Tiki drinks may not be the first thing that springs to mind when considering what to mix on Halloween, but what makes a chilly autumn night warmer than a glass full of rum-poached faux-Polynesian sunshine? I myself am a big fan of tiki-style cocktails, mostly because I have a love affair with orgeat, but not least because they make great party drinks. Generally bright, colorful and at least mildly sweet, tiki drinks can be a friendly alternative for guests who might be intimidated by a spirituous cocktail served up. As an added bonus, they are often easy to batch into a punch bowl for a cocktail party with no shaking.
Aside from the cool name(s), I pulled this cocktail because it has a lighter alcohol content than many tiki concoctions. Obviously if you want to go for the cool-name-and-killer-ABV combo, you should skip right on ahead to the Zombie, that lethal and delicious rum drink of legend. If, however, you would like a less deadly alternative, the Sleeping Giant (or Polynesian Paralysis) makes a delightful choice. Taken from Beachbum Berry’s excellent book Sippin’ Safari, this drink came from the Lagoon Cocktail Terrace at the Coco Palms Resort, Kauai, sometime during the 1950s.
1½ oz fresh orange juice
1½ oz unsweetened pineapple juice
1½ oz light rum
½ oz sweet & sour*
¼ oz orgeat
Shake with crushed ice and pour into a Collins glass. Add ice cubes to fill and garnish with a mint sprig and a cocktail cherry.
*For the love of Pete, do not under any circumstance use bottled sour mix. It tastes like dust bunnies and is full of crappy additives that make cocktails taste gross. Instead, try making your own at home: mix 1 cup fresh lemon juice, 1 cup fresh lime juice and 1-1½ cups simple syrup (depending on the tartness of the citrus). Stir to combine and store in the fridge.
Not perhaps a life changing cocktail, but still a very, very good one. It tastes sort of like a scaled-down Mai Tai with a very light body, mild sweetness and appealing “tropical” flavor. The presentation is colorful and the golden yellow color of the drink is quite pretty. You could easily batch this into a punch, using a large chunk of ice in the punchbowl and leaving out a bowl of crushed ice for the guests to ladle their punch over. Some sprigs of mint in a glass of water and a bowl of cherries and you’re done, with a tasty and easy punch to show for it. Okole maluna!