and well in Australia. It is abundantly clear that the tropical cocktail scene has found a very happy home in Brisbane.
“People want escapism from their lives, and the tiki experience provides a vacation in a glass. That is the idea behind tiki cocktails: to whisk people away from the doldrums of every day.
“Tiki is meant to be extravagant, silly, and most of all, fun.”
The tiki concept was first realised in the 1930s by the likes of Don The Beachcomber and Trader Vic, whose legendary establishments presented an escape from everyday life via an indulgent Polynesian fantasy world.
The perfect Tiki drink has an emphasis on fun, self-expression and interaction with the bar tender.
“The staff at Alfred & Constance have been taught to take their job very seriously but they must always remember not to take themselves too seriously,” says Boccato.