We know, we know; it’s already too hot outside—and now that the summer is officially starting, it’s only going to get worse. While we unfortunately can’t do anything about the heat, we can suggest a few tiki cocktails to make the steamy weather more bearable.
During the 1940s and ‘50s, tropical tiki drinks were a sensation, cooling down sweltering adults across the country. You can thank Ernest Raymond Beaumont Gantt of Los Angeles bar Don the Beachcomber and Victor Bergeron of the Trader Vic chain for popularizing these refreshing sippers.
But the last few decades have not been kind to tiki. The classic recipes for these elixirs were cheapened with sugary ingredients and become synonymous with terrible bars on cruise ships and Bourbon Street. Fortunately, there has been a recent revival, with neo-tiki bars popping up around the country and using real cream of coconut, fresh juices and homemade grenadine.
So stop suffering and kick off the summer by fixing these 10 tantalizing tiki cocktails—you’ll be glad you did. Cheers!
Even if you can’t make it to the British Virgin Islands this summer, this delightfully chilly mix of Pusser’s Rum, orange juice, pineapple juice and cream of coconut will make you feel like you’re there. Take two and call us in the morning.
After a few sips of this Banks 5-Island Rum-based concoction, you’d swear its creator, award-winning mixologist and Liquor.com advisory board member Jim Meehan, was from some exotic locale. Though he actually hails from Wisconsin, the cocktail is no less impressive.
This simple tipple from all-star Portland, Ore., bartender Jeffrey Morgenthaler is packed with flavor and features the Brazilian sugar-cane spirit cachaça. But the secret to the recipe is his home-made grenadine. Fortunately, we got him to share his formula for that, too.
Tiki is all about being imaginative, and this cocktail certainly fits the bill. It includes familiar tropical ingredients like lime juice, pineapple and the Guatemalan Zacapa 23 Rum, along with an unexpected hit of maple syrup sweetness. We swear the combination works.
Were you expecting a giant, neon-colored monstrosity? Fear not; this is the classic Mai Tai, from San Francisco’s resident tiki expert Martin Cate. It’s a smooth mixture of rum, orange Curaçao, orgeat syrup, rock candy syrup and lime juice. You’ll never try another recipe for the drink.
One sip of this exotic elixir and you’ll be swept away to the Raffles Hotel in Singapore, where it was invented in the early 20th century. (Our recipe is adapted from The Gentleman’s Companion by Charles H. Baker, Jr..) It calls for herbal gin and Bénédictine, plus cherry brandy, soda and lime.
When it comes to mixology, the banana is often overlooked. (The frozen Daiquiri, of course, being the exception.) But if you’re feeling a little more adventurous this summer, try this creamy tropical libation from mixologist Vena Edmonds. This fruity drink mixes rum, crème de banane, Castries Peanut Rum Crème Liqueur, cream of coconut and pineapple juice. You really can’t get much more tropical than that.
We’re not embarrassed to admit that we like a well-made blender drink. You’ll no doubt agree after you taste this tequila twist on the classic Piña Colada. It showcases Don Julio Reposado Tequila, which works surprisingly well with the standard cream of coconut, pineapple juice and fresh lime juice.