12 Tiki Drinks You Have to Make
In 1933, Donn Beach started it all by opening the birthplace of classic tiki cocktails: Don the Beachcomber in Hollywood. Inspired by his travels in the South Pacific, he outfitted his hip joint with a bamboo bar, giant palm fronds, rattan peacock chairs and of course, tropically-inspired tiki bar drinks. Hollywood stars enjoyed swanning about with their classic tiki cocktails in ceramic mugs, fantasizing that they were in Tahiti or Hawaii. The trend was a hit.
Inspired by a visit to the Beachcomber, "Trader" Vic Bergeron opened his own version of the tiki bar in Oakland, eventually named Trader Vic's. The trend spread like wildfire across the nation and flourished for three decades until tiki bars gradually began to decline in popularity.
A couple tiki revivals have occurred, but this much is true: tiki drinks are here to stay in your party repertoire. Stock your bar with the basic ingredients for drinks like the world-famous Mai Tai and the party-perfect Rum Punch, including tiki staples like light and dark rum, lime juice, and pineapple juice.
Ah, the mai tai. For beginners it is not, with its orgeat, two types of rum, and orange Curacao. But the perfectly nuanced taste is the reward of this classic tiki drink so popular that it's synonymous with tiki culture. If you're looking for a simpler — albeit less authentic — version of this drink, check out this recipe. You can also get your sweet mai tai delivered to you in a refreshing ice pop format.
Pina Colada Punch
Making individual pina coladas can be a little bit of work — getting the ingredients, which you probably don't have on hand, plus firing up the blender. If you've got a few hours, why not whip up a big punch bowl of this treasured classic in advance, which can be frozen instead of blended. Come party time, your friends and family can serve themselves from a big slushy bowl of this rich tropical delight.
Dark 'n' Stormy
The dark and stormy is a popular tiki drink known to the sailing community, and is also the national drink of Bermuda. Best of all, it requires only two ingredients, plus ice — but you'll need to make sure you use a dark rum and ginger beer, not ginger ale. Then, all you have to do is stir — no shaking or steps required. For more, watch how to make our dark and stormy cocktail recipe.
Rum, brandy, and gin, oh my! The fog cutter is sometimes called the Long Island Iced Tea of tiki drinks, and for good reason. Tempered by the acids of citrus juices, including the sweet of orange juice and the sour of lemon juice, along with orgeat syrup and sherry, this classic tiki cocktail isn't messing around.
This tiki cocktail's got something a little different: peach schnapps. A honey syrup gives a different flavor profile than other classic tiki drinks with simple syrups. But it's mint that looms large in this sweet treat, with a dozen leaves muddled with rum in your shaker.
A favorite in Bermuda that's almost as popular as the Dark and Stormy, this is the nation's "other national drink." Locals love this gently-mixed cocktail that calls on orange juice, pineapple juice, and grenadine for flavoring. Our version employs a bottle of ginger beer to kick things up a notch.
Singapore Sling Cocktail
For a grand evening, consider what's essentially a tropical sunset in a glass: the Singapore Sling. This beloved cocktail actually brings gin, not rum, to the tiki table. When you add in triple sec, Benedictine, and cherry-flavored brandy, this luscious sipper will ensure your evening is as perfect as the pineapple and cherry garnish on top.
You may, or may not, remember the Scorpion Bowl from college days of yore — or from a fancy Chinese restaurant you visited with seven friends. But whether you've had it or not, this large-batch cocktail is prime party material. Fill your festive punch bowl with gin, three types of rum, vodka, grenadine, and the juice of oranges, lemons, and pineapple.
Storm of the Century Hurricane
Three types of rum mean this is a serious island drink. But get ready — because this also includes vodka and gin. Though it's traditionally more of a Mardi Gras drink, it's perfect for tiki time because of its vibrant tropical color, focus on rum, and extra-strength recipe. A slice of fruit and an umbrella make the perfect adornments.
The painkiller is a rum drink brewed up on the beautiful British Virgin Islands. One interesting tweak: the level of rum can really be chosen by you. Traditionally, a painkiller deserves at least two ounces of rum as its base, but if you want to go for three — or even four — we won't judge. Made with deliciously sweet pineapple juice, cream of coconut, and OJ, the painkiller is finished with a pinch of ground nutmeg.
Ro's Rum Runner
There's something refreshingly different about this rum drink named after the Prohibition bootleggers known as "runners." A tiki glass is the apropos vessel for this tall drink of rum, coconut rum, banana liqueur, and blackberry brandy.
Sunset Rum Punch
Hibiscus syrup is a key ingredient in this punch, imbuing the punch with notes of both florality and tartness. If you can't find hibiscus at your local Mexican grocery, health food shop, or tea shop, try using dried rose hips or Celestial Seasonings Red Zinger tea. Limes add to the tartness, while oranges bring sweetness, and grapefruit does both. If you don't have crushed ice or a blender to make any, just follow this easy tip.