The Essential Tiki Drinks You Need To Try Before The Summer Ends

07.26.17 1 year ago


Call it a resurgence. Call it a reinvigoration. Call it the perfect escape. But whatever you do, don’t call it a trend. Tiki is here to stay, and here at Uproxx, we love a good tiki cocktail. That perfect marriage of rum, lime, sugar — with a little dash of pop-Polynesian magic — has popped up in more than a few of our stories, and for good reason: Tiki cocktails are a getaway in a glass. They’re a trip to the tropical island of our dreams — the one so perfect, so ideal, that it only exists in our imagination, and in the play of rums, spices, exotic fruits and liqueurs across our palates. Who doesn’t need an escape every once in awhile?

Before the summer’s through, these are the five tiki drinks you need to check out. New to tiki entirely? Grab your shaker. An old hand at the bar? Meet new spins on treasured classics. Don your Shriner’s-era fez, crush your ice, and harvest your mint. It’s time to say mahalo to your new favorite cocktails!

Cuba Libre — Ray Wyland, Tiki With Ray — Seattle, WA

If there’s anyone that understands the concept of the tiki bar as escape, it’s Seattleite Ray Wyland, whose passion for tiki as a lifestyle has taken him from the world famous bars that started it all, to the home tiki bars of strangers, lovingly crafted in living rooms, basements, and backyard grottos. His exploration of tiki culture — Tiki With Ray — is a labor of love, where he reminds us that, “when you’re heading out to a bar, you’re going out to have a good time and enjoy a drink or two. Maybe sometimes you want to have a little escape. With a Tiki bar, the escape is paramount. A good Tiki bar should create a relaxing mood. When you step into a Tiki bar, the outside world doesn’t exist anymore. The combination of a Tiki cocktail (which usually has two or more shots of alcohol!) with the decor and music creates a unique tone. It’s a tone and feeling that can only be achieved at a Tiki bar.”

So, what’s Ray recommend for the tiki novitiate?

If you want to turn someone on to tiki cocktails, first you have to get them to like and appreciate rum. Rum has gotten a bad reputation over the years. When most people think of rum, they are reminded of their college years back when they had a personal relationship with Sailor Jerry or they drank so much Malibu rum that they could probably own land there! College years…were the worst of times and the best of times!

For most tiki cocktails, rum is the main ingredient. When you start learning that there are many types of rum (and I’m not talking about just gold dark and silver) an entire world is opened up to you!

A good and inexpensive way to start loving rum is with Trader Vic’s. Trader Vic, aka Victor Bergeron opened up one of the first tiki bars and also invented the most popular tiki cocktail…The Mai Tai!

A Mai Tai is an awesome drink but it’s sort of strong (2 ounces of rum!) I want to take things down to an even simpler drink. A rum and Coke or actually a Cuba Libre. This is a great drink for someone just getting into rum. The Trader Vic’s Dark Rum almost has a chocolate taste and the lime gives the drink a certain tang. It’s an easy drink to make but most importantly it introduces you to a key element of tiki.


  • 1.5 oz Trader Vic’s Dark Rum
  • Mexican Coca Cola
  • 1/4 of a lime


Fill a highball glass with ice, then pour in the 1.5 oz of Trader Vic’s Dark Rum. Fill the rest of the glass with Coca Cola. Squeeze the juice of 1/4 of a lime into the glass, then toss in the spent shell. Stir it all up and enjoy!

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