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Style & Living Going Off the Menu

The Top 5 Tiki Drinks to Try Before You Die

Add these classic cocktails to your boozy bucket list. 

By Sara Gauchat

Oh, so you’re *not* swinging in a hammock on a ridiculously postcard-perfect beach right now? Never fear—tiki drinks are here to make it feel like you are. Sample enough of these most iconic ones, and you might even start seeing Polynesian mermaids. (Or a dolphin or two at the very least.)

1. Mai Tai

When the word “tiki” comes up in conversation (which should really happen far more often than it typically does), this magical concoction of rum, Curacao, orgeat syrup, and lime juice is likely the first beverage that dances into your head. And the origin of this staple of Polynesianness depends on who you ask—some say the creator was Donn Beach (a.k.a. the “father of tiki”) and others swear it was Victor Bergeron (of Trader Vic’s fame). Apparently only the island gods know for sure.

2. Rum Swizzle

Cheers to the wwekend ☀ 📸 : @bermuda

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First dreamt up in points unknown somewhere in the Caribbean, the Rum Swizzle eventually became the unofficial national drink of Bermuda. Made up of black and gold rums, orange and pineapple juices, grenadine, and bitters, this sunset-colored drink is just about as island-y as you can get without laying directly on a sand dune.

3. Planter’s Punch

Why consume a measly single type of rum when you could be sucking down four? Concocted with dark, white, spiced, and aged rums when in its purest form, this sure-to-get-any-party-started cocktail has been fuzzying-up memories in the Caribbean for more than a century.

4. Fog Cutter

When “Trader Vic” Bergeron invented this now-classic, he clearly felt that rum shouldn’t be the only booze having all the tiki fun. That’s why you’ll taste the rather unexpected sherry and brandy in this one—alongside the requisite rum and citrus juices, because obviously.

5. Zombie

Night out in Chapel St #jungleboy #zombiecocktail #cocktails #tiki #flame

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Legend has it that this hella-strong beverage first unleashed by Donn Beach in the ‘30s was given its name after witnessing the mental state of an unsuspecting imbiber who’d just downed three of them. Considering the drink is basically four different rums with a splash of a couple fruit juices (think pineapple and papaya), it’s no wonder that there’s typically a strict two-per-customer limit enforced.’s digital series Going Off the Menu takes viewers on an exclusive culinary adventure as host Graham Elliot uncovers the most delicious offerings within Los Angeles’ underground food scene. From a secret supper club serving smuggled cheeses to an eight-course liquid dinner, join Lance Bass, Cheryl Burke, Reza Farahan, and more as they give fans the secrets to unlock these extraordinary food experiences.

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