Fassionola the Book


The Torrid Story of Cocktails’ Most Mysterious Ingredient

By Gregorio Pantoja and Martin S Lindsay

Library of Congress Control Number: tbd

Full-color 8″x10″ softcover edition, 240 pages. San Diego: Classic San Diego Books, August 2023.

ISBN: 978-1-7328164-3-5 (Softcover)
ISBN: 978-1-7328164-4-2 (Adobe fixed layout ePUB / PDF)

About this Project

Today, little is known about “Passionola,” a passionfruit-flavored cocktail syrup once popular from the 1930s through the 1960s. In a new book from Classic San Diego Books, authors Gregorio Pantoja and Martin S. Lindsay uncover its origins and lost history. It is a detective work, a culinary and cultural history, a biographical review, and a cookbook all centered around cocktails’ most mysterious ingredient — Passionola — now known generically as “fassionola.”

Developed by a German immigrant druggist and his wife in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, California, the brand was coined “Passiflora,” then “Passionola” — a passionfruit product originally intended for soda fountains and ice cream sundaes. After the end of Prohibition, Don the Beachcomber used it in many of his original tropical cocktails. Thirty years and several scandals later, it was rebranded “Fassionola.” Along its journey, it touched the lives of music publishers, actors, dancers, soft-porn directors, suspected mob associates, and bartenders keen to keep the legend alive.

A Fassionola publishing project has been set up and is now live on Kickstarter. Backers may pre-order the book by visiting bit.ly/fassionola until October 15, 2022.



Table of Contents

The Druggist’s Delight
The Passion of Farmer Cottee
By the Beautiful Sea
Volstead’s Folly
How’s About a Nice Hawaiian Punch?
Don the Beachcomber
The Would-Be Sheik
The Taste Thrill of the Century
The Great White Way
Hurricane Bugsy
Zombie Invasion
The Orchid Lady
Mai Kai
The Man Who Killed Tiki
Dunn with Passion
Tiki Ti
Popo the Contender
A Rose is a Rose
Jonathan English
Bali Hai
New Wave Cocktails

About the Authors

Gregorio Pantoja, MA, is an author, historian, philanthropist, and lover of Tiki’s lost and forgotten stories. Gregorio is a professor of history at San Diego State University and San Diego Community Colleges.

Martin S. Lindsay, AIGA, is an art director, food historian, writer, speaker, and board chair of the Culinary Historians of San Diego. Martin wrote Ninety Years of Classic San Diego Tiki, 1928-2018, contributed to Tim Ferriss’ bestseller The 4-Hour Chef, and blogs about history & food. He was the recipient of SOHO’s People In Preservation “Culture Keeper” award in 2022.