Tiki has never been more popular than it is today. Thanks to the resurgence of lost ingredients, recipes, and bars like Smuggler’s Cove in San Francisco, Tiki drinks have gone from niche to mainstream. These days, it’s not only expected that a standard cocktail bar or restaurant bar be able to execute a number of Tiki staples perfectly, it’s also considered good form to produce one while entertaining at home.
I have always been enamoured with the Tiki style as I’ve surfed and navigated the many cocktail styles and eras during my time behind the bar. The style eschews many of the accepted norms of classic pre-Prohibition cocktail construction and instead adopts a Baroque take on cocktails. In plain English, we like Tiki because it’s fun.
Unfortunately for me at work, Tiki doesn’t always match up with the simple, Euro-centric food that emerges from our kitchen on a nightly basis. To create a Tiki-style drink for our menu that used a variety of European herbal liqueurs was a challenge that I was definitely up for.
I’ve always found that family of herbal liqueurs that encompasses Chartreuse, Benedictine, Galliano, and Drambuie to work quite well in sour-type cocktails. Drambuie was especially interesting to me as a main ingredient, given the fact that we are primarily a whiskey bar and Drambuie is made from a base of Scotch whisky, sweetened with honey, and flavored with herbs.
I began with a simple sour made with Drambuie and Fernet Branca, added pineapple juice to blend the flavors together, and tied the whole thing up with some Angostura bitters and soda water. The result is a cocktail of Tiki pedigree with European roots. And while “interesting” barely begins to describe it, it’s simple enough to make at home with no special tools or ingredients.
1½ oz Drambuie
1½ oz pineapple juice
¾ oz lime juice
1 tsp Fernet Branca
3 dashes Angostura bitters
Chilled soda water
Shake ingredients with ice and finish with 1 oz soda water. Strain mix over fresh ice into a chilled collins glass and garnish with a pineapple wedge.