The Complex World of Tiki Drinks

High-proof rum, specialty syrups, outrageous garnishes—tiki drinks aren’t exactly subtle. These famously elaborate drinks have seen a revival in recent years, and cocktail fans have grown to appreciate the complexity of these strong, fruity, layered cocktails. 

One of the key ingredients in many tiki drinks is orgeat. Orgeat is a almond syrup, often with hints of orange flower or rose water, that adds a nutty depth and pleasant creamy quality to cocktails. The most famous of these drinks is the Mai Tai, but there are many other examples of delicious cocktails that feature this unique ingredient. 

We’re highlighting a few of our favorite tiki and tiki-adjacent cocktails in hopes that more home bartenders will explore making them. Although tiki can be intimidating, it’s a great way to experiment with different types of rum and unique fruit flavors. Start with the classics and work your way up to riffing with different spirits and juices—and don’t forget to get creative with your garnishes. The flashier, the better. 


Great Tiki Drinks with Orgeat

Mai Tai

Tangy, sweet, and nutty, the Mai Tai is one of the most famous tiki drinks for a reason. It’s a beautifully balanced rum cocktail with lime and orgeat that come together to create with mouthwatering concoction. 

Ingredients: (Serves 1)

  • 1 oz Light rum
  • 1 oz Aged dark rum
  • 1½ oz Fresh lime juice
  • ½ oz Orange curaçao
  • ¼ oz Orgeat
  • ¼ oz Demerara simple syrup
  • Lime wheel and mint sprig for garnish


Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.

Add the rums, lime juice, orange curaçao, orgeat, and simple syrup and shake vigorously.

Strain into a tiki mug filled with crushed ice and garnish with lime wheel and mint sprig.

Fog Cutter

The Fog Cutter is not for the faint of heart. Featuring gin, white rum, and brandy with a sherry float, it’s a seriously stiff drink masquerading as a bright and tangy confection. The orgeat and lemon juice balance out the intensity of the spirits perfectly.

Ingredients: (Serves 1)

  • 2 oz Fresh orange juice
  • 1 oz Fresh lemon juice
  • ½ oz Orgeat
  • 1½ oz White rum
  • ½ oz Gin
  • ½ oz Brandy
  • ½ oz Amontillado sherry
  • Mint sprig for garnish


Add all ingredients except the sherry to a shaker filled with ice and shake well.

Strain into a highball or tiki mug filled with ice, and gently pour the sherry on top. 

Garnish with a mint sprig.

Trinidad Sour

Want to put a serious dent in your bottle of bitters? The Trinidad Sour calls for 1 ½ ounces of Angostura bitters. Tempered with lemon juice and orgeat, it has a bold, deep red hue and a complex spiced profile.

Ingredients: (Serves 1)

  • 1½ oz Angostura bitters (or other aromatic bitters)
  • ½ oz Rye whiskey
  • 1 oz Orgeat
  • ¾ oz Fresh lemon juice


Add all ingredients to a shaker filled with ice and shake well.

Strain into a chilled cocktail coupe glass or other stemmed cocktail glass.

Other Classic Tiki Drinks to Try

Painkiller, Blue Hawaiian, Singapore Sling, Beachcomber, Zombie, and Hurricane.

Have any other favorite tropical cocktails? Let us know—we’d love to try them. 

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