6 Great Tiki Cocktails
Food and Drink

6 Great Tiki Cocktails

If you can’t trust grass-skirted island dwellers for delectable summer cocktails, who can you trust? These concoctions come awash in tropical fruit, spice-laced liqueurs, odd syrups, and usually rum. They shimmer like a hot sun and slide down like a cool waterfall. Think sun, sand, and surf.

Planning your next backyard barbecue? How about serving Tiki cocktails to keep everyone cool and refreshed? Here’s a few tropical drinks to consider as you host the next summer party!

Saturn Cocktail

adapted from themanual.com; image: Deposit Photos, bhofack2

"Made with gin and rum, this twist on a traditional Tiki soothes like a lazy sunset with an interesting Negroni-like float on top."

1 ounce Martin Miller Gin

½ ounce Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum 12 year

½ ounce Campari

½ ounce sweet vermouth

½ ounce falernum

1 ounce lemon juice

½ ounce orgeat

¼ ounce passion fruit

1/8 ounce 2:1 evaporated cane simple syrup

For the bottom layer, turn on your island hula app, grab your shaker, and pour in the gin, falernum, lemon juice, orgeat, passion fruit, and cane simple syrup. Load it with ice and stir gently like a tropical breeze. Strain it into your favorite curvy glass loaded with crushed ice. Now mix the top layer that harkens back to deep island history—a Kingston Negroni—with Appleton, Campari, and sweet vermouth. Gently, gently pour it over the back of a spoon so it floats on the very top. Garnish with a slice of orange and pineapple.

The Drunken Monkey Cocktail

adapted from aspicyperspective.com; image: Deposit Photos, ostancoff

"Beware. This one’s all delicious Caribbean refreshment that hides a volcano-sized kick. Makes a great punch too. "

6 ounces orange-pineapple juice blend

3 ounces coconut rum

1 ounce spiced rum

4–5 dashes bitters

1–2 teaspoons maraschino cherry juice

fresh ground nutmeg

maraschino cherries, for garnish

lime slices, for garnish

fresh pineapple wedges, for garnish

Crank up some Jimmy Buffet, grab an ice-filled cocktail shaker and pour in the juice, both rums, and the bitters. Shake long enough to sing a chorus of “Cheeseburger in Paradise,” about 30 seconds. Divide into 2 iced tumblers or one tall Tiki, but only if you’re going to be sitting down for the next hour. Now drizzle in the cherry juice and watch it settle to the bottom. Garnish and dust with fresh nutmeg.

Singapore Sling Cocktail

adapted from thespruceeats.com; image: Deposit Photos, gosphotodesign

"Versions of this classic from the eponymous Asia-Pacific Island realm are as plentiful as grains of sand. This version tends toward the cherry side versus traditional citrus but keeps the bubbly topping of club soda."

1 ½ ounces gin

1 ounce Bénédictine liqueur

½ ounce cherry liqueur

1 ounce lime juice

¼ ounce simple syrup (2:1)

2 ounces club soda

lemon slice, for garnish

Maraschino cherry, if desired

Pour everything but the club soda into your favorite shaker filled with ice. Jiggle like you got sand in your pants until its well blended. Rim a highball glass of cubes with lemon (we like that tartness with the bubbly sweet of the Sling), then strain in the liquid loveliness and top with the club soda.

Nui Nui Cocktail

adapted from gotrum.com; image: Deposit Photos, chikennnsem

"Created back in the 30s by legendary Don the Beachcomber, you get all the refreshment you crave from a Tiki with spices that taste more like Christmas. That’s a whole lot of happiness. If it’s too spice-heavy for you, cut the Dram in half."

1 ½ ounces gold Virgin Islands rum

½ ounce dark Demarara rum

½ ounce fresh lime juice

½ ounce fresh orange juice

¼ ounce cinnamon syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla syrup

1 teaspoon St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram

1 dash angostura bitters

If you want it a bit diluted, then blend everything with ice for just a flash. No slushiness, just a bit pulverized. If you want it more full flavored, as the Tiki gods prefer, then shake it with ice to some steel drum beats until those sluggish syrups truly dissolve. Strain into any Tiki mug with a fearsome protective grin over ice.

Jet Pilot Cocktail

adapted from themanual.com, image: Deposit Photos, bhofack2

"A throwback to the 50s, this mid-century classic flew out of the heyday of Hollywood in Beverly Hills. It has the traditional Tiki mish-mash of ingredients that begins with a trio of rums and swirls into a stellar libation."

1 ounce Appleton Reserve

¾ ounce Ron Del Barrilito

¾ ounce Lemonhart 151

½ ounce Velvet Falernum

½ ounce cinnamon syrup

½ ounce grapefruit juice

½ ounce lime juice

1 dash Angostura bitters

1 dash absinthe

This is as simple as lying on the beach. Put one or two ice cubes along with all the ingredients into your shaker and whip shake that baby like you’re trying to achieve liftoff. Once the cubes melt, strain into a Tiki glass filled with crushed ice. This type of shaking aerates and dilutes to form a slight froth at the top of the glass like a wisp of cirrus clouds. Garnish with your favorite citrus and a bit of mint.

Scorpion Cocktail

adapted from vintageamericancocktails.com; image: Deposit Photos, bhofack2

"There’s no sting here. Just a straightforward mix—supposedly from Trader Vic himself—that will satisfy those seeking a more simple, day-in-the-sun, slushy refresher than the usual spicy profusion of a Tiki cocktail."

1 ½ ounces lemon juice

2 ounces orange juice

½ ounce orgeat

1 ounce brandy

2 ounces white rum

On this one, you can take it easy and let the blender do all the work, just as the Tiki gods intended. Start by pouring everything in with one scoop of cubes. Blend on low for 10 seconds or till the cubes look more like crushed ice. Now jack it up to high for 5–10 seconds until the whole mixture is delightful slushy. Pour into your favorite grinning Tiki and cool down.