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Guest Post: Tiki Drinks October 24, 2010

We hosted a Freaki Tiki party a few weeks ago, and I promised that I would provide details on the cocktail menu in a later post.  This is that post!

The drink menu for that bash was created by Adam McDowell.  Adam McDowell is the drinks columnist (and a reporter) at the National Post, a Canadian newspaper headquartered in Toronto. You can keep up with his weekly drinks column, Happy Hour, here.  He also happens to be my husband.

Cocktail Station

Guest Post: Tiki Drinks

By Adam McDowell

Ever since Don the Beachcomber opened the first-ever faux-South Seas bar in Los Angeles and named it after himself, tiki mixology has relied on one simple fact: Mix rum, citrus juice and sugar together and the results will probably taste terrific.

Never let your guests know it’s that simple.

The most difficult part of making tiki drinks may actually be tracking down an essential ingredient: orgeat, which is a very sweet almond syrup (another, even rarer, syrup called falernum may be called for in some recipes as well). You can find orgeat in certain gourmet food stores; it may help you to know that the milky white stuff is popular among Italians. For falernum, you can either Google up a recipe online or order it from a specialty cocktail supplier such as KegWorks.

To come up with a simple cocktail list for our Freaki Tiki party (which nevertheless appeared terrifyingly complicated to our non-bartending guests), I mostly tweaked recipes from the 1970’s edition of Trader Vic’s Bartender’s Guide.

I’ve left the garnish instructions a little vague in order to encourage you to get creative with paper umbrellas, fruit chunks and the like.



1. My take on Trader Vic’s classic Mai Tai recipe uses cachaça for a bit of extra funk:

My Mai Tai

• 1 oz. cachaça
• 1 oz. dark rum
• ½ oz. triple sec
• ¼ oz. 2:1 simple syrup, Torani Cane Syrup or, best of all, rock candy syrup
• ¼ orgeat
• one lime

Method: Squeeze juice out of lime and into a cocktail shaker filled halfway with ice. Reserve shell. Shake all ingredients vigorously and pour into glass or tiki drinking vessel. Garnish festively.

2. This is another recipe slightly modified from Trader Vic’s. Suggest it to guests who like gin but not rum:

Bermuda Bouquet

• 1½ oz. gin
• 1 oz. apricot brandy
• ½ oz. orange juice
• 1 tsp grenadine
• ½ tsp triple sec
• 25 ml (just under an ounce) freshly squeezed lemon juice

Method: Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker half filled with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into glass or tiki vessel. Garnish tropically.

3. A Newfoundland-flavoured take on a tiki classic:

Screeching Zombie

• 1 oz. white rum
• 1 oz. Screech **
• ½ oz. overproof rum (I used London Dock, available in Newfoundland)
• 1½ oz. orange juice
• ½ oz. lemon juice
• ½ oz. triple sec
• ¼ oz. grenadine

** dark Jamaican rum produced for the Newfoundand market; available most Canadian provinces nowadays; substitute other dark Jamaican rum such as Sea Wynde or Appleton Estate 12 if unavailable

Method: Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker half filled with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into glass or tiki vessel. Garnish zombily.

4. My own invention, and still sort of a work in progress:

Jungle Junk

• 1 oz. white rum
• ¾ oz. dark rum
• ½ oz. blue curaçao
• ¼ oz. orgeat
• ¼ oz. maraschino liqueur (substitute amaretto if unavailable)
• generous dashes of Angostura, peach and orange bitters

Method: Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker half filled with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into glass or tiki vessel. Garnish junkily.

Finally, I prepared a Tahitian Lanai Rum Punch devised by cocktail guru Gary Regan for our beverage dispenser. You will need a blender for this one.


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