Missionary’s Downfall is a lesser-known classic tiki cocktail that is incredibly refreshing and fairly light. Unlike many tiki drinks, Missionary’s Downfall is not overly boozy and doesn’t require too many oddball ingredients!
One of the things that makes the tiki genre so fun is the layers of interesting flavors from various rums, exotic syrups, and liqueurs.
However, if you’re just getting started mixing this category of cocktail, it can be discouraging to read recipes listings so many unusual ingredients.
Missionary’s Downfall is great for tiki beginners because it has all the layered flavor, tropical vibes, and mystique of tiki, but with minimal work and shopping involved. Here’s a rundown of what’s in the glass:
Missionary’s Downfall ingredients:
- White rum (I used Plantation 3 Star)
- Peach liqueur or my easy peach syrup
- Honey syrup
- Pineapple juice
- Lime juice
- Mint leaves
When it comes to the rum, you can use any white rum you have on hand. Just keep in mind that the more flavorful your rum, the more flavorful your cocktail will be.
For the peach liqueur, I recommend something high quality like Giffard Peche de Vigne. If you want fresh peach flavor and peaches are in season, you can make my easy Fresh Peach Syrup!
Honey syrup is quick and easy and doesn’t require any heating. Simply mix equal parts of honey and water together to make the honey easy to disperse in the cocktail. Learn all about it in my Honey Syrup recipe.
It’s best to use fresh pineapple and lime juice, but canned or bottled unsweetened pineapple juice will also work. You’ll also need plenty of fresh mint leaves for the drink and the garnish.
Missionary’s Downfall vs. Aku Aku
Missionary’s Downfall is often confused with another tiki classic, Aku Aku. There’s a lot of conflicting information out there about both of these drinks, but a trustworthy source (Difford’s Guide) states that the Aku Aku came after Missionary’s Downfall.
Missionary’s Downfall was the invention of tiki founding father, Donn Beach. Another tiki legend, Trader Vic, is known to have served the Aku Aku at his restaurants.
Both cocktails use similar ingredients, but the Aku Aku was a blended drink made with fresh mint and pineapple chunks and served up. Missionary’s Downfall was served in a tall glass over cubed or crushed ice.
When it comes to classic drinks – and especially the once secretive genre of tiki – it can be hard to find precise original recipes. Many sources will say different things. And that’s ok, there’s room for variation and personal interpretation.
After trying several versions of Missionary’s Downfall and Aku Aku, this is the one that I enjoy the most, and that’s why this is the recipe I’ve chosen to highlight.
The flavors of summer
This cocktail is the perfect blending of summer flavors. Peach, pineapple, lime, honey, and mint are an unbeatable combination that’s sweet, sour, light, and refreshing.
If you enjoy this recipe, you may also like these other tiki drinks:
Missionary’s Downfall (Classic Tiki Cocktail)
- 1 ½ oz white rum
- 1 oz pineapple juice
- ¾ oz lime juice
- ½ oz peach liqueur (or peach syrup, link below)
- ½ oz honey syrup (recipe link below)
- 10 mint leaves
- Gently muddle the mint and the lime juice in a cocktail shaker.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the shaker and fill it ¾ with ice. Shake until chilled, then strain into a tall glass filled with ice.
- Garnish with mint and an edible flower, if desired.