Learn the Art of Classic Tiki Cocktails With These 8 Essential Recipes

Tiki cocktails are, to many, mysterious and exotic. This boozy subculture started from a little shack where Don the Beachcomber made what were, at the time, bizarre and secret cocktails. Nobody knew what was in his drinks and for a long time, the recipes were kept secret.

“With Tiki, you’re blending a lot of exotic flavors,” says Josh Duncan, bar manager at Adrift in Denver. “The drinker should say, ‘I don’t know how they did this!’ The basis of Tiki cocktails are usually high in booze, balanced out with fruits and spices. For the average consumer, Tiki can be daunting with so many ingredients and prep work, but it’s a cool skill to have.”

While the prep work and ingredient list can be complicated, the method of mixing Tiki cocktails can be quite easy. “Dirty dumping,” as Duncan calls it, will be your go-to method. Combine all ingredients, shake and pour with ice to help dilute the cocktail, and throw a tropical umbrella straw or pineapple leaf in for presentation.

Since Tiki is making a comeback in a huge way, The Manual rounded up essential Tiki cocktail recipes to you for entertaining at a pool party or home bar. Keep in mind that classics like the Zombie, Mai Tai, and Navy Grog can be made a dozen different ways and there’s no defined recipe for many, so feel free to get wild!

Zombie

Adrift Zombie cocktail
Harry Warters

(Prepared by Josh Duncan, Adrift, Denver)

Method: Add all the ingredients to a shaker, shake with ice, pour into glass with used ice, and garnish.

Navy Grog

navy grog cocktail
Grand Republic Cocktail Club

(Prepared by Johnny Swet, Grand Republic Cocktail Club, Brooklyn)

  • .75 oz Brugal Dry
  • .75 oz Brugal Anejo
  • .75 oz The Kracken Dark Rum
  • .75 oz Velvet Falernum
  • .75 oz simple syrup
  • 1 oz pineapple juice
  • 1 oz grapefruit juice
  • .5 oz lime juice
  • 3 dash Angostura bitters
  • 3 dash Peychaud’s bitters

Method: Shake with ice and strain into a beer glass over cubed ice. Garnish with grated nutmeg and pineapple wedge.

Mai Tai

mai tai cocktail

(Prepared by Devin Kennedy, Pouring Ribbons, New York City)

Method: In a cocktail mixer full of ice, combine the rum, cachaça rum, orgeat, and lime juice. Shake vigorously and strain into glass full of ice. Garnish with lime wedge.

Singapore Sling

singapore sling cocktail adrift
Harry Warters

(Prepared by Josh Duncan)

  • 1.5 oz London dry gin
  • .75 oz Edel-Kirsch Black Cherry Liqueur
  • .25 oz Benedictine
  • .75 oz lime juice
  • .5 oz pineapple juice
  • .25 oz grenadine
  • .25 oz petite shrub
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters

Method: Add all the ingredients to a shaker, shake with ice, pour into glass with used ice, and garnish.

Painkiller

Painkiller cocktail Hades Hula House
Robert Hold Photo

(Prepared by Abby Wegener, Hades Hula House, Semaphore, Australia)

  • 2 oz Pusser’s Rum
  • 2 oz fresh pineapple juice
  • 1 oz fresh orange juice
  • 1 oz coconut cream

Method: Put all ingredients into a tun followed by a scoop of ice. Shake vigorously and pour into a Collins glass. Garnish with orange and a sprinkle of nutmeg.

Saturn

Saturn cocktail Three Dots and a Dash
Jeff Marini

(Prepared by Cory Starr, Three Dots and a Dash, Chicago)

  • 1 oz Martin Miller Gin
  • .5 oz Appleton 12 year
  • .5 oz Campari
  • .5 oz sweet vermouth
  • .5 oz Falernum
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • .5 oz orgeat
  • .25 oz passion fruit
  • .13 oz 2:1 evaporated cane simple

Method: This classic Saturn adds a Jamaican Negroni float on top! Combine all ingredients before the Appleton in a shaking tin; fill with ice and stir. Strain Saturn over crushed ice. Combine ingredients for Kingston Negroni and float on top without mixing into drink. Garnish with an orange moon and slice of pineapple.

Piña Colada

pina colada cocktail umbrella drink

(Prepared by Tristan Mermin, Batiste Rhum)

  • 1.5 oz  Batiste Rhum Ecoiste Silver
  • 2 oz  fresh pineapple juice
  • 1.25 oz organic Thai coconut cream
  • .25 oz lime juice
  • .25 oz sugar syrup
  • pinch of Himalayan pink salt
Method: Put all the ingredients into a blender with ice and blend. Pour blended drink into any glass you like. Best served to people you really like to have fun with.

Jet Pilot

tiki cocktail glass

(Prepared by Tyson Buhler, Death & Company)

  • 1.0 oz. Appleton Reserve
  • .75 oz Ron Del Barrillito
  • .75 oz Lemonhart 151
  • .5 oz Velvet Falernum
  • .5 oz cinnamon syrup
  • .5 oz grapefruit juice
  • .5 oz lime juice
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters
  • 1 dash absinthe
Method: Whip and strain all ingredients with crushed ice. Pour into a highball glass and garnish with a mint sprig and cherry.
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