Sip of History: Tiki 101

Explore the history of libations and Western fantasies of faraway lands in this educational and hands-on mixology class.

Join Maite Gomez-Rejón of ArtBites and Shannon McHugh, long-term fellow at The Huntington, in an exciting new series exploring the history of libations. Grounded in history and culture, the class will use The Huntington’s art, ephemera, and landscapes to trace the long history of tiki, telling the stories of the myriad cultures at the heart of this popular movement, as well as California’s indelible role in its evolution.

The class begins in the galleries, where participants will discover the history of sugar and alcoholic spirits in colonial America. The group will then stroll through the Japanese Garden to talk about Western fantasies of faraway lands in the early and mid-20th century—a fascination that resulted in both Henry E. Huntington’s garden and the very first tiki bar, Don the Beachcomber—both of which opened in Los Angeles within a few years of each other. The class will then conclude with participants making two classic tiki cocktails—a Planter’s Punch and a daiquiri—while enjoying tropical-themed snacks.

Key Details:

  • Participants must be 21 years of age or older to attend.
  • This program will include about 45 minutes of walking to the Huntington Art Gallery and the Japanese Garden; comfortable shoes are suggested.
  • Admission to The Huntington is included in the price of your ticket.

Day of Program:

  • Please bring ticket confirmation with you.
  • Check in with Education staff at Admission window #10 beginning at 3:30 p.m.

If you have any mobility issues, dietary concerns, or general program questions, please contact Joy Yamahata at or 626-405-3457.

Two people in Hawaiian dress perform on a lawn near the ocean, with a white ship in the distance.

Matson Navigation Company, publisher, ca. 1966, print on card stock, 11 9/16 x 8 1/16 in. | The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens.

Three pamphlet covers about traveling to Hawaii.

From left: Los Angeles Steamship Company, publisher, Spring tours to Hawaii: personally conducted and all inclusive, sailing from Los Angeles April 23 and May 21 1927, 1927, print, 9 1/8 x 24 5/16 in.
Matson Navigation Company, publisher, What to pack for paradise : Matson Lines clothing and climate guide, ca. 1965, print, 9 x 4 in.
Matson Navigation Company, publisher, Matson inclusive tours of Hawaii, 1949, print, 26 5/8 x 8 1/16 in. | The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens.

A page layout of information and photos of traveling in Hawaii.

Matson Navigation Company, publisher. Matson travel offerings: summer 1937, 1937, print, 33 13/16 x 24 3/8 in. | The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens.

The cover of an informational tour book.

Matson Navigation Company, publisher. Matson air-sea tours: 10-15-20 days - four islands - five ports, 1969, print, 9 x 7 15/16 in. | The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens.

Orange illustration on gray paper, a map of Hawaii with decorative elements.

Los Angeles Steamship Company, publisher, Hawaiian scenes : also views taken aboard the liners of the LASSCO Hawaiian Fleet, 1930, print, 9 x 8 1/16 in. | The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens.


About the Instructors:

Maite Gomez-Rejón has been exploring the nexus of art and culinary history for over a decade through lectures, cooking classes, and tastings presented at museums and cultural centers across the country. She has worked in the education departments of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the J. Paul Getty Museum; has taught art history at the college level; and has worked as a private chef and caterer. A native of South Texas, Gomez-Rejón earned a BFA from the University of Texas at Austin, an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a Grande Diplome from the French Culinary Institute in New York City. She worked in restaurant kitchens in France and Mexico before combining her two passions of art and food in 2007, when she founded ArtBites.

Shannon McHugh is associate professor of French and Italian at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Her research focuses on early modern literature and gender, with emphases including lyric poetry, the Counter-Reformation, and the history of participatory fan culture. Her new book, Petrarch and the Making of Gender in Renaissance Italy (Amsterdam University Press, 2023), examines how men and women of the Italian Renaissance used poetry to construct new, fluid, and sometimes radical gendered possibilities. She has co-edited the volumes Vittoria Colonna: Poetry, Religion, Art, Impact (with Virginia Cox, 2021) and Innovation in the Italian Counter-Reformation (with Anna Wainwright, 2020) and co-translated Writings on the Sisters of San Luca and Their Miraculous Madonna (with Danielle Callegari, 2015). Her Huntington project studies the history of women’s reproductive bodies by comparing early modern medical texts’ depictions of childbearing, pregnancy loss, birth, and nursing with those found in poetry by men and women from Italy and France.