I’ve had a thing for tiki drinks lately. San Francisco’s Smuggler’s Cove is by far one of my favorite bars, and I’ve been itching for a trip to New York’s Lani Kai since I arrived in September. So when my good friend Matthew invited us to his housewarming party a few weeks ago, my mind shot directly to making a pitcher of sunny tropical drinks to share. It didn’t hurt that I was also reading Bon Appetit’s March issue at the time, and was inspired by the simple and lovely Queen’s Park Swizzle.
Starting out, I infused some dark rum with orange zest and cinnamon overnight. To that I added simple syrup, lime juice, and mint. The recipe also calls for orgeat, an almond-infused syrup used heavily in tiki concoctions. I didn’t have time to whip up a batch, and my local bar store was out, but Bittermens Elemakule Tiki Bitters (infused with cinnamon, allspice, and paprika) made a lovely replacement. Swirl the mixture around and pour over crushed ice, and you have a slightly sweet, spicy, and tart cocktail. And our ever-expanding bar continued to grow with the addition of a few bar staples–Peychaud’s and Angostura–used to top of the drink with a bright red flourish. Garnish with mint and a long straw, and you have tiki magic. Light and floral, it’s a great way to celebrate, housewarmings or the coming sunshine!