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These 5 Tiki Cocktails Are Considered Absolute Classics

Get To Know These 5 Classic Tiki Cocktails And How To Make Them

As vibrant and exotic tropical cocktails go, Tiki Cocktails have a complicated history. Their origins are traced to California, where a bartender known as Donn Beach served them at his establishment, seemingly as a nod to the Polynesian culture he adored. Beach’s signature move was crafting elaborate rum-based drinks; reportedly, a single one of his “tiki drinks” could contain 10 ingredients! Meanwhile, another pioneer on the scene was Victor J Bergeron — more popularly known as “Trader Vic” — who began serving a cocktail he christened “Mai Tai”. 

In the cocktail scene, tiki drinks have witnessed a rise, a fall from favour, and arisen once again. Their revival was accompanied by greater understanding of cultural appropriation (and how to avoid it), while also acknowledging the troubled associations of some of the spirits used in the drinks. There was also a return to the delightful flavours that made tiki cocktails such a hit to begin with: fruit juices, syrups, coconut cream, liqueurs, spices. Sounds delicious? Let’s take a sip of five classic tiki cocktails:

Mai Tai

This iconic drink is a great way to start your tiki cocktail journey. For this cocktail, you’ll need 30 ml of light rum, 30 ml of Captain Morgan Dark Rum, 20 ml of fresh lime juice, 15 ml of orange curaçao, 15 ml of orgeat syrup, and a lime wheel for garnish. (Do note that this comes to about one-and-a-half standard drinks.) Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, add the rum, lime juice, curaçao and orgeat syrup. Shake well. Then, strain the cocktail into a rock glass filled with crushed ice, and garnish with a lime wheel. If you’d prefer a non-alcoholic version of this tiki drink, then mixologists advise replacing the rum with seltzer, and mixing up orange, pineapple and lime juices with some almond syrup and grenadine. Whichever version of the tiki you go for though, do raise a toast to Trader Vic before you take a sip! 

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Zombie

Get To Know These 5 Classic Tiki Cocktails And How To Make Them

Quite unlike its name suggests, the Zombie is refreshing and delicious. For this, you’ll need 30 ml of light rum, 30 ml of Captain Morgan Dark Rum, 30 ml of apricot brandy, 15 ml lime juice, 15 ml lemon juice (no, they’re not the same), 30 ml pineapple juice, 1 dash grenadine, and a pineapple slice or cherry for garnish. Fill a shaker with crushed ice. Then add the light and dark rums, apricot brandy, lime and lemon juices, pineapple juice, and grenadine. Shake well. Then strain the mixture into a tiki mug filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a slice of pineapple and cherry. You’ll want to make note of how many standard drinks this is — two.You’ll also want to keep in mind that Donn Beach seemingly created the drink for a customer with a hangover, whose feedback in turn was that the cocktail made him “feel like a zombie”. So do consume this drink responsibly and in moderation.

Pina Colada

Get To Know These 5 Classic Tiki Cocktails And How To Make Them

Mmmm, could any cocktail be more fruity and creamy? In this drink, 30 ml of white rum, 90 ml of pineapple juice, 30 ml of coconut cream, 15 ml of fresh lime juice, and a pineapple slice (or maraschino cherry) come together in the most delightful combination. The liquids and coconut cream go into a blender along with a scoop of crushed ice. Once blended smooth, the mixture goes into a hurricane glass with a cherry or pineapple slice garnish. The ‘virgin’ option of the Pina Colada leaves out the rum, and uses only pineapple juice and coconut cream with vanilla extract and plenty of ice for blending.

Scorpion

Get To Know These 5 Classic Tiki Cocktails And How To Make Them

For this cocktail, you’ll need 30 ml of white rum, 30 ml of brandy, 30 ml of orange juice, 15 ml of lemon juice, 15 ml of orgeat syrup, and an orange slice or cherry for the garnish. First, fill a shaker with crushed ice. Then pour in your rum, brandy, orange juice, lemon juice and orgeat syrup. Shake well, then strain into a scorpion bowl filled with crushed ice and finish with the garnish: Simple yet delicious if you love a citrusy drink with that quintessential tiki punch. 

Navy Grog

Get To Know These 5 Classic Tiki Cocktails And How To Make Them

This tiki classic derives its moniker from the Royal British Navy’s onetime practice of dispensing “grog” — i.e. a mix of rum and water — to sailors on long sea voyages during the 18th-19th centuries. In the context of the cocktail, it pays homage to the naval tradition of mixing rum with other ingredients. To create the Navy Grog, you’ll need 30 ml of light rum, 30 ml of Captain Morgan, 30 ml of Demerara rum, 30 ml of fresh lime soda, 30 ml of grapefruit juice, 30 ml of honey syrup (equal parts honey and hot water), and a lime wheel for garnish. In a shaker filled with crushed ice, pour in all the ingredients and shake well. Strain the mixture into an old fashioned glass filled with crushed ice, and then garnish with a lime wheel. Do note that this recipe makes nearly three standard drinks, and must be enjoyed responsibly and in moderation!
 

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