Tiki Drink: Coconut Kallaloo

Coconut Kallaloo, 1970's era Tiki Drink
When I posted my first Tiki drink for this year’s festivities, the Nui Nui, I mentioned that it was a good example of the kind of vibe and flavor profile you find in early Tiki drinks. Today’s cocktail, the Coconut Kallaloo, is more emblematic of what you would have experienced late in the movement. I’m not generally a huge fan of the sweeter, blander concoctions that typified the Tiki inventions of the ’60s and ’70s (and neither was anyone else it seems, as they marked the end of the original Age of Tiki), but I like this one. The Bum gives very little info on the origins of the Coconut Kallaloo, other than it was a very late invention. The word Kallaloo (or Callaloo) comes from a Caribbean group of side dishes which sometimes includes coconut milk. I include this info only because it interests me, since any resemblance between this drink and stewed amaranth with conch, onions, and garlic ends with the name.

COCONUT KALLALOO

  • 2 1/2 parts amber Virgin Islands rum
  • 1 part fresh lime juice
  • 1 part Coco Lopez
  • 8 parts ice

Combine in a blender and blend until creamy smooth. Serve in a tall glass or Tiki mug. I suggest garnishing with a tattooed lime and a pretty straw

The resulting drink is tangy, smooth, and a little bit creamy. You want a decent rum here, but don’t pop for the really expensive stuff, as the subtlety will be lost. Again, note the differences in late versus early Tiki style. The later a Tiki blender drink is invented, the more likely it is to be blended completely. Part of this is tastes of the time, but I suspect a lot more of it is that it’s easier to fully blend a large batch of a drink than it is to properly flash blend. Also, a busy bartender can turn away from a blender on full blend and do something else while it whirrs away. You can even batch up smooth drinks in a dispenser like a Frozen Margarita machine.
Essentially, flash blending takes focused attention and a bit of touch, and the movement from it to smooth blending is just another piece of evidence in the drift of original Tiki bartending away from Art and Craft toward Production.

Flavor-wise, there is none of the mysterious complexity in the Coconut Kallaloo that you find in drinks like the Nui Nui or a good Zombie. But it’s a helluva lot more accessible than those if you are serving Tiki drinks and you want to transition some reluctant guests away from Strawberry Daiquiris and Pina Coladas.

(Source: Beach Bum Berry Remixed)


  1. Jordan

    4 February

    Have you read Painkiller NYC’s Tiki Research blog? Their latest piece about how recipes need to be adjusted between shaken and blended drinks was really fascinating.

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  2. Doug

    4 February

    Some of it. I have a Tiki month post coming that rips off, er, analyzes one post. I’ll look for the post you mention, or you could, you know, link to it….

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  3. Jordan

    4 February

    Here you go: http://www.painkillernyc.com/research

    It is, in my mind, the essence of cocktail geekery.

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  4. Sam

    5 February

    I’ve yet to make a blended drink and before I delve into it, I was wondering how one would measure parts of ice, particularly as they relate to the liquid ingredients? Do you just eyeball it or is there a more sophisticated approach? And do you have any rums in particular that you’d recommend for this recipe? Can’t wait to make this!

    Oh, and that Painkiller site is a great resource. I wish more cocktail establishments were doing something like that. In fact, I would aver that Painkiller’s site offers a better experience than the bar itself. At least for us cocktail geeks. The place tends to be kind of a scene and some of the bartenders aren’t as friendly or knowledgeable as one would hope. At least in my experience.

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  5. Doug

    5 February

    I’ve used Cruzan for it.
    As for the ice, you gotta know your own ice, and how it blends.
    Try with a cup to start. If your cubes are big, you’ll likely need a bit more.
    I think it’s harder to get the amount of ice right when you are blending smooth, than with the flash blended drinks. If you use too much, the drink’ll become sorbet.

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