It’s Time You Add The Boo Loo To Your Drink-Making Repertoire

Meet the Boo Loo. As far as tiki cocktails go, this drink seems to have slipped under popular culture’s radar, taking a backseat to its better-known brethren, the mai tai and the zombie. Almost everyone who’s had a drink has heard of those two cocktails, whether or not they’ve actually had one before (to say nothing of having a good one). But the Boo Loo? The Boo Loo who? It appears to not have even made it into the backseat; it got left behind in the driveway while the mai tai and the zombie laughed, fist-bumped, and drove off into a wild night of parties and debauchery. Boo hoo, Boo Loo.

The Boo Loo is believed to have been created around 1965, making it a mid-century tiki creation. If the 1950s and early 1960s are to be considered tiki culture’s heyday, that puts this classic cocktail in an interesting–some might say ‘precarious’–position. It’s during the mid-’60s that the culture starts to experience a decline in popularity, one that leads to almost complete and total obscurity by the ’80s (save for some horrifically butchered versions of tiki’s most famous cocktails). In other words, the Boo Loo didn’t have quite as much time in the sun as the mai tai, which was created in the early 1930s. Perhaps this is the reason it’s not a household name in quite the same way.

Nevertheless, I find the Boo Loo’s lack of relative lack of popularity a little surprising, given that it’s got all the right moves. You have your sweetness, in the form of a honey syrup (a 1:1 ratio of water and honey, boiled and simmered until the honey is dissolved). You’ve got your citrus, first in the form of lime, and then pineapple, the fruit that people obviously love and associate with tiki drinks, because it mistakenly ends up in mai tais all of the time. Heck, this cocktail is even traditionally served in a pineapple, which I’d argue is the mental image that most people conjure when asked to envision a tiki drink. Finally, you’ve got your rum. And you’ve got your rum. And you’ve got your rum again.

Come on, what’s not to love?

It’s time to give the Boo Loo its due, and here to help me do that are Michael Thanos, the owner, and Becca Morris, the Head Bartender, of celebrated tiki bar Forbidden Island. Forbidden Island has the distinction of being Alameda, California’s first and only tiki bar.

It’s garnered a massive following of devoted tiki acolytes, and is constantly converting more, and for good reason. With its thatched-roof bar, Japanese glass float lanterns, tiki idols, live music, and five-part cocktail menu, it’s a true tropical oasis. Did I mention that they also boast a massive premium rum list?

Forbidden Island proudly serves the Boo Loo on their Traditional Tiki Drink menu, where its name is followed by four skull-and-crossbones. What does that mean, exactly? I’ll let Michael and Becca explain…

What should tiki neophytes know about the Boo Loo?