You can sip on tiki cocktails year round, but they’re that much better on the beach, poolside, or even just lounging on the couch in front of the AC on a hot summer day. The tiki genre is a vast and eclectic sea of cocktail recipes, but most have the following characteristics in common: the use of rum, tropical fruits, citrus juices, and often exotic spices in the form of syrups, liqueurs, or bitters. You can’t go wrong with a classic Mai Tai, but if you’re looking for something new and different, give one of these a try the next time you’re in the mood for something tropical.
This fun, simple twist on a Margarita substitutes orange liqueur with orgeat (almond syrup). A fairly new addition to the tiki canon, it was invented in 2005 at Bar Tiki in Mexico City. I put my own little spin on it by adding some lemongrass bitters.
2 oz tequila blanco
1 oz lime juice
.5 oz orgeat syrup
2 dashes lemongrass bitters (optional, I used Owl & Whale Lemongrass Bitters)
Instructions: Shake all ingredients with ice until chilled. Strain into a rocks glass or large cocktail glass filled with crushed ice and garnish with mint, lime, and a cherry.
This is not the sweet Scorpion Bowl you may have enjoyed with friends (or by yourself, I don’t judge) at your local Chinese restaurant. This Scorpion is refreshing and fairly light, made with rum, cognac, OJ, lemon, and orgeat. I decided to go with a variation that calls for pisco instead of cognac for an even lighter, fruity sip.
1.5 oz white rum
.75 oz pisco (or cognac, in the original version)
2 oz orange juice (freshly squeezed)
1 oz lemon juice
.5 oz orgeat syrup
Instructions: Blend all ingredients with a cup of crushed ice and pour into a Collins glass or a large wine glass. Garnish with an orange wheel and a sprig of mint.
This unusual cocktail has roots dating back to the ‘40s. The blend of rum, Chartreuse, and chocolate liqueur might seem odd at first, but it makes for a very enjoyable, complex cocktail. I’ve made it with both Green and Yellow Chartreuse, and I recommend both!
2 chunks of pineapple
1.5 oz gold rum
.5 oz Green Chartreuse (try Yellow for something a little less intense)
.5 oz white creme de cacao
.5 oz lime juice
Instructions: Muddle pineapple in a cocktail shaker. Add remaining ingredients and ice and shake until chilled. Strain into a chilled coupe and garnish with pineapple, and an edible flower, if desired.
The Honolulu cocktail calls for white rum, pineapple juice, lemon, simple syrup, and grenadine, but I opted to replace the simple and grenadine with the brilliant color and flavor of hibiscus syrup and a pomegranate liqueur. Real grenadine is made with pomegranate juice, but most commercially available brands are little more than red-colored syrup (ew). My recommendation is to make your own or buy a premium brand like Liber & Co.
1.5 oz white rum (also try it with tequila!)
1 oz pineapple juice
.5 oz lemon juice
.25 oz hibiscus syrup
.25 oz pomegranate liqueur
Instructions: Blend all ingredients with one cup of crushed ice and pour into a large cocktail glass or wine glass. Garnish with a pineapple frond.
This one is potent and surprisingly easy to sip on! Coffee liqueur brings a bittersweet flavor to a heavy dose of rum with a squeeze of lime.
1.5 oz aged rum
.75 oz overproof rum
.5 oz coffee liqueur
1 oz lime juice
.5 oz simple syrup
Ingredients: Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a rocks glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with lime and an edible flower, if desired.
If you re-shake any of these cocktails, be sure to tag me on Instagram @moodymixologist!