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Six Essential Tiki Cocktails

By Maija Zummo · June 12th, 2013 · Summer Guide
summerguide_hurricane_jfPhoto: Jesse Fox
The first Tiki bar and, consequently, Tiki drink, were created by Donn Beach at his Hollywood bar, Don the Beachcomber, in the 1930s. A former Prohibition-era bootlegger, Beach spent time in the Caribbean and South Pacific before moving to California and brought pieces of that time and stylized island influences to his popular watering hole. Beach’s Tiki bar featured exotic island décor, flair-filled Cantonese dishes and strong rum-and-fruit juice cocktails. He’s credited (either by himself or others) with creating cocktails such as the Zombie and Mai Tai. Also called “boat drinks,” these cold rum creations are the epitome of summer: bright, refreshing, chilled and incredibly easy to drink. Here’s how to make some of the most popular:

1. Mai Tai

An adapted version of Don the Beachcomber’s restaurant cocktail. 

Ingredients: 2 ounces water, 3/4 ounce fresh lime juice, 1 ounce fresh grapefruit juice, 1 ounce simple syrup, 1 ounce dark rum, 1 1/2 ounce golden rum, 1/2 ounce Cointreau or triple sec, 1/4 ounce Falernum syrup (sweet Caribbean syrup), 2 dashes Angostura bitters, 1 dash anisette-flavored pastis

Instructions: Add all ingredients to a shaker with ice. Shake. Pour into a xcxollins glass. Garnish with fruit and serve with a straw. 

2. Zombie

This drink will make you drunk. Adapted from the 1970 version of Old Mr. Boston De Luxe Official Bartender’s Guide.

Ingredients: 1 ounce unsweetened pineapple juice, juice of 1 lime, juice of 1 small orange, 1 teaspoon powdered sugar, 1/2 ounce apricot flavored brandy, 2 1/2 ounces light rum, 1 ounce dark rum, 1 ounce passion fruit juice, 1/2 ounce 151-proof rum

Instructions: Add all ingredients except for the 151 into a cocktail shaker with cracked ice and shake very well.

(Mr. Boston’s even suggests using an electric mixing machine?) Strain into a 14-ounce chilled zombie glass (or collins glass). Decorate with a slice of pineapple and one red cherry. Float 1/2 ounce of 151 on top of the drink and garnish with a sprig of mint dipped in powdered sugar. Serve with a straw.

3. Hurricane

The quintessential cocktail of New Orleans. Recipe adapted from Emeril Lagasse, famous chef with a NOLA home base. This recipe yields a pitcher-full of ’canes. 

Ingredients: 12 ounces light rum, 12 ounces dark rum, 10 ounces grenadine, 10 ounces orange juice, 10 ounces sour mix or fresh lime juice, 3 tablespoons superfine sugar (or more, if you want more), 1 large orange, cut into slices

Instructions: Add all ingredients into a large pitcher and stir to dissolve the sugar. Move to a punch bowl or keep it in the pitcher. Add ice cubes and orange segments. Serve over ice with straws. 

4. Bahama Mama

Some people choose to blend this in a blender to make a booze slushy. Can be made without coffee liqueur … if you want to make it wrong.  

Ingredients: 1/4 ounce coffee liqueur, 1/2 ounce dark rum, 1/2 ounce coconut liqueur, 1/4 ounce 151-proof rum, juice of 1/2 a lemon, 4 ounces pineapple juice

Instructions: Pour all ingredients into a shaker with ice and shake, shake, shake. Strain into a collins glass with ice. Garnish with a strawberry or cherry.

5. Planter’s Punch

A precursor to the modern Tiki cocktail. Recipe adapted from the 1970 version of Old Mr. Boston De Luxe Official Bartender’s Guide.

Ingredients: juice of 1 lime, juice of 1/2 a lemon, juice of 1/2 an orange, 1 teaspoon pineapple juice, 2 ounces light rum, 1 ounce dark rum, 1/4 teaspoon Curacao

Instructions: Pour the fruit juices and light rum into a 16-ounce glass of shaved ice and stir well. Add the dark rum and top with the Curacao. Decorate with slices of orange, lemon, pineapple and cherry. Serve with straws.

6. The Daiquiri

Rum, lime and sugar mixed with any variety of additives to create an entire sub-genre of cocktails. The classic is simple, but you can add everything from strawberries and bananas to maraschino juice and mint. 

Ingredients: 1 1/2 ounces light rum, 3/4 ounce lime juice, 1/4 ounce simple syrup

Instructions: Add ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake. Strain into a cocktail glass.



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