Here are a few of the responses & comments Kelly has received regarding her mixology. Hopefully these will give you a glimpse into her work, but the best way to familiarize yourself with Hiphipahula cocktails is to try them yourself! Do you have your own experience with Kelly that you’d like to share? Send in your own testimonial.
“Kelly Reilly is a masterful mixologist who has not only done her homework in studying the forefathers of cocktail culture (in the course of which she has internalized the complete works of Tiki cocktail reviver Jeff Berry) but she has the creativity to expand and create new recipes in that tradition. She does this with the help of her extensive knowledge of classic Tiki culture, which allows her to incorporate all the ingenious concepts employed in the genre, and adapt them to modern day and a specific location or occasion. She can step behind any bar and deliver right away, train any staff in her craft, and design complete cocktail menus. And she has the bartender’s ear to make people talk and feel listened to. I would seek out her libations in any watering hole.”
“Kelly has been an inspiration to the So Cal Tiki scene. Whether behind the bar concocting tropical cocktail creations, or organizing art shows, she has made many Tiki fans happy. We are all looking forward to Kelly’s next venture.”
“Kelly ‘Hiphipahula’ Reilly is one of the few bartenders today that understands the classic tiki cocktail. I have travelled all over the USA visiting tiki bars and, from my experiences, Kelly is part of a small group of bartenders that are true to the techniques and recipes of the tiki cocktail greats including Don the Beachcomber and Trader Vic. I always enjoy a refreshing tiki cocktail from Kelly!”
“Kelly is now a prominent fixture in the resurgent Tiki scene and is best known for her awesome mixology skills. Kelly “Hiphipahula” Reilly is a dear friend and a reliable and kind soul.”
“I raise a frosty and gloriously grinning Tiki mug to my FAVORITE mixologist, Kelly HipHiPaHulA Reilly…for making me a TRUE nectar of the Tiki Gods! She called it a “Shaka Hula Bossa Nova” and I cannot rave enough on it’s magic to tongue and spine. You are precious talent to our Ohana, Kelly, and I cannot wait to sit and take in your enchanting creations of tropical wonders again. Aloha and keep em coming girl!”
“In 2009, when Kelly Reilly walked into the Tonga Hut bar, everything changed there. She took command of the dark, neglected bar space and started creating amazing potions that made everyone take notice, and kept them coming back for more. News of her talents brought in many new patrons to the Tonga Hut, and helped turn the old bar into one of the new, colorful destination spots in the Los Angeles cocktail scene. From well-known cocktails to her own inventive creations, Kelly’s work dazzles with a variety of fresh flavors and originality. Los Angeles is blessed with many excellent exotic (aka: Tiki) bars, so Kelly had some serious competition, yet she successfully held her own. I can honestly say that every cocktail I’ve ever had from Kelly has been noteworthy and very delicious. Her Rum Barrel alone deserves its own paragraph, it’s that good!
“I’ve also seen Kelly expertly handle large crowds when she’s been hired to do large events. She plans these jobs well in advance, and makes sure that everyone has a drink in their hands quickly and with a smile. She will shake or stir anything you want — from custom “themed” cocktails to classic favorites. And she’ll even pre-mix beautiful containers of wonderful punch-style drinks that are perfect for sizable gatherings. I can honestly say that Kelly is one of the hardest working, most creative mixologists on the West Coast, and anyone would be lucky to have her at their event or behind their bar. Just writing about her makes me thirsty!”
“The Tiki Revival is all about “ancestor worship” where we pay homage to a mid-century pop culture that most of us only recall as a distant childhood memory. It’s a fine line to stay faithful to the original spirit of Tiki, but yet adapt and evolve it for the 21st Century. This is true for the art, the music, and the mixology. One person who keeps the old-school Tiki flame burning, while exploring the new possibilities, is Kelly Reilly, aka ‘Hiphipahula.’ … She’s constantly experimenting with her own creations like a ‘Tiki mad scientist’ in her Tiki laboratory. As a result she’s come up with some new alcoholic concoctions that might even best some of the classics. … When Kelly’s mixing her originals, it’s not just an afternoon in bar, it’s an EVENT. Make mine a Hiphipahula drink!!”