Ellen Clifford
April 11, 2015 9:41 am

Two bars are credited with what we now call tiki: Don the Beachcomber and Trader Vic’s. They started way back in 30’s and as time went by the trend took hold: James Michener wrote Tales of the South PacificHawaiian Eye was on tv, even Elvis got into it singing Blue Hawaii. And what wasn’t to love? Relaxing music, beautiful beaches, tasty drinks, and let’s face it, sexy hula girls. People started getting lei’d. Sorry. I had to say that.

The tiki trend fell in the 80’s but it is back and getting stronger by the minute. So let’s play! I realize I actually threw my first tiki party at the tender age of…13, I think? I had visited Hawaii and wanted to share the magic with my friends. I taught them a hula, made a travel-themed obstacle course and even baked upside-down pineapple cake. Except no tiki drinks, we were underage!

Now that I’m an adult I can add in the gorgeous tiki drinks that are enjoying a renaissance. I turned to Trader Vic’s Tiki Party! cookbook by Steve Siegelman. Why not start at the source? In addition to a more lengthy history of how the Trader Vic’s empire was founded, this book will walk you through how to have a tiki themed party and then has recipes for all the drinks served at Trader Vic’s as well as some food selections. Because a pupu platter is always perfect.

Amongst the tips for a party, I had some favorites. There should be a mandatory dress code of Hawaiian shirts, sandals, sarongs, leis and the like. Decorating with flowers, pineapples, ukeleles, lanterns, torches and hopefully a harpoon (every girl should have one) is also important. Ukelele music, Don Ho, and lounge music are great to play, particularly because you KNOW a limbo contest needs to happen.

But above all, this party should serve some potent potables with the pupu platters. What makes up a tiki drink? Well, the majority of them are made with rum. Mai Tais are a classic choice. Whatever you serve, there should have terrific garnishes: fruit, flowers, umbrellas, and herbs rare a good start. If you have any cool glasses or tiki head mugs this is their time to shine.

Because I can never let well enough alone I made one small change in this recipe. I had some Captain Morgan pineapple and grapefruit rums I’d been itching to experiment with. They are definitely mixing rums.  And a girl and her rum will not be denied. So I chose cocktails that had pineapple and grapefruit flavors already and subbed in the flavored rum for the regular rum. Because if you are going pineapple, go all in.

You’ll see in the picture a few of the fun drinks I made out of this book. I went a bit nutty with my blender one evening. Girls just wanna have fun. I picked my favorite to share with you. It is actually an adaptation from the original banana-flavored recipe. But the book actually encourages experimentation with different fruits in this drink so I went for it. This pineapple cocktail is the new milkshake. It is SO good.

Pineapplequiri adapted from Trader Vic’s Tiki Party! by Steve Siegelman

  • 1 1/2 oz. pineapple flavored rum (I used the Captain Morgan Pineapple Rum type but if you must a silver rum is fine)
  • 4 oz. fresh pineapple (I used about 8 chunks, which was probably a bit more than than needed but I love pineapple)
  • 1/2 oz. freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tsp. simple syrup
  • 1/2 oz. maraschino liqueur (I use the Luxardo brand)
  • 1 cup crushed ice (I added a bit less since I used more pineapple)
  • mint to garnish, also I added a cherry and pineapple on a toothpick

Blend all but the garnishes in a blender until smooth. Pour into a glass (preferably one you’ve been keeping in the freezer!), garnish with mint and anything else you like, then give to someone else and get lei’d. Can’t stop won’t stop.