How to Make a Tiki Drink

How to Make a Tiki Drink

By Halle Cook Published July 2021

If you've ever found yourself with both your toes in the sand and a drink in your hand, you've most likely tried a tiki cocktail. But have you ever wondered how this fruity drink came to fruition? Tiki drinks date back to the 1930s when the first tiki bar was opened by Ernest Raymond Beaumont-Gantt (later known as Don Beach) in Hollywood, California. Don was inspired by Polynesian culture after traveling to the South Pacific. He aimed to recreate the flavors he experienced while visiting Hawaii, resulting in popular tropical drinks that feature fresh fruits like pineapple and guava. By the 1950s and 60s, tiki cocktails exploded into pop culture and soon became household favorites.

Beyond the popular cocktail, Tiki culture can be traced back to ancient Polynesian carvings, representing gods that shaped their mythology, culture and history. Māori, the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand, mythology refers to the first man as “tiki” and there are many more popular variations of the tiki’s origin story due to the amount cultures that pay tribute to tiki gods.

Now, a tiki drink represents relaxing, fun and tropical vibes that brings island paradise to you through a fruity, fresh drink. With a little help, you can bring vacation bliss into your own home. Take it from ABC, making a delicious tiki drink is as easy as 1, 2, 3…

Step 1: Pick Your Base

Tiki drinks with a base of rum, like the classic hurricane, may be the most popular way to mix a tiki cocktail, but that does not mean there are not options for your spirit of choice. The first step is to pick your spirit. Different options like bourbon, tequila, whiskey, vodka and gin all offer various flavor components and allow for unique experimentation with mixers, garnishes and appearances.



Tiki Bourbon Punch

Cocktail: Tiki Bourbon Punch

If you favor the nougat and caramel flavors of a bourbon, try the tiki bourbon punch featuring our Sourced & Certified Cooper’s Mark Original Bourbon Whiskey. This tasty take uses pineapple juice and grenadine to create the color of a tropical sunset. Garnish with a pineapple slice and cherry to emphasize the fruity flavors.

Recipe Here


21 Seeds Tiki

Cocktail: 21 Seeds Tiki

21 Seeds Valenica Orange Tequila brings a juicy, delicious essence of hand-sourced Valencia oranges to the 21 Seeds tiki cocktail. This tropical tequila is enhanced with a mix of juices and club soda to create a vibrant flavor.

Recipe Here


Island of Misfits

Cocktail: Island of Misfits

A peanut butter flavored whiskey like Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey may not be your first thought when constructing a tiki drink, but once you add cream of coconut, fruit juices and Cayman Reef Dark Rum, you may change your mind. Island of misfits is a simple, shaken cocktail garnished with pineapple leaves, adding an island feel.

Recipe Here


Kijafa Sunrise

Cocktail: Kijafa Sunrise

Vodka is known as one of the most versatile spirits when it comes to cocktail making. Its clear appearance and neutral taste allow other characteristics of a drink to shine through. In a Kijafa sunrise, 1941 Craft Vodka is paired with Kijafa Cherry Liqueur and orange juice for a fruity explosion of flavor.

Recipe Here


Tropical Gin juice

Cocktail: Tropical Gin juice

We know from popular music that gin goes with juice, so it’s a no brainer to combine Bartam’s Gin with orange, pineapple and lime juices in a tropical gin juice. The cocktail finishes with a splash of club soda and a garnish of tropical fruit that will help turn your home into a personal tiki bar.

Recipe Here

Step 2: Get Creative with the Cup

You are going to need something to sip out of, so our advice? Have fun with it! A standard tiki glass with a tiki god carving is always a good choice. If you want to go even bigger and bolder, hallow out a pineapple or coconut and use it is a cup. Cocktails like the endless summer punch are served in the bottom half of a real pineapple, adding extra fresh pineapple flavor to the drink.

Endless summer punch cocktail served in a pineapple

Step 3: Gather your Garnish

A garnish is the perfect finishing touch to your drink. It plays the role of bringing everything together through theme, flavor or aesthetic. Try using slices of fruit to compliment the flavors in the drink, like a pineapple wedge or orange slice. Another option is garnishing with flora that are found in tropical locations. Edible flowers, pineapple leaves and palm tree prongs help to add a little tiki touch. Finish your creation with a funky straw or tropical drink umbrellas. Whatever you decide, remember to keep it bright and colorful. Tiki drinks are full of fresh and vibrant flavors; you want your drink to look as good as it tastes.

Cutwater Tiki Mai Tai canned cocktails held in an outdoor setting

Have a craving for a tropical drink, but do not want to fuss with a cocktail? Cutwater Tiki Mai Tai is a canned cocktail made with a blend of Cutwater Barrel Aged Rum and Bali Hai Tiki Gold Rum. It features natural pineapple and coconut flavors with a unique citrus mix to provide a taste of the tropics with just a crack of a can.

Find more tropical recipes to mix up this summer here.

Interested in learning more? Visit our ABC Blog page.