Tiki Party! This Summer is Going to Be All About Kitschy Cocktails

Whip out the hula skirts and totem glasses - it's about to get retro kitsch.

Noah Fecks

This summer is set to be wild, wicked and fun - and nothing is more fun than Tiki cocktails. Shannon Mustipher's new book, Tiki: Modern Tropical Cocktails, on sale now, has your back. So grab your grass skirt, bongo drums and start mixing!

Mixing a fantastic cocktail requires a balance of art and science—knowledge of ingredients, flavors, and technique, and the skillful application of all three. Before being tasked with creating a rum-focused bar at Glady's Caribbean, I'd had very few craft cocktails made with rum, Tiki or otherwise. The latter I regarded with skepticism: While the restaurant's interior—trimmed by jewel-toned formica, adorned with lush foliage, and energized by upbeat island music—created the perfect setting, I knew one of the challenges the bar would face was the perception of rum as too sweet, and Tiki as tacky. I made it my mission then to present bright, crisp, and nuanced drinks not only to debunk these clichéd notions, but to show rum as an exemplary mixing spirit.

I purposely chose spirits from our back bar that were delicious neat and did not need masking or enhancement by other ingredients. Within a few weeks, there was no question that this approach was well worth the effort. Rum flights sold at a brisk pace and guests peppered us with fascinated questions. Finally, and to my delight, a serious cult of devotees formed around our Mai Tai.

As I opened myself up to experimenting with Tiki recipes, my palate became more sophisticated, and my ability to craft more engaging cocktails, Tiki or otherwise, grew by leaps and bounds. I watched my confidence and skills blossom and learned to balance more complicated flavor combinations and more elaborate techniques, and to improvise—blending rums, mixing with cachaças, mezcals, sakes, and vodka to create more diverse and engaging drinks.

The key to making a truly special cocktail is to engage all the senses, and this is the heart and soul of Tiki. Tiki cocktails, and the experience around them, are intended to be transportive. Flavorful, richly layered, elaborately garnished, and presented in a deliberately theatrical style, when done right, Tiki is also the epitome of the craft cocktail. When made with quality spirits, fresh ingredients, and handcrafted syrups, and presented thoughtfully, they deliver a full sensory experience, becoming more exciting and ultimately more memorable than a simple mixed drink.

Of the cocktail genres, Tiki is the most receptive to reimagining and remixing. Rooted in the desire to elicit surprise and delight, the best Tiki springs from a combination of personal experience, imagination, and craft. With all its history and tradition, the style, nevertheless, represents freedom and fun in cocktail-building, with invention and innovation at its heart. As you will discover, with a little creativity, skill, and wit applied, a Tiki cocktail can soar. In this book, I not only want to share recipes and know-how, but also to inspire the passion that exploring the unknown can bring. As you try your hand at making infusions, syrups, and cocktails, I hope you will notice your senses becoming more perceptive and that your willingness to try out new ideas grows along with your skills.


No Woman No Cry
Noah Fecks

Funky and earthy with dramatic floral notes, this punch balances the dry tannins of black tea and robust character of blackstrap rum with the bright acidity of pineapple juice.

Recommended spirits:

Hamilton Jamaica Pot Still Black Rum

Gosling's Black Seal 151 Rum

500 milliliters (17 ounces) pot still Jamaican rum

250 milliliters (8½ ounces) blackstrap rum

250 milliliters (8½ ounces) hibiscus syrup (see page 176)

100 milliliters (3⅓ ounces) pineapple juice

200 milliliters (6¾ ounces) fresh lime juice

100 milliliters (3⅓ ounces) brewed Ceylon tea

100 milliliters (3⅓ ounces) Angostura bitters

100 milliliters (3⅓ ounces) Peychaud's Bitters

Garnish: Fresh and dehydrated citrus wheels

Combine all ingredients and stir to mix. Keep at least 4 hours or up to overnight in a covered container in the refrigerator. Stir before serving. If utilizing a punch bowl, pour over a large block of ice to slow dilution. Garnish with fresh and dehydrated citrus wheels.


Isla de Pina
Noah Fecks

The beauty of the Daiquiri is that it is a fantastic template for a veritable universe of

variations. This multilayered take on the classic touches on everything from bright

citrus to dusky fruit to piquant spice courtesy of the pimento dram. The white rum,

aged for up to six years and bottled at a higher proof, brings warm vanilla and white

pepper notes and a plush mouthfeel to the cocktail.

Recommended spirits:

Diplomatíco Planas

Giffard Caribbean Pineapple Liqueur

Hamilton Pimento Dram Liqueur

2 ounces aged white rum

½ ounce pineapple liqueur

¼ ounce pimento dram

½ ounce passion fruit puree

½ ounce fresh lime juice

Garnish: Pineapple leaves

Combine all in a shaker with scant crushed ice. Flash blend with a stand or wand mixer for 5 to 10 seconds and fine strain into a chilled coupe. Garnish with 2 to 3 pineapple leaves affixed to the glass with a miniature clothespin.

Java Jade

Java Jade
Java Jade Noah Feck

East meets West in this play on a style of punch that was all the rage in eighteenth-

century Europe. Batavia arrack, a slightly musky Indonesian spirit that is a precursor to modern rum, enjoyed widespread popularity for its ability to draw out and create harmony between the aromas in the spices and teas imported from the same region. Barrel-aged gin, reminiscent of genever—a malty, early style of Dutch gin that leans heavily on juniper rather than citrus and botanicals that are the hallmark of London Dry—adds heft and warm cassia notes. Grapefruit and coconut tie it all together with soft, tropical fruit, resulting in a richly layered drink that evokes the drams taken by seafaring adventurers of yesteryear.

Recommended spirits:

Captive Spirits Bourbon Barreled Big Gin

Batavia Arrack van Oosten

Giffard Crème de Menthe

1½ ounces barrel-aged gin

½ ounce Batavia arrack

¼ ounce crème de menthe

½ ounce toasted coconut syrup (see page 175)

½ ounce Don's Mix (see page 176)

¾ ounce fresh lime juice

Garnish: Mint sprig, zested lime, edible flower

Combine all in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a Tiki mug or hurricane glass over pebbled ice. Top with more pebbled ice, then garnish with mint, freshly grated lime zest, and an edible flower.

The Poolside

The Poolside Noah Feck

I had the Piña Colada—all white rum, coconut cream, and lime—on my mind here, but wanted to dial back the sweetness a bit. Enter the baked-fruit flavors of banana. This adjustment draws out the vegetal and dry chocolaty notes in both the Navy-strength rum and cachaça employed here. Papaya brings an additional layer of depth to the drink, while the ginger adds a spicy kick and draws everything together for a long, layered finish.

Recommended spirits:

Plantation O.F.T.D. Rum

Navy Rum Blend (see page 169)

Avuá Oak Cachaça

1 ounce Navy-style rum

½ ounce aged cachaça

½ ounce ginger syrup (see page 176)

½ ounce banana milk (see page 129)

½ ounce papaya juice

½ ounce fresh lemon juice

Garnish: Lime, zested

Combine all ingredients in a blender with ice. Flash blend for 8 to 10 seconds and pour into a swizzle cup (see page 180) or Collins glass. Garnish with freshly grated lime zest.

The S.O.S. Mai Tai

The S.O.S. Mai Tai
The S.O.S. Mai Tai Noah Feck

E an Bancroft, S.O.S. Tiki Bar, Atlanta, Georgia I do my best to refrain from showing favoritism, but I won't here. My first visit to S.O.S. remains one of my favorite experiences to date. The entire crew gave top-notch hospitality, and Ean, who is a trained chef turned barman, welcomed me behind the bar to trade tips on the best way to make a Daiquiri and Ti' Punch. Meanwhile, I'd embraced the Mai Tai early on as one of my flagship cocktails at my first rum-focused bar project.

It follows that after keeping one on the menu for five years running, I am not easily impressed by various iterations floating around out there. Ean's, however, does not fail to deliver. The flaming garnish is a fun spectacle, but also requires some caution and careful steps (see Note).

Recommended spirits:

Hamilton Jamaican Pot Still Black Rum

La Favorite Coeur de Canne Rhum Agricole Blanc

Rhum Clément Créole Shrubb

1½ ounces pot still Jamaican rum

½ ounce rhum agricole blanc

½ ounce orange Curaçao

¾ ounce orgeat (see page 176)

¾ ounce fresh lime juice

Garnish: Flaming lime shell (see page 182)

Combine all ingredients in a shaker and add a handful of ice. Shake vigorously and pour all contents into a Collins glass and top with fresh pebbled ice. Garnish with a flaming lime shell.

Note: For added excitement, sprinkle ground cinnamon from a shaker or sifter over the flame to create impressive campfire-like sparks. Be mindful of your surroundings, as the sparks can jump as much as 18 to 24 inches above the drink. Use common safety measures that come into play when working with an open flame—tie any loose hair back, roll up your sleeves, and make sure you're in a well-ventilated area with a fire extinguisher handy.

The Antilles Jewel

The Antilles Jewel
The Antilles Jewel Noah Feck

Enjoy this light take on a classic Barbados rum punch, in which the spicy notes in the rums are softened by creamy banana and earthy crème de cacao. Mildly nutty coconut water ties it all together, resulting in a refreshing, easy-drinking punch, perfect for an afternoon spent on deck listening to the waves.

Recommended spirits:

Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum

Hamilton 86 Demerara Rum

Tempus Fugit Crème de Banane

Giffard Crème de Cacao Blanc

500 milliliters (17 ounces) aged Barbados rum

250 milliliters (8½ ounces) aged Demerara rum

200 milliliters (6¾ ounces) banana liqueur

100 milliliters (3⅓ ounces) white crème de cacao

250 milliliters (8½ ounces) coconut water

350 milliliters (12 ounces) fresh lime juice


Citrus wheels

Edible flowers

Combine all ingredients and stir to mix. Keep at least 4 hours or up to overnight in a covered container in the refrigerator. Stir before serving. If utilizing a punch bowl, pour over a large block of ice to slow dilution. Garnish with citrus wheels and edible flowers.

These recipes and more can be found in Shannon Mustipher's new book, Tiki: Modern Tropical Cocktails, on sale now.

Noah Feck

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