The final resting place of one of Tiki’s giants.
I was surprised to find the grave of Trader Vic at mountain view cemetery in Oakland.
There are many things to say about Trader Vic and his contribution to cocktailiana, but one story that has always stuck with me is about his acquaintance with Ernest Lawrence, one of the architects of the atomic bomb. Lawrence was a huge fan of Trader Vic’s in Oakland and spent a good bit of time there, reportedly holding many meetings there regarding the development of the bomb.
Shortly after the war ended, when all of the world knew of the newly created atomic bomb, Lawrence returned to Trader Vic’s as described in this quote from the book “Brotherhood of the Bomb”.
With peace also came the return of familiar customs. On December 7, 1945, Lawrence hosted a cocktail party for the Rad Lab’s returnees at Berkeley’s elegant Claremont Hotel, Followed by a dinner at Trader Vic’s. (Ernest’s favorite restauranteur invented a new drink for the occasion-a lurid, smoking concoction of rum, blue Curacao, and dry ice dubbed the “A-bomb cocktail.” “It was ghastly,” Molly [Lawrence] remembered.)
It’s interesting to think that Vic Bergeron might have been one of the first people to establish the pop cultural obsession with the atomic future, and for the people who created the bomb none-the-less.