Tiki cocktails have the undeserved reputation of being overly sweet and fruity, but — when done correctly — they are complex, balanced and super drinkable. Lucky Peach has a simple template to help you construct your very own.
Photo by James Palinsad.
The template is based on the traditional Planter's Punch formula created by the father of tiki bars, Don Beach. While the exact number of ingredients can vary from beverage to beverage, the following five components should be present in some form or another:
- Sour: Think citrus juices — lemon, lime, grapefruit — and don't be afraid to blend. You could even play around with the oh-so-trendy shrub here.
- Sweet: You could use simple syrup, but maple, honey, and even sweet liqueurs all fall under this category.
- Strong: Rum. You want rum here.
- Weak: Yes. You want some weak stuff in here. Juices, sodas, etc. not only add flavour, but keep your beverage nice and sippable.
- Spice: It must flow, and nutmeg, cinnamon, blends, and even hot spices work well. Don't discount spice-heavy alcohol here like bitters or even Ancho Reyes.
With so many options, it may be tempting to go crazy with ingredients, Lucky Peach recommends reeling it in just a bit:
It's worth mentioning here that the temptation to elaborate the cocktail to sixteen, eighteen, or even twenty ingredients is great, but is also a waste. At some point, the ingredients will either start to clash, become muddied, or simply be unnoticeable. Some restraint, however silly that may sound within the context of exotic cocktails, is called for.
Of course, it's just a cocktail, so have fun with it. (Drinking is supposed to be fun, after all.) If this "choose your own adventure" style of mixology is a little overwhelming, click the link below for extra guidance. If you're still overwhelmed, have a Mai Tai or something.
How to Create a Modern Tiki Cocktail [Lucky Peach]