10 Tiki Cocktails for Summer–Beyond the Mai TaiMcKenna Marsden
Tiki cocktails had a glorious heyday in the 1940’s and 50’s, but fell out of fashion into a campy, joke-version of themselves after that. But the cocktail renaissance of the last fifteen years or so is rescuing tiki-style drinks
and coming back to their original roots: lots of flavors layered together in a balanced and complex way, and fresh, creative ingredients. Here are recipes for ten classic tiki cocktails, mostly from the 1940’s Trader Vic and Don the Beachcomber days, revitalized and updated for the modern cocktail palate.
- The Jungle Bird
Jungle Birds deserve at least the reputation of Mai Tais, and are starting to get it. Simple but layered, this version uses bold blackstrap rum for an extra oomph.
- The Bermuda Rum Swizzle
Ultimately, tiki is about rum, and nothing brings it out like the Bermuda Rum Swizzle. This version blends two rums to highlight it.
- The Ancient Mariner
The Ancient Mariner includes a spicy and unexpected allspice dram to blend and counterpoint all that refreshing fruit flavor.
- The Scorpion
The Scorpion, which combines rum and brandy with orange juice and slightly-bitter orgeat, works just as well as an individual cocktail or served in bowls for a crowd.
- The Missionary’s Downfall
Everyone who’s had a mojito knows that citrus and mint are a winning combination. This Missionary’s Downfall recipe throws in some apricot brandy and honey for an extra warmth and smoothness.
- The Zombie
Zombies suffered a lot under the tiki-as-camp period, and tended to involve whatever was behind the bar. Beachbum Berry has reconstructed the original version for a more sophisticated (but still very strong!) drink.
- The Quetzal
A little less well-known than the other cocktails listed here, Quetzals take a simple citrus-and-rum base and add maple syrup for a unique blend of flavors.
- The Painkiller
The addition of coconut cream in the Painkiller makes for the smoothest possible drinking—maybe too smooth…
- The Fog Cutter
Don’t fear the multiple liquors. The Fog Cutter combines rum, gin, and brandy into a surprisingly (and dangerously) smooth and subtle cocktail.
- The Test Pilot
The Test Pilot doesn’t go for too much citrus or flashiness, instead going for a very much non-tacky blend of Angostura bitters and Pernod for a balanced and complex drink.