Tiki and Tropical Cocktail Recipes

These cocktails will transport you to the beach any time of year

With swizzle sticks, mini umbrellas, and generous amounts of rum, tiki drinks are a fun way to get a buzz when the weather is warm. Popularized in the mid-twentieth century by bars like Trader Vic's, the tiki craze went through somewhat of a decline but is now making a comeback. There's something to be said for going to a gaudy, over-the-top tiki bar on a beach, but you can also make great tiki drinks at home.

One classic tiki drink is the Mai Tai, which though it's associated with Hawaii, it was actually created in San Francisco. Our version mixes dark rum with grassy rhum agricole, along with orange Curaçao, orgeat, lime juice, and simple syrup to make a fruity. Our recipe for the Dragon 88 Mai Tai starts similarly but adds amber rum and citrusy Velvet Falernum to make an even boozier drink.

Another tiki classic is the daiquiri. While a traditional daiquiri is a simple mix of white rum, lime juice, and simple syrup, we have festival variations packed with blackberries, pineapple, strawberries, bananas, mango, and even heavy cream.

Of course, there's more to tropical drinking than rum-packed tiki drinks. Few things taste better on the beach than a frozen margarita. We have a traditional lime version, as well as a vibrantly colored twist made with pickly pear.

If you prefer a rocks drink to a frozen one, try our Ho'opono Potion. It’s a bracing, complex cocktail made with cucumber, tequila, fresh lime juice, and Aperol. Or, for another tequila drink, the Soul Train mixes tequila with lime and grapefruit juice and, for a unique kick, a cardamom simple syrup.

Find all these recipes and more in our collection of tropical cocktail recipes!

The Soul Train

The Soul Train
Tequila and cardamom is an unexpected combination, but it works beautifully with the help of lime and grapefruit juice.Matt Taylor-Gross

If You Like Piña Colada

If you Like Pina Colada Cocktail
Leo Robitschek of Eleven Madison Park crafted this cocktail in honor of our 21st birthday, inspired by SAVEUR's global influence. "While your average 21-year-old is spending their birthday getting a little too familiar with Jagermeister and Miller High-Life—not that there's anything wrong with that—SAVEUR has already been around the world," he says. "She’s sampled the best, and is hungry for more. Here, a perfect blend of some lesser-seen players: spicy rye, robust and savory-spiced velvet falernum, ancient and unapologetically vegetal green Chartreuse, and Linie aquavit, a spirit that, amazingly enough, has actually sailed around the world, aging in oak sherry casks to the rhythm of the rolling waves. Coconut, lime, and pineapple tie the package together; a somewhat more civilized yet totally delicious way to celebrate one’s twenty-first year."Matt Taylor-Gross

No Bananas Today

No Bananas Today
This sophisticated take on a banana daiquiri combines Giffard Crème de Banane du Brezil, a banana liqueur made from macerated bananas, with two types of rum and a homemade banana syrup to make a deeply flavored drink that's not too sweet.Thomas Schauer

Cacao Fruit Cocktail

Cacao Fruit Cocktail
Puréed cacao pulp meets cachaça in this unexpected sipper. Tart lemon provides a burst of freshness, while a splash of sparkling wine adds lift.Maxime Iattoni

Prince of Wales

Prince of Wales
Sweet champagne, muddled pineapple, and warming rye whiskey form the basis for this pre-Prohibition era cocktail.Anna Stockwell

The Castaway

The Castaway
This take on the piña colada owes its silky texture to Coco Lopéz, a mixture of sugarcane and coconut cream.Laura Sant

Frozen Limeade Margarita

Frozen Limeade Margarita
Canned frozen limeade intensifies the citrus flavor of this slushy Mexican libation.Todd Coleman

Pineapple Express

Pineapple Express
Cinnamon adds warm spice to this frosty treat made with puréed pineapple.Michael Kraus

Blackberry Blast

Blackberry Blast
Agricole rum, made from fresh sugarcane, adds rich flavor to a fruity frozen drink.Michael Kraus

Beach Towel

Beach Towel
This fruity frozen daiquiri becomes dessert-like with the addition of heavy cream.Michael Kraus

Frozen Piña Colada

Frozen Piña Colada
A poolside classic, this blended coconut cooler is heightened with a splash of aromatic bitters.Todd Coleman

Prickly-Pear Margarita

Prickly-Pear Margarita
The prickly pear cactus thrives in the deserts of the American Southwest; its bulbous red fruit is prized for many Mexican and Tex-Mex preparations. This legendary margarita, which takes its distinctive flavor from the fruit, comes from bartender Ruben Bernal at Las Canarias restaurant in San Antonio, Texas.André Baranowski

Li Hing Mui Margarita (“Side-Mui”)

Li Hing Mui Margarita (“Side-Mui”)
Homemade sour mix adds fresh tang to a sweet combination of vodka and Kahlua.Helen Rosner

Riki Tiki

Riki Tiki cocktail
This refresher combines pineapple and mango juices with coconut and spiced rums.Michael Kraus

Pod Thai

Pod Thai
Cardamom-lemongrass syrup lends a bit of Thai spice to a fresh cocktail made with rum and coconut.Helen Rosner

Ho'opono Potion

Ho'opono Potion
Happy hour tastes like paradise with this bracing cocktail of cucumber, tequila, fresh lime juice, and a touch of bitter Aperol.Michael Kraus

Blue Hawaii

Blue Hawaii cocktail
This neon-hued curaçao punch features vodka, pineapple juice, and sour mix.Michael Kraus

French Connection

French Connection
This creative drink is a citrusy marriage of cognac and Hawaiian vodka sweetened with passion fruit syrup.Helen Rosner

Singapore Sling

Singapore Sling
Invented circa 1915 by bartender Ngiam Tong Boon at Singapore's Raffles Hotel, this sweet drink has become a beachside classic on beaches worldwide.Todd Coleman

South Shore Sangria

South Shore Sangria
Like an adult version of Hawaiian Punch, this cocktail is a balance of sweet liqueurs, fruit juices, and red wine.Michael Kraus

Pineapple “Up-Sides-Down”

Pineapple “Up-Sides-Down”
Tuaca, a vanilla citrus liqueur, and vanilla vodka transform pineapple juice into a dessert-like cocktail.Helen Rosner

Pineapple Mojito

Pineapple Mojito
This twist on a mojito combines pineapple- and coconut-infused rum with fresh pineapple and mint for a fruity, vacation-inspired drink.Helen Rosner

Gooney Goo-Goo

Gooney Goo-Goo
The flavors of ruby port and cognac grow even more profound when fired up in this orange juice-laced drink.Todd Coleman

Mango Daiquiri

Mango Daiquiri
With its deep, sweet mango flavor offset by coconut rum and bright lime juice, slushy frozen daiquiris are perfect for any beachside getaway.Anna Stockwell

Zelma's Punch

Zelma's Punch
This heady tropical cocktail gets its earthy undertones from creme de cacao.Todd Coleman

Flamingo

Flamingo
This alternative to rum and Coke uses lighter, brighter grapefruit soda to let the bold character of a pot-distilled English-style rum shine through.Todd Coleman

Petit Punch Vieux

Petit Punch Vieux
Benjamin Jones of Clement rum distillery in Martinique shared his recipe for this cool, bracing cocktail, his country's national drink.Todd Coleman

Tiki Bandit

Tiki Bandit
This contemporary tiki cocktail contains a bright mix of fresh fruit juice, syrups, and rums.Todd Coleman

White Whiskey Punch

White Whiskey Punch
Clear, unaged white whiskey stars in this potent, tropical-inspired punch.Todd Coleman

The King Family Fortune

The King Family Fortune
The King Family Fortune invokes the tropics with pineapple juice, grenadine, and vanilla vodka.MacKenzie Smith

Puka Punch

Puka Punch
Dark or white rum may be substituted for any of the rums in this recipe from LA's Tiki-Ti bar.Ariana Lindquist

Pisco Sour Slushy

Pisco Sour Slushy
Made with the South American grape brandy that's popular in Chile and Peru, the pisco sour makes for a salty, sweet, tart, and beautiful sorbet.Anna Stockwell

Kapu Kai

Kapu Kai
This simple drink is nothing more than demerara rum, lime juice, and simple syrup.Michael Kraus

Cuba Kola

Cuba Kola
We based this rum cocktail on one from Ray Buhen's Tiki-Ti, a Los Angeles bar that opened in 1961.Ariana Lindquist

Snake Eyes

Snake Eyes
Made with the South American spirit pisco, the Snake Eyes Cocktail has a tropical edge thanks to passion fruit and mango, and ends with an unexpected kick—muddled jalapeño lends it some serious fire.Helen Rosner

Kaffir Lime Sour with Ginger

Kaffir Lime Sour with Ginger
This tart, spiced cocktail, the winner of our 2011 Home Cook Challenge Cocktail contest, was inspired by a cocktail that winner Mo Lyon sampled at Seattle's now-closed Licorous. It's Thai-inspired flavors pair beautifully with Southeast Asian food; it's also perfect on its own as an afternoon sipper.Anna Stockwell

Frozen Margarita

Frozen Margarita
In 1971 Mariano Martinez figured out how to make frozen margaritas from a soft serve ice cream machine—the rest is history. We recommend using Herradura Silver Tequila for this refreshing variation.Penny De Los Santos

Punch Romaine

Punch Romaine
Punch Romaine, a rum-spiked shaved-ice palate cleanser served to first class passengers during the fateful last dinner aboard the Titanic on April 14th, 1912, was based on a recipe from famed French chef Georges Auguste Escoffier, who championed alcoholic shaved ices during the early twentieth century. The original recipe, essentially a granita, is updated here as a drinkable, citrusy cocktail poured over an iceberg of crushed ice.Todd Coleman