It’s no secret that tiki drinks are having a moment in the cocktail world.
But this whimsical and tasty style of drinks is much more than a passing fad. They contain an irresistible combination of fresh ingredients and high-proof booze, topped off with a heavy dose of kitschy tropical flair.
The style was created 80 years ago by Don the Beachcomber, a Hollywood restaurant owner. After the war, Servicemen returning from the South Pacific fed into tiki’s popularity.Thanks to movies like Blue Hawaii and the musical South Pacific, Americans fell in love with all things tropical.
Around the1970’s, the style began to fall out of favor and it didn’t resurface until a tiki fanatic named Jeff “Beachbum” Barry came along. He tossed out mai tai mixes and returned to original recipes, bringing about a new era of tiki. Today, no modern bar menu is complete without a few tiki-inspired options.
So, what exactly makes a drink tiki?
First of all, most tiki drinks contain rum, often several different kinds in a single drink. There are some exceptions, but this is a pretty good assumption to make when ordering a tiki cocktail.
Secondly, they are made with fresh juice. Lemon, lime, pineapple, and other exotic fruits add a burst of tropical tastiness. Don’t settle for bottled!
Tiki drinks feature exotic, layered flavors. Many tiki recipes are born by mixing a few types of rum and then adding in as many ingredients as it takes to balance the drink. Syrups and liqueurs flavored with bold allspice, creamy almond, or tangy pomegranate are all common additions. The resulting drink has a complex and nuanced flavor, that you just can’t pin down.
Lastly, the presentation is over the top. When you order a tiki cocktail, be prepared for a mermaid drink stirrer or a smoldering volcano flame or a banana made to look like a dolphin. Even the glassware is playful – we’ve seen some that look like Star Wars characters.
Now that you have the basics, it’s time to bring tiki-style into your home bar. Click here to shop our tropical collection and professional barware!