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What Are Tiki Cocktails?

The word ‘Tiki’ is derived from Māori mythology. As per the mythology, Tiki was the first man created by either Tūmatauenga (The god of war, hunting, food cultivation, fishing, and cooking) or Tāne (The god of forests and birds).

There is no precise definition of a Tiki cocktail. However, there are few features found in almost every Tiki cocktail, which sets it apart from other cocktails.

Rum –

Most tiki drinks at least have one type of rum in it, although many mix up to three distinct styles of the sweet liquor. 

Lots of tropical fruits –

Like true tropical fashion, Tiki drinks include fruit juices and many tiki cocktail recipes include more than one fruit. So, when it’s time for Tiki drink, make sure to have a decent stock of fruits like Orange, Passion fruit, pineapple, Guava, and Coconut. The fruit dominates the flavour and hides the heavy taste of Liquor. This is ideal for people who prefer less alcohol flavour, and yet it also makes them mildly more hazardous because they end up feeling so great that they almost forget how powerful these drinks are.

Layers of flavours –

These first two features are the sign that these cocktails are anything but plain or boring. The Tiki cocktails will often have four or more components that add a pleasing depth to the flavour of the drink. Tiki drinks are among the most exciting and delightful flavour experiences you will have.

Spices –

Although spices are not a requirement, you will find that many Tiki drinks have an ingredient that adds a touch of spice. Pimento dram, spiced rum and spices like nutmeg can be found in several Tiki cocktail recipes.

Variations in a recipe –

One of the many theories is that the ingredients in the Tiki cocktails were kept secret for so long, that bartenders began interpreting what may be in them. For this reason, Tiki cocktails have multiple variations. Almost every drink has had ingredients added, subtracted, and substituted multiple times over the years. Some barely resemble what we accept as the original recipe.

The Presentation –

We often believe that Tiki drinks will be served in quirky mugs with extravagant garnishing, but to your surprise, the two classic tiki drinks, the Mai Tai and the Zombie, are served in regular glasses. However, Tiki mugs have become vital; people expect them and love them. Tiki presentations are a little lavish. You might find Chinese lanterns, paper peacocks, and fog or fire flowing out of your drink.

The Tiki cocktails require a lot more effort than your standard gin and tonic, but the layered, complexly flavoured; highly boozy drinks are worth a little extra hard work.

Here are the top 5 Tiki cocktails – 

Mai Tai –

Mai Tai is one of the most famous Tiki cocktails. It is created by Victor Bergeron, one of the founders of the tiki bar scene. In Tahitian, Mai Tai means good. A proper Mai Tai is a profound amber colour that enables the rum to shine through with the other ingredients. The Mai Tai has taken on a much more fruitful flavour over the years.

Zombie –

Legend has it that Donn Beach created this potent drink in the 1930s and named it for its impact on a friend who consumed three of them.

Painkiller –

You’re looking at something similar to a Pina Colada with a twist. Add a touch of spice, the painkiller cocktail is a fun and fruity mix, made of pineapple, orange, coconut, and bold rum.

Singapore Sling –

This cocktail wasn’t created in the tiki world. It was invented and reinvented time and again. The original recipe is attributed to a bartender named Ngiam Tong Boon, who said to have mixed the first Sling around 1915 at the Long Bar inside Singapore’s Raffles Hotel.

Rum Runner –

Rum Runner was invented at a popular bar in Florida in the 1950s. Rum Runner is another example of a fabulous drink with many recipes. Generally, a Rum Runner should have rum, banana liqueur, and blackberry liqueur, and grenadine.

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