10 Tiki Cocktails for Summer – Beyond the Mai Tai

Fruity summer cocktail

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.

  1. The Jungle Bird

    Cooking at NY Times

Recipe: http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1016228-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 extra oomph.

Key Elements:

  • Blackstrap Rum
  • Pineapple

The Bermuda Rum Swizzle


Recipe: http://www.liquor.com/recipes/bermuda-rum-swizzle/#gs.904t4rI

Ultimately, tiki is about rum, and nothing brings it out like the Bermuda Rum Swizzle. This version blends two rums to highlight it.

Key Elements:

  • Rum
  • Pineapple juice
  • Apple juice

The Ancient Mariner

Serious Eats

Recipe: http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2011/04/ancient-mariner-navy-grog-tiki-rum-cocktail-recipe.html

The Ancient Mariner includes a spicy and unexpected allspice dram to blend and counterpoint all that refreshing fruit flavor.

Key Elements:

  • Allspice dram
  • Rum
  • Lime juice
  • Grapefruit juice


The Scorpion

Kitchen Riffs

Recipe: http://www.kitchenriffs.com/2013/08/the-scorpion-cocktail.html

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.

Key Elements:

  • Fresh-squeezed orange juice
  • Brandy
  • Orgeat syrup

The Missionary’s Downfall


Recipe: http://www.killingtime.com/Pegu/2012/02/20/mixology-monday-tiki-the-missionarys-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 extra warmth and smoothness.

Key Elements:

  • Apricot brandy
  • Mint leaves

The Zombie

Beachbum Berry


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.

Key Elements:

  • Grenadine
  • Prenod
  • Lemon Hart Demerara rum
  • Falernum

The Quetzal

Sage Atelier


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.

Key Elements:

  • Cinnamon syrup
  • Grapefruit juice
  • Mezcal


The Painkiller


Recipe: http://www.shutterbean.com/2014/the-painkiller-cocktail/

The addition of coconut cream in the Painkiller makes for the smoothest possible drinking—maybe too smooth…

Key Elements:

  • Dark rum
  • Pineapple juice
  • Orange Juice
  • Ice
  • Nutmeg

The Fog Cutter


Recipe: https://cold-glass.com/2014/07/26/lemonade-with-an-attitude-the-fog-cutter/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.

Key Elements:

  • Gin
  • Brandy
  • Rum
  • Orgeat syrup
  • Lemon juice
  • Orange juice


The Test Pilot

Serious Eats

Recipe: http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2011/04/test-pilot-tiki-drink-recipe.html

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.

Key Elements:

  • Angostura bitters
  • Pernod
  • Jamaican rum
  • Cointreau

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