Tiki and Tropical Drinks

Painkiller from Chow

I’ll soon be heading to Oahu to sip umbrella drinks by the beach. But no matter where you are, your cocktail shaker can transport you to a tropical place. Tiki drinks aren’t just for summer! Just make sure you’re all stocked up on rum. Here are some fun ones to try:

Banana Daiquiri ~ This is very simple for a tropical drink—even though blending is involved, it’s only a few common ingredients. And the result is refreshing and surprisingly delicious.

Mr. Bali Hai ~ A little bit of coffee flavor perks up this tiki cocktail. You wouldn’t think coffee and pineapple would go so well together. But they most definitely do!

Royal Bermuda Yacht Club ~ This is a fun take on the Daiquiri, with Cointreau and Falernum. You can easily make your own falernum, if you don’t already have some.

Planter’s Punch ~ No two recipes for this tiki classic are the same. This recipe has a little bit of sweetness without the avalanche of fruit flavors that can be overwhelming in some versions.

Painkiller ~ Creamy coconut with rum and orange … now that’s what you sip in paradise! Transform your living room into a tropical getaway with this tiki treat.

Mai Tai

One could argue that tiki time isn’t limited to just the summer, and one would be right. However, there’s something about summer sunshine that makes a tropical drink with a pineapple spear or tiny umbrella the logical choice. Let’s get tiki!

The Mai Tai is one of the most well-known of the tiki drinks. It’s a bit complicated, with several types of rum and an almond syrup known as orgeat, but once you’re sipping one life becomes quite simple.

You can make your own orgeat, or buy it. It’s easy to make. But if you do buy it, make sure you get one made with real almonds. (Small Hand Foods and Okole Maluna are two good ones.)

Mai Tai
3/4 ounce light rum
3/4 ounce gold rum
1/2 ounce dark rum
1 ounce triple sec
1/2 ounce orgeat
1/2 ounce lime juice

Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake for about 15 seconds. Strain into ice-filled old fashioned glass. (Some people prefer to float the dark rum on top rather than shaking it in.) Garnish with pineapple chunk and sprig of mint.

*If you just don’t have those three different types of rum on hand, you could do one ounce each of light and dark rum instead.

Photo by Jackson Stakeman

DIY vs. Buy: Get Tiki with Falernum

You may not have heard of falernum, but if you love Tiki cocktails then you probably love falernum. It’s a combination of lime and spices, either as a rum liqueur or a syrup. Give it a try!

Falernum is indispensable in Tiki drinks, brightening the sour notes of citrus and adding a hint of rich spice. But it also plays well with slightly bitter flavors. If you’re at all interested in Tiki cocktails, this stuff is a must-have for your home bar.

DIY vs. Buy: Should I Make My Own Falernum? on Serious Eats

Photo by Liam Boylan