Tiki Drink: Suffering Bastard

This one is an absolute classic Tiki drink. It has an awesome name, which was stolen by Trader Vic for a variant on his Mai Tai. It has all sorts of varients, such as the Dying Bastard and the Dead Bastard. It is not in fact a rum drink, which makes it stand out. It has a very distinctive, unusual, and exotic taste. And it is one of those drinks that is once again accessible to normal drink mixers because of the sudden plethora of good ginger beers that you see in mainstream grocery markets these days.


  • 1 oz. gin
  • 1 oz. brandy
  • 1/2 oz. Rose’s Lime
  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
  • 4 oz. ginger beer

Shake all except the ginger beer with large ice. Add the ginger beer and pour unstrained into a double old-fashioned glass, or better yet, a Suffering Bastard Tiki mug. Garnish with orange and mint.

Plenty of folks in the non-Tiki Cocktailosphere have covered this one before me. Matt Hamlin notes its similarity to but greater complexity than the more widely known counterpart, The Dark ‘n Stormy. Interestingly, while the Dark ‘n Stormy is in fact made with rum, it’s not generally thought of as a Tiki drink! Both, of course, are Bucks….

The Dead and Dying variations are billed as hangover cures, and SeanMike, back in his LiveJournal days, offered his own caffine-laden version, the Wake Up and Suffer, You Bastard.

Among the awesomeness that surrounds this drink is the array of Suffering Bastard-themed Tiki mugs out there. The iconic one is Trader Vic’s, even though these would not have been served containing a real Suffering Bastard. These are quite collectible, selling for over $100 on eBay in the last few months.

My favorite of the bunch is MunkTiki’s Wannabe Bastard offering. This little guy almost makes a hangover sound fun. Almost.
It, like most of the really cook Bastard mugs out there, is also expensive, which is why you see a snifter used in my own photograph above.

For a completely sober and serious take on the nature and construction of the Suffering Bastard, I leave you with the classic first episode (that’s worth a damn) of TikiBarTV:

About the author


I am 48 years old, married with two young daughters. My interests are tennis, reading, computers, politics, and of course cocktails. I run a murder mystery party business that caters to both corporate and private events, Killing Time, murder consultants.


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