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Tiki Central Forums » » Collecting Tiki » » Vintage Trader Vic's drink menu question
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Vintage Trader Vic's drink menu question
TikiTacky
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Joined: Nov 23, 2010
Posts: 1308
Posted: 2013-08-15 1:32 pm   Permalink

I picked up this menu as part of an ebay auction. At first I thought it was fairly recent due to the artwork on the cover, but the prices inside say otherwise. I did a search but couldn't find anything similar. Anyone know anything about it? The menu that accompanied it was hand-dated Jun 30, 1946.







The menu says at the bottom that prices don't reflect the new Federal taxes, so I'm guessing it's sometime around 1945, I guess it probably was acquired the same time as the date on the other menu.
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AdOrAdam
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Jun 16, 2013
Posts: 440
From: Wolverhampton, UK
Posted: 2013-08-16 03:59 am   Permalink

Sorry I cant help with identifying the menu!

BUT can you please list the drinks offered?

It'd be interesting to know what is shared with my current Trader Vics menu (from London) & what has dropped off. Also it'd be interesting to work out what recipes 'cross pollinated' from Don Beachcombers (e.g. the Zombie)

I also quite like the B&B or Champagne Classic on the menu, it would be good to put the tiki drinks in context with what else was popular at the time!
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AdOrAdam
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Joined: Jun 16, 2013
Posts: 440
From: Wolverhampton, UK
Posted: 2013-08-16 04:00 am   Permalink

PS

Probably the 'youngest' drink listed will be the latest addition to the menu. I'll have a go at working it out if you post the list
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TikiTacky
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Joined: Nov 23, 2010
Posts: 1308
Posted: 2013-08-16 09:56 am   Permalink


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bigbrotiki
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Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11197
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2013-08-16 12:26 pm   Permalink

I have always felt the same about this cover: The typeface looks so computer generated, and the art work looks so 80s!

Usually I am a good judge of style periods in graphics and typeface, but here I totally wiped out!


 
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AdOrAdam
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Joined: Jun 16, 2013
Posts: 440
From: Wolverhampton, UK
Posted: 2013-08-17 5:34 pm   Permalink

First of all, thanks to TikiTacky for posting the whole menu for us to look at!

For me, its been really interesting - Ive not examined an old menu before. By no means am I an expert, I'm just enthusiastic All info is approximate:

I love the polite script in each section. About half of the 100 recipes in all sections are marked with a star, I think these are Trader Vics recipes... that's a lot! He must of been churning them out. In a scan several jumped out as Don The Beachcomber recipes (Zombie, Dr Funk, Tahitan Rum Punch, Rum Cow), they weren't marked with a star either.

Quite a few regular classic cocktails are on there too, everywhere should serve Sazeracs IMO. Also spot the 'Mr Nephews Daiquiri 15 year old Special Reserve Rum' is on there - quality rum name check! The most expensive drinks were the Samoan Fog Cutter ($1.25), Mai Tai ($1.25) & Colonels Big Opu ($1.50).

Its worth noting the splits between the different categories (small, strong, etc) - small & strong seem most popular (about a third of the menu each). There is no split on my current London menu, most of the drinks could be labelled 'Strong'.

To determine the age of the menu I listed the age of every drink I could determine in the 'Strong Section' - it makes sense each section would include the 'latest' drink (if one was available). To separate them out I used some classifications:

Straight up, I had some I couldn't find dates for:
Trader Vics Gin Julep, Trader Vics Own Punch, Trader Vics Sling, Trader Vics Tiare, Funa Futi Fooler. I'd like more on that last one, what a name!

I think the following are 'traditional' recipes - they don't have a real owner & have evolved over a long time:
Mint Julep, Queens Park Swizzle, Singapore Sling, Barbados Red Rum Swizzle, Gin & Tonic variations, Martinque Swizzle, Mojito, Pimms variations, Planters Punch.

Drinks with 'known' dates:
Post 1934 Zombie (Don the Beachcomber rip off)
Post 1934 Tonga (part strength Zombie rip off)
Post 1942 Suffering Bastard (Cairo recipe)
Post 1944 Mai Tai

The idea the menu is from the 1940s gets a bit cloudy with these drinks:

Samoan Fogg Cutter & Eastern Sour are circa 1950s Trader Vic recipe (per Mr Beachbum)
Dr Funk is suspected based on a polnesian absinthe /lemonade drink, a Don The Beachcomber recipe from 1953 (per Mr Beachbum)
Tiki Puka Puka is a circa 1960s Tiki-Ti recipe (per Mr Beachbum)
Sharks Tooth is a circa 1960s recipe (per Mr Beachbum)

As these aren't marked with a star, they are borrowed from other tiki mixolgists or drawn from 'traditional' sources. Bless Mr Beachbum, Im going offer 2 ideas - one that he's already seen this menu & factored it in to his dating of these drinks (i.e. maybe the menu is from the 1960s?) or this is the missing link that dates those tiki cocktails earlier than before! So it's from the 1960s?

The date is part of the fun of it but the menu does raise questions with me:

Some of my Don Beachcomber favourites from the 30s / 40s (Navy Grog, Sumutra Kula, Missionarys Downfall, Test Pilot) aren't on there. If the drinks was popular & widely copied, given the rivalry reported between Mr Beachcomber & Trader Vic you would expect a version to feature on the menu (Trader Vic had a pimento Navy Grog) - any ideas where they might be?

Only 5 sharers are listed, I thought they were a big part of the Trader Vic repertoire - maybe they are just well photographed or popular? If they were more popular they might be further up the menu.

Id love to know how much of the tiki experience used to be the meal, there's very little chance Id go to a bar in the evening & order a coffee based drink unless I'd had a really big meal. Maybe they drank coffee 24/7 back them?


I didn't see the point of collecting menus previously but I enjoyed being a researcher for a few hours Anyone else got an old menu they'd be prepared to PM me? Id like another go.

Like I said, cheers to TikiTacky for posting the whole menu for us to look at!
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arriano
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Joined: Jun 13, 2006
Posts: 1290
From: Dog Patch - San Diego
Posted: 2013-08-17 6:13 pm   Permalink

The prices for the cocktails might help determine its age. A 1968 menu for Trader Vic's lists a Mai Tai costing $2.10.

Also, it lists "Cuba Libre - Havana's Own Cooler." Would that have appeared like that on a menu post-1960?



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[ This Message was edited by: arriano 2013-08-17 18:16 ]


 
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TikiTacky
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Joined: Nov 23, 2010
Posts: 1308
Posted: 2013-08-18 12:08 pm   Permalink

Some of those dates seem off. This menu from Hinky Dink's (the original Trader Vic's location in the 30s) has a Shark's Tooth in it:



After looking at it more, I'm convinced it was picked up along with the original menu that didn't have any drinks listed. The line "The new Federal tax has not been added" certainly sets it at mid-40s. I've also been searching and this was the earliest Trader Vic's drink menu I could find. Does anyone have an earlier one?

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[ This Message was edited by: TikiTacky 2013-08-18 12:11 ]


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thomamas
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Joined: Apr 09, 2007
Posts: 48
Posted: 2013-09-17 10:45 pm   Permalink

In terms of pricing, it seems to have come between these two menus:





They have different variations on the same cover theme. Strangely, both of these have indexed pages of different sizes, while your menu doesn't.


 
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Atomic Tiki Punk
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Joined: Jul 19, 2009
Posts: 6189
From: Costa Misery
Posted: 2013-09-17 11:08 pm   Permalink

As a vintage menu collector, I have not seen that particular menu before
also the artwork is not consistent with other Trader Vic's menus from the 40s,50s & 60s
and has an airbrushed look to it,I would guess it might be a reproduction meant to look like an old menu
but still that means is , I have not seen it before.

The prices are in the range of other menus from the early 1950s to 1960



[ This Message was edited by: Atomic Tiki Punk 2013-09-17 23:16 ]


 
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TropicDrinkBoy
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Joined: Feb 27, 2011
Posts: 275
Posted: 2013-09-18 01:44 am   Permalink

That last menu cover was also used at Trader Vic's Palo Alto. I was told by someone definitely "in the know" that the graphics for that menu were copyrighted by Trader Vic's in London (opened April 22, 1963) and Palo Alto had to get permission from London to use the graphic.

 
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TikiTacky
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 23, 2010
Posts: 1308
Posted: 2013-09-18 1:59 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2013-09-17 23:08, Atomic Tiki Punk wrote:
As a vintage menu collector, I have not seen that particular menu before
also the artwork is not consistent with other Trader Vic's menus from the 40s,50s & 60s
and has an airbrushed look to it,I would guess it might be a reproduction meant to look like an old menu
but still that means is , I have not seen it before.

The prices are in the range of other menus from the early 1950s to 1960



[ This Message was edited by: Atomic Tiki Punk 2013-09-17 23:16 ]



It is definitely not a reproduction. I close look indicates it was printed using a letterpress method, as the lettering is clearly pressed into the page. Modern lithography or digital printing won't produce this telltale sign.
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Trad'r Bill
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Joined: Oct 14, 2008
Posts: 485
From: Hercules, CA
Posted: 2013-09-18 10:06 pm   Permalink

The original artwork for this menu used to hang at the Emeryville location:



 
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Atomic Tiki Punk
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 19, 2009
Posts: 6189
From: Costa Misery
Posted: 2013-09-19 12:02 am   Permalink

So can we say what year the artwork is from to establish
a time-line? also does anyone else have this menu?

It is new to me & I would like to verify the info, Thanks ya all.


 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11197
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2013-09-21 10:10 am   Permalink

Trader Vic used to use two main illustrators: William F. Kay (who signed as Kay), and Guy Huze, this cover is by neither. What is the signature of this artist (I cannot make it out)?

Stylistically, judging by the sort of round, cartoony rendering style of faces and, uh, other body parts, it might be the same artist who did these sketches that ended up on the wall of the new Portland Trader Vic's (how is that location doing by the way?):







I was very intrigued by these, since I had never seen them published in any menu, but I photographed only those two close, maybe someone can shoot the other two for better comparison? I could not see a date or signature, and I doubt anyone at Trader Vic's has that info, but if we google the name on the menu cover, we might find the artist's bio.



 
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