Tiki Drink: Nui Nui

Click to enlarge.
(One of a kind Tiki vessel,
from ElizabethJeanCreations on Etsy)

Just to set the mood, I want to lead off Tiki Month 2011 with a cocktail, the Nui Nui. This is a Don the Beachcomber creation from 1937, and tastes like it.

NUI NUI

Combine in a blender and flash blend (~5 seconds). The consistency should be chunky slush, not like a smoothie. Serve in an appropriate vessel. The classic garnish is a honking long orange peel.

Of course the true cocktailistas among you may want to make your own syrups, and good on you if you do. Don’s Spices #2 is believed to be an equal mix of vanilla syrup and Allspice Dram if you want to give it a go. (I specify Trader Tiki’s syrups because he makes good stuff, during Tiki Month I’m going to need lots of different syrups and I don’t want to make it all myself, and because I like Blair and am happy to pimp his product.)

Cinnamon, Vanilla, and Allspice are all strong, exotic flavors, and the Nui Nui presents them well. It’s not the easiest drink to make, however, as I’ve found that even minute adjustments in the amount of the syrups can really effect the flavor and balance of the final mix.

I find this drink to be fairly emblematic of the early Tiki drinks, that were heavy on the exotica. These flavors would have been practically unheard of in drinks in the 30’s and 40s, and would have been critical in creating the vibe of foreign, even alien, excitement that drove Tiki in its early heyday. Don’s drinks in particular have this sort of flavor profile. I’ve found a number of his recipes where he’s gone too far for me with the spices, but this one is just right.

(Source: Beachbum Berry’s Sippin’ Safari)


  1. Tiare

    2 February

    Oh yeah so its Tiki month!! i had totally forgotten about that all wound-up in my work as i am right now and like the winter-zombie i become between the dark months of nov – march i´ve been sleepwalking.

    Thank you for brightening up february! its really needed. The Nui Nui is an awesome tiki drink in my opinion.

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  2. Doug

    2 February

    Thanks, T!

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  3. Jordan

    2 February

    What amber rum do you use in your Nui Nuis? I haven’t found one in my collection that quite fits the bill.

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  4. Doug

    2 February

    Jordan,

    To be honest, I just banged in Mount Gay Eclipse and didn’t fiddle further. The ice storm caught me with a smaller selection of rums than I wanted… especially to start Tiki Month!

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  5. Flamingo Fred

    3 February

    Ah, the Nui Nui! I tried played around with it just last week and made a few for some friends this weekend. They all loved it. I agree with your point on the balance of this drink. It’s a true balansing act.

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  6. Tony Harion

    4 February

    Tiki month! yes! to help with the heat, right?

    Well at least around here….

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  7. Sarah S

    15 February

    Hi!, I’m new on here and looking forward to being a part of the threaded!

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  8. Jordan

    3 May

    I have to report back that Cruzan Dark wins over Mt. Gay Eclipse in this drink. The Cruzan has a bit more depth and stands up better to all the other strong flavors. If the Eclipse had a bit more brawn, it’s fruitier flavor would probably be great in this drink, but as is it tends to get lost.

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