Tiki mugs

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A tiki mug from a tiki bar in California

Tiki mugs are large ceramic cocktail mugs that originated in tiki bars and tropical-themed restaurants.[1] The term "tiki mugs" is a generic blanket term for sculptural drinkware that depict Polynesian, mock-Polynesian, or tropical themes. Tiki mugs are not commonly seen outside tiki bars and restaurants, but are also a kitsch collectors item.[2]


Originally created as both signature and marketing tools to hold the exotic libations, the 1960s also saw the ceramic craft market following suit by releasing ceramic tiki mug molds for the hobbyist to customize. These original mugs, whether related to a location or made by the hobbyist, also known as the vintage mugs, once found in abundance on the dusty shelves of junk shops in the 1980s and 90s, became a sought after item for those who were responsible for the revival of interest in the heyday of places like Don the Beachcomber and Trader Vic's.

Though hobbyists and ceramic artists, in a small capacity, have continued to make these mugs at home, and larger manufacturers have mass-produced restaurant and bar promotional souvenirs since the 1960s, it was artist and carver Bosko, starting to create his own based on his style of design, and the "tiki revival" of the 1990s that sparked the tiki mug as a new art form. Following suit shortly thereafter was a father and son ceramics team, blending a long history of ceramic crafting and highly developed skills at glaze finishes and high fire work, who started making tiki mugs under the name Munktiki. From that point on, every year a few more tiki revivalists get into the craft, resulting in a new art scene that produces a large variety of interpretation of what "tiki mug" means.


Many tiki mug collectors divide their collections into the following manufacturers or styles:

  • Bucket Mug
  • Coconut Mug
  • Decanter
  • Fu Manchu Mug
  • Glassware (Glass tumblers, stemware, etc.)
  • Head Hunter Mug
  • Hula Girl or Wahine Mug
  • Moai Mug
  • Hawaiian Ku or Lono Mug
  • Maori Mug
  • Marquesan Mug
  • Rarotongan Mug
  • Orientalia Mug
  • Pineapple Mug
  • Pirate Mug
  • Rum Barrel Mug
  • Scorpion or Hula Girl Bowl
  • Skull Mug
  • Monkey Mug
  • Surfer Mug
  • Tiki Mug
  • Volcano Bowl
  • Volcano Insert
  • Shot
  • Other Bowl
  • Other Mug

The highly popular all-white figural Benihana-style drink glasses for exotic cocktails are also commonly referred to as "tiki mugs", but some collectors dispute this claim.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Robert Sharp; Nicole Weston (1 June 2015). Tiki Drinks: Tropical Cocktails for the Modern Bar. Countryman Press. ISBN 978-1-58157-596-5. 
  2. ^ Martin Cate; Rebecca Cate (7 June 2016). Smuggler's Cove: Exotic Cocktails, Rum, and the Cult of Tiki. Potter/TenSpeed/Harmony. ISBN 978-1-60774-733-8. 

Further reading[edit]