Your Guide To Winning $2500 with Minimalist Tiki

As you may have seen recently, Reàl Ingredients has generously agreed to supply the prize money for a fun little contest involving our book, Minimalist Tiki.

In brief, thirteen bartenders and ten bars are featured in the book, along with their recipes that follow the Minimalist Tiki ethos – about 100 recipes in total.

The contest involves being the first person to “check in” with everybody featured. That means getting your book signed, along with a selfie proving you were there.

The person who accomplishes all 23 check-ins wins $2500. In the event that nobody checks in with everybody, the person with the most check-ins wins! (See the full rules here.)

While this might seem daunting to visit all these wonderful people and bars, it’s easier than it seems. You just need to think strategically.

Here’s who you’d have to visit:


  • Brian Maxwell (New Orleans)
  • Chad Austin (LONO Hollywood)
  • Doc Parks (The Zombie Village, San Francisco)
  • Daniele Dalla Pola (Esotico, Miami)
  • Jason Alexander (Devil’s Reef, Tacoma)
  • Jeanie Grant (Pagan Idol, San Francisco)
  • Justin Wojslaw (Diller Room, Seattle)
  • Kevin Beary (Three Dots and a Dash, Chicago)
  • Marie King (Tonga Hut, Hollywood)
  • Oriol Elias (Barcelona)
  • Shelby Allison or Erin Hayes (Lost Lake)
  • Tiki Lindy (SF Bay Area)
  • Zac Overman (L’Oursin, Seattle)


  • Cane Rhum Bar (Charleston, SC)
  • Dirty Dick (Paris)
  • The Inferno Room (Indianapolis)
  • Laki Kane (London)
  • Lost Lake (Chicago)
  • Navy Strength (Seattle)
  • Pagan Idol (San Francisco)
  • Rumba (Seattle)
  • The Shameful Tiki Room (Vancouver)
  • Trailer Happiness (London)

How might you approach this?

For starters, Seattle and the Pacific Northwest has the biggest concentration. No surprise, because Mrs. Wonk and I wrote Minimalist Tiki while living there. Of course, it’s also because there’s some great Tiki practitioners inhabiting the region. In Seattle, you can knock of four check-ins right away: Rumba, Navy Strength, Zac Overman, and Justin Wojslaw.

Venture an hour south of Seattle and you’ll get Jason Alexander at Devil’s Reef. Head three hours north of Seattle and you’ll enjoy libations at the Shameful Tiki Room in Vancouver, BC.

Next, take a jaunt down the American West coast to San Francisco. There you can cross off three more: Jeannie Grant, Doc Parks, and Pagan Idol.  Heck, if Jeannie is at Pagan Idol when you visit, you can complete two requirements with one visit! (Just get both her page and the Pagan Idol page signed.)

Continue south to Los Angeles and you’ll enjoy some great drinks from Marie King and Chad Austin. All told, the West Coast gives you 11 out of 23 easy check-ins. Twelve if you manage to catch Tiki Lindy at an event somewhere near the bay area. Thirteen if you catch Erin Hayes (formerly of Lost Lake) somewhere around Los Angeles.

Next, let’s head to the Windy City – Chicago. There, just two bars yield three check-ins: Lost Lake and Three Dots and a Dash – both paragons of Tiki. Make it to Lost Lake when Shelby is there, and you’ll get two check-ins for the price of one! (Same story – Get both Shelby’s page and the Lost Lake page signed.) A scant three hour drive south of Chicago brings you to Ed Rudisell and Chris Coy at the Inferno Room in Indianapolis.

Who’s left to check-in with within the U.S.? A trip to the American South brings you to Daniele Dalla Pola in Miami and Cane Rhum Bar in Charleston. Brian Maxwell is out and about in New Orleans. A road trip through all three cities could be epic!

Completing the book signing mission takes you to Europe! London gives you Trailer Happiness and Laki Kane, while Paris has Dirty Dick. Last but certainly not least, is Oriol Elias, who’s based in Barcelona. He’s a brand ambassador for Reàl Ingredients and other companies, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to track him down at rum and Tiki festivals in Europe and sometimes in the U.S.

There you have it! A step-by-step guide to checking-in with every bartender and bar featured in the book! I couldn’t be more excited to see my friends who appear in the book signing copies, and I can’t wait to declare a contest winner.

Jen Akin, signing Minimalist Tiki at Rumba, in Seattle

One thought on “Your Guide To Winning $2500 with Minimalist Tiki

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  1. So let me get this straight: Visit 18 different bars, 13 different cities across 3 contintents, and 12 or 13 people (including at least four who do not appear to work at a bar), get them ALL to sign a book and take selfies with all of them, and you might—MIGHT—win $2,500? I’m truly gobsmacked.

    The cost of traveling to all of these cities would be far higher, and if someone actually does have it in their mind to attempt this, there are a million ways it could go wrong. What if you show up in L.A. and your favorite bartender is on vacation for three weeks? Oops, too bad! Oh, your phone got stolen and you lost your selfies from last night? A pity! A booze shortage shuts down London bars thanks to Brexit? Better luck next time!

    It’s tricky enough figuring out when my favorite bartenders are on shift in my home town. I can’t even begin to imagine tracking people down in distant cities. This is just an utterly impossible challenge you’ve set out. I urge you to rethink it.

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