[TOP LEFT] Jeff “Beachbum ” Berry — photo by Olivier Konig [TOP RIGHT] Bali Hai — photo courtesy The Times-Picayune/NOLA.com [BOTTOM LEFT] Don the Beachcomber, Ernest Raymond Beaumont Gantt, center, and friends.
Several years ago, Berry and his wife, Annene Kaye, returned to the headwaters of tiki.They moved to New Orleans and two years ago opened a restaurant and bar in the French Quarter not too far from the Rouses Market, called Latitude 29. Located on the ground floor of the Bienville House Hotel, it’s a portal not just into another world, but into a lost American past. There’s the stylized map of the tiki world marked by barware over the backbar, and a vitrine with Berry’s collection of tiki artifacts from the golden era. And then there are the drinks. Berry’s cocktail menu includes classics like the Missionary’s Downfall (1948), Nui Nui (1937)
and Suffering Bastard (1942). He’s recently added the popular Jet Pilot, which he rediscovered when researching the Kon Tiki chain of restaurants popular in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Berry’s capable bar staff serves another notable vintage drink, but don’t look for it on the menu. It’s the General Patton’s Tank, and if you ask for it you’ll get a recreation of a tasty drink once consumed by the gallon at the Bali Hai on Lake Pontchartrain. Berry got an enticing but incomplete recipe from Jay Batt and filled in the gaps,
tweaking it for contemporary tastes. It turns out, you can go home again.
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