This is a work of art.
That’s the first thing you think when you start turning the pages of the cocktail menu at Tiki & Co in Bonaire.
The West Indies Phoenix. Davy Jones Locker. Oaxacan ‘n Talking.
With each page, another elaborate sketch and even more elaborate cocktail recipe, all nods to the golden age of tiki and worthy new additions to the tiki landscape.
Instantly memorable, eminently drinkable cocktails are the standard here at Bonaire’s newest, hottest cocktail bar, the brainchild of the award-winning Sir Eddy Trenidad, a Bonaire native who has become the most celebrated bartenders in Bonaire.
But Trenidad, a remarkably gifted mixologist, is quick to note that this is a “cocktail bar first,” he tells Caribbean Journal.
“Bonaire has never really had a cocktail bar at this level,” he says of his bar, meticulously curated and designed, an ode to the fun-loving, authentic essence of Tiki and a significant new addition to the Dutch Caribbean island.
And he’s right – the entry of Tiki & Co is a major boost to Bonaire, but it’s also a reminder of how far this island’s culinary scene has come.
What was once primarily a diving and snorkeling destination has, in recent years, become one of the Caribbean’s most sophisticated, buzziest gastronomic movements, with an enviable array of world-class eateries from Brass Boer to Grandi to It Rains Fishes, Carpaccio and Sebastian’s, to name just a few.
Of course, there’s a serious rum component here, with many of the the standards on the shelf: Martinique’s Rhum Clement; Jamaica’s Rum Bar and Worthy Park; Barbados’ Foursquare. Black Tot; Plantation; Pusser’s.
It’s a growing, impressive rum list, and a sign of just how focused this bar is not just on being a great Bonaire bar, but on being a truly Caribbean bar.
And that’s the goal for Trenidad, who plied his trade at some of Holland’s top bars and has quickly become one of the most important young bartenders in the global mixology scene.
And it’s clear when you look around the colorful, funky, playful decor that’s as faithful to the lore of Don’s Beachcomber and Trader Vic Bergeron as it is to the cutting edge of modern tiki.
But it’s the cocktails themselves that are the story — objectively, inarguably, and endlessly delicious, from classic daiquiris to more inventive cocktails like the Tia Dalma and the Sorobon Zombie – the latter “strong enough to put you in your grave, but tasty enough to bring you back,” as Trenidad says.
And it’s a welcome addition to the region’s cocktail culture, heretofore largely devoid of tiki bars like this; it’s an internationally important bar, one that’s helps push the envelope for what’s possible at bars in the region.
Plainly, Trenidad, who is one of the hosts for Bonaire’s upcoming Bonaire Rum Week in June (including an island-wide cocktail competition on June 16), has helped create a bar that instantly puts Bonaire on the cocktail map.
One day, it may even be one of the best tiki bars in the Caribbean.
For more, visit Tiki & Co.
& Co is a partner of Bonaire Rum Week, the Caribbean’s hottest new rum and culinary event. For more info, visit Bonaire Rum Week.