Luau Party Cocktails Paired with the Perfect Island Bites
Aloha, Polynesian party people! Fire up the grill, spark the torches, and let's luau! Yes, it's time to get freaky with tiki.
We're pairing our favorite luau party cocktails with tasty bites from the islands. Let's start with a cocktail as blue as the South Pacific.
True, tiki cocktails are typically rum-based beverages. But the first rule of Tiki Time is...who needs rules? So we're kicking things off with a tequila tipple. Just look at this cocktail! It paints the perfect Polynesian picture. A couple of these, and you feel the sea spray on your face and the white sand between your toes.
And if you can't condone tequila in a tiki drink, replace it with light rum. Or tip back a Mai Tai...
The classic tiki cocktail. This Mai Tai combines three kinds of rum -- light rum, gold rum, and dark rum -- with orgeat, orange liqueur, and lime juice. Watch out! Mai Tai cocktails are infamously easy drinking; they'll sneak up on you in a hurry, pummelling you with the force of 10,000 teeny-tiny umbrellas.
Say you've set sail from Cuba, bound for the South Pacific, Hemingway at the helm. Don't you just know he's shaking these lime daiquiris the whole way?
If you love to luau, the daiquiri is your drink. "Refreshing tiki flavors mingle in this delicious reinterpretation of the classic daiquiri," says MattAlan.
Because tiki time's always the right time for chillin'...
"Take yourself and a few friends on a trip to the sunny islands of your imagination with this refreshing juice and rum-filled adult pop." -- MattAlan
Or leave out the rum entirely, and enjoy these refreshing fruit pops. They're "frozen fruit blended together with Reddi-wip®, pineapple juice and coconut extract."
Geography tells us that the Bahamas are not exactly in the South Pacific. But who asked Geography? This cocktail combines coconut-flavored rum with light rum, plus pineapple and orange juices, and a dash of grenadine.
"Jimmy Buffett's sister, Lulu, owns a very popular restaurant in Gulf Shores, Alabama. Lulu's serves the ABSOLUTE best Pina Colada in the world there! Here is the next best thing to one of hers! If you can't find the frozen mixer, 1/2 can coconut cream and pineapple juice will work." -- Simon'sMom
"Traditional affogato is vanilla gelato topped with espresso, but here a tropical sorbet forms an island in a coffee-flavored rum sea. Rum-based Tia Maria coffee liqueur is preferred for its wonderful rich flavor." -- MattAlan
OK, let's punch things up!
"When it's late and you're hanging around the fire pit with friends watching the sunset, this is the rum punch crowd-pleaser to pass around. Full of bright citrus, floral notes and plenty of good rum, you'll all have a delicious time before the day is done." -- -- MattAlan
Coconut rum and vodka get the job done here, with pineapple juice and grenadine in a supporting role. "An awesome drink to sip by the pool! Garnish with an orange wheel." -- POLKA
"Routinely found at Chinese restaurants, this punch-like cocktail is absolutely mouthwatering. This goes great with Chinese and Polynesian food." -- JJS0513
"Bucks refer to drinks that combine lime and ginger beer, so a dark and stormy with lime is an example of a buck. In this version, I introduced aromatic bitters and homemade hibiscus syrup for extra flavor and a blush of color. Add your choice of garnish, such as a lime twist or a fresh hibiscus flower. Serve with a straw." -- MattAlan
For more rum cocktails, check out our Rum Recipe Collection.
But before we get to the food, here's a mocktail. It's a tasty tiki-type sip for non-drinkers, of course. But it's also a smart move for anyone indulging. Sip a high-octane tiki cocktail, then sample the mocktail. It'll keep you on your feet.
Keep it cool with coolers. "Dreaming of coladas or mojitos? Celebrating classic tiki flavors, this mocktail is bright with citrus, low on sweetness. From the first sip, imagining a beautiful beach is altogether easy." -- MattAlan
To avoid tribulation by tiki, be mindful of your sipping pace, drink plenty of water, and nibble tasty morsels. These island-friendly appetizers are primed for the pu-pu platter and pair up perfectly with tiki cocktails.
Here's everything you'll need to throw a tiki party.
"Rumaki combines the crunchiness of bacon and water chestnuts with the wonderful flavors of pineapple." -- Barbara
"While not 'authentic,' these crispy crab and cream cheese wontons are one of the most addictive, delicious, and crowd-pleasing appetizers ever created. That is, if the filling has enough crab in it. I'm using a 1 to 1 ratio of crab to cream cheese." -- Chef John
"Spam Musubi is a popular snack in Hawaii. It is a type of sushi that has marinated cooked spam." -- Rashad Maiden
"These crispy shrimp are rolled in a coconut beer batter before frying. For dipping sauce, I use orange marmalade, mustard, and horseradish mixed to taste." -- LINDAV10
How about tiki treasures from the grill? For best results, don your loudest Hawaiian shirt for these classic beach-side bites -- and for extra beach cred, don't just don it,
the Hawaiian shirt.
"Shoyu Chicken is a popular Hawaiian dish. It is often served with rice. The word shoyu is Japanese for soy sauce. Let the chicken soak in the marinade for at least an hour, the longer the better." -- The Big E
"These kabobs are tender, sweet, and delicious. They're easy to make and only require a few ingredients." -- dailyn2003
"I usually make this as an appetizer. Always a hit. It's so easy and quick. Great for potluck, although it's never enough!" -- Luv2bake
This crunchy slaw is a real beauty -- full of colorful veggies and dressed with a sweet cider and soy sauce vinaigrette.
And save room on the grill for Hawaiian-style burgers.
"Fresh ginger is a key ingredient for these tasty burgers." -- CIORFINO
"This tasty sandwich is like a luau on a bun!" -- Chris McDaniel
Or say it with Spam! Although these Spam Burgers might work better under the broiler than on the grill.
If you really want to live large, try a traditional Hawaiian luau, replete with a kalua pig, which roasts in the ground. If you don't feel like digging a hole in the yard, try this oven-roasted version:
"Fire up the tiki torches -- it's time for a luau! This delicious slow-roasted pork is rubbed with sea salt and liquid smoke to recall the glorious flavors of pig cooked in a traditional Hawaiian imu. Once cooked and cooled, shred and serve it with poi, yams, or on a bun. Use ordinary sea salt if the Hawaiian variety is unavailable." -- Ruby
You can also make Kalua Pig in a Slow Cooker.
"Smoked salmon, tomato, and onion make up this tantalizing Hawaiian salad. It's just not a luau without the lomi!" -- SAXONY
"This deli-style macaroni salad will always be a crowd-favorite, as long as you pay attention to a few key details. Tweak the vegetables and dressing ingredients to your liking. But no matter what you put in, try to let it sit overnight before serving. The flavors will develop, the macaroni will fully absorb the dressing, and all you'll need to do is taste, adjust, and serve. " -- Chef John
"Everyone in Hawaii has their own version of fried rice. This is my own version of fried rice that the locals ate in Hawaii." --chen
"This is a standard raw tuna (poke) salad served in most Hawaiian homes. Although unconventional, it is sure to please the more adventurous seafood lovers. Be sure to use fresh tuna for the very best flavor, although fresh frozen tuna will produce acceptable results." -- Josh Chan
Discover more top-rated Hawaiian Recipes.
Finish things off with something sweet from the islands:
"Old family recipe that my family made for me when I was a little girl back in Samoa." -- Mae
Related: Find more tropical theme recipes.