8 Essential Tiki Drinks to Know

Break out the paper umbrellas and coconut cups, because it’s tiki drink season.

Mai Tai
Why not make a classic Mai Tai for the mother that really needs a vacation - yes, right this very minute - but may not be able to take one. You might just want to garnish it with a tiny paper umbrella. Photo: PHOTO © LUCY SCHAEFFER

Break out the paper umbrellas and coconut cups, because it’s tiki drink season. The tropical cocktails take a bit more effort to make than your standard gin and tonic, but the layered, complexly flavored, strongly boozy drinks are worth a little extra work. Take a crash course in tiki by making these eight essential summer drinks.

Mai Tai

The pale yellow cocktail topped with a classic rum float elegantly marries citrus flavors with just the right amount of sweetness. The origin of this classic rum cocktail is one of the great debates in tikidom. Both Ernest Beaumont-Gantt (aka "Donn Beach," the father of tiki culture) and Trader Vic founder Victor Bergeron lay claim to its invention.


As the story goes, Donn Beach created this potent drink in the 1930s and named it for its mind-altering effect after a friend consumed three of them.

Fog Cutter

The Fog Cutter is a classic concoction of white rum, gin, brandy and sherry from the legendary “Trader Vic” Bergeron.

Rhum Swizzle

A swizzle is an icy drink named for the tool used to mix it, traditionally fashioned out of a woody stem. The base for this swizzle is rhum agricole, made from fresh cane juice in the French-speaking Caribbean islands.

Singapore Sling

Most drink histories credit the recipe to a bartender named Ngiam Tong Boon, who’s said to have mixed the first Sling around 1915 at the Long Bar inside Singapore’s Raffles Hotel.

Planter's Punch

A mix of four rums (dark, white, spiced, and aged), this delicious party punch is easier to make than most tiki cocktails.


Inspired by the mix of water and rum the British navy gave its men, this cocktail is made with spiced rum, fresh juices and chilled tea.

Plantation Punch

This cooler is great for summer parties. It includes three types of rum and Velvet Falernum, a clove-spiced liqueur that’s a classic tiki ingredient.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles