Three essential tiki cocktail recipes for your end of summer party

by
September 3, 2017

We’ve only got a few more weeks of summer before the leaves start to fall. What better way to close out the summer than with a tiki party? Rum drinks have seen a revival in these last few years with bars not only devoting certain sections of their menu, but devoting their entire bars to rum, tiki in particular. Rum is back, baby! If you’ve never had an exotic rum cocktail, there is no time like the present to correct that wrong! With just a few bar tools (and several bottles of rum) you too can create drinks that will have your guests buzzing for more.

Here are a few essential need-to-know Tiki drinks.

Queen’s Park Swizzle

This beauty is named after the now shuttered hotel in the Port of Spain, Trinidad. Built in the late 19th century, Queen’s Park was a place where homesick British officers would hang their heads and refresh their palates. This 1920s drink showcases Trinidad’s Angostura bitters as the topping for the cocktail which creates a glorious hue. Mojito drinkers, take note. This is that drink turned all the way to 11.

tiki cocktail recipes: Queen's Park SwizzleQueen’s Park Swizzle / Photo Credit: Paul Viscontini

– 3 oz Demerara rum such as El Dorado 8
– ¾ oz lime juice
– ½ oz rich simple syrup (2:1 Turbinado sugar to water)
– 6-8 mint leaves plus a sprig for garnish
– 4-6 dashes of Angostura bitters

Build drink in Collins or similar glass. Add mint leaves to the glass along with lime juice and simple syrup. Muddle gently. (If the glass doesn’t have a thick bottom, consider muddling in a mixing glass and pouring mixture into the serving glass.) Add rum. Add crushed ice without filling to the brim. (If you have pebble ice, even better). Insert swizzle stick* or bar-spoon into glass until just above the mint. Swizzle or stir gently moving halfway up and down the glass until the glass frosts. Top with more ice and add bitters. Garnish with mint sprig and serve with a long straw.

A note on the Swizzle Stick:

You can make this drink using a bar-spoon, but do consider make a small investment (under $20) on the swizzle stick. A true swizzle stick actually comes from the swizzlestick tree (Quararibea turbinata) and can be found online at Cocktail Kingdom. They are made so that their business end flares with small spikes for lack of a better word to assist in stirring. Think of the swizzle motion like you’re warming your hands on a cold day. Place the stick in between your palms and rub a-dub-dub.

Planter’s Punch

A punch for one. This drink allows the bartender to improvise at will, particularly with the tropical juices. Pineapple, orange, or grenadine are standard additions but you could also use passion fruit, mango or guava. A decent guide for proportions would be this: one of sour, two of sweet, three of strong, four of weak. Adjust to your liking substituting the tropical juices for sugar. I like to add Peychaud’s Bitters to the top of mine as a reference to the drink’s West Indies origin.

tiki cocktail recipes: Planter’s PunchPlanter’s Punch / Photo Credit: Reese Lloyd

– 3 oz dark rum (try Hamilton Jamaican Pot Still Black Rum)
– 1 oz lime juice
– ¾ oz pineapple juice
– ½ oz rich simple syrup (2:1 Turbinado sugar to water)
– Few dashes of Peychaud’s bitters

Add all ingredients except bitters into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake and strain into a cracked-ice filled Hurricane glass. Top with bitters. Garnish with pineapple wedge and Maraschino cherry. Paper umbrella optional, but it can’t hurt!

Mai Tai

FFS, throw away your Mr. & Mrs. T Mai Tai mix! You deserve a proper Mai Tai. Now you don’t have to go all out and make your own orgeat [or-jah] or [or-jaht], although some folks do. There are some quality ones out there for purchase; just make sure to look for those using real almonds. This is another cocktail with loads of variations on the ingredients. I like to use a mix of dark and amber rums, but you can also just used an aged rum like Bacardi 8.

tiki cocktail recipes: Mai TaiMai Tai / Photo Credit: Brenda (shinycolors)

– 1 oz dark rum (try Coruba Dark Rum)
– 1 oz amber rum (try Clément VSOP Rhum Agricole)
– 1 oz lime juice
– ½ oz orange curaçao (please, don’t use the blue stuff. I like to substitute Clement’s Creole Shrubb)
– ½ oz orgeat syrup

Add all ingredients to an ice-filled cocktail shaker. Strain into an ice-filled double Old Fashioned glass. Garnish, if you like, with spent lime shell and a sprig of mint.

Of course if you’re looking to add a bit of flair to your drink, our friends at Royer have created the official Distiller swizzle stick! We’ll be giving away loads of these soon, so keep your eyes peeled.

tiki cocktail recipes

These cocktails are great even in the coldest of months as they can have you dreaming of warm sand on your toes and the sounds of waves splashing on the shore. These drinks are crowd-pleasing drinks so don’t be surprised to find yourself surrounded by folks begging you to make more.


If only there was an app that would help you find great rums for your tiki cocktails…. Oh wait!

With Distiller, you’ll always know what’s in the bottle before you spend a cent. Rate, Review, and Discover spirits! Head on over to Distiller, or download the app for iOS and Android today!