Bootlegger Tiki, quietly hidden behind an attached coffee shop, is located in the former location of an original Don The Beachcombers bar. In fact, they’ll point out inside the bamboo pole at the right of the bar which remains from Don’s. It’s fitting and complement to the legacy of DTB that Bootleggers is here, not just because it’s a Tiki Bar, but because it is an exceptional Tiki Bar. Heavily slanted towards original creations, Bootleggers has all the ingredients to make the full complement of Tiki beverages. The menu is quite varied in the offerings and amongst the originals there are some classic ones thrown in.
Red Rackums Revenge
Because I had to avoid anything with grapefruit for a while (tragedy!), I skipped on the Zombie this time. Having been here before though I wasn’t too disappointed as I have had this particular Zombie and recall it being quite good. So, I ventured into original drink territory, which has been, in my experience, a mixed bag in places. The Red Rackums Revenge was my choice for beverage #1 – and it did not disappoint. It really was an explosion of all the things I love about a very layered Tiki beverage. Cherry Liqueur, All Spice, Cinnamon, and Ginger all working together here with Demerara and Jamaican 151 rums. Finally the concoction is flash blended to produce a frothy top. This is one that I’m going to have to try and reproduce at home. They have come up with something really exceptional in this beverage.
The Mai Tai
Vic’s Mai Tai was up second, and I knew this one would be a slam dunk, and it was. A perfect blending off the proper mixings. They actually have three available here (two displayed on the current menu). There is the Vic’s version, they also happily have the DTB version which is less sweet than the Vic’s and a bit more heavy on the booze – also it has grapefruit in it so it is quite tart. Finally they have the Bitter Mai Tai, which is, heavy on the bitters! But boy is it good. I didn’t have it this trip, but if you are looking for a non sweet Tiki – then try the Bitter Mai Tai. Really good.
We have never come here in the evening hours and I don’t think that it would be the best idea as the place is quite small. There are three booths inside and only about 10 or so seats about. There is an outside patio that has much more seating, but being Palm Springs, can get pretty hot out there (even though they have misters). It has been my experience that coming around dinner time yields the best chance to get a seat inside as it is crowded in the afternoon and certainly at late night. It is a bit out of the zone of the restaurant area of the strip, but I find that walking up there isn’t a big deal (and then taking a Lyft on your way out).
Bootleggers is the second Tiki bar of note in Palm Springs and makes going to PS all the sweeter.