Matt Pietrek and I met at Latitude 29 and were deep in discussion about his experience with writing and publishing his amazing home bar book, when the guy to my left interrupted.
“I like the look you guys got going on. Do you guys know anything about Tiki?”
I couldn’t help myself, so I blurted out: “This is Matt Pietrek! He wrote a book on tiki called Minimalist Tiki. He’s an expert!”
I don’t think the guy at the bar believed me. He spent the next several minutes quizzing Matt to check his knowledge base on who he’d met, what cocktails he knew, all with a sense of suspicion. What he said next wasn’t that much of a surprise.
“Minimalist Tiki sounds like an oxymoron.”
I bet Matt wishes he got royalties on how many times he’s answered that question; but he calmly explained the purpose of his book – to help home Tiki bartenders make sense of the complexities of rum and other common ingredients in a way that maximizes the flexibility for making Tiki drinks.
Matt offered the following question as his final argument: What if I gave you $500 and told you to go buy the ingredients that would let you make the most classic recipes – would you call that … Minimalist Tiki?
I don’t think we ever convinced the guy, but I was just grateful to be sitting in the middle of that conversation – sipping on a Beachbum Berry concoction.