Tiki Winners 2017 Part II: The Luau


Each year during Tiki Month, I conduct a number of unlicensed laboratory experiments on human subjects have a few friends over to try out new recipes I’ve run across. This year I want to blog the ones that come up as winners, in that they are the ones that everybody is ordering by the end of the night.

Winner number two from lab session one this year is the Luau. This nifty number is a variation on the classic Luau Grog, minus the ice cone, created by Gerry Corcoran at PDT, and published in the eponymous book. Like the other winner from this session, I found this one via a heads up from Fred Yarm. (Spoiler Alert: There are a lot of drinks I’m trying this year that will include hat tips to Fred….)

LUAU (For PDT’s exact recipe, see the book)

  • 3/4 oz Wray & Nephew Overproof Rum
  • 3/4 oz El Dorado 8 Yr.
  • 3/4 oz Dos Maderas
  • 1/2 oz fresh lime
  • 1/2 oz passion fruit syrup
  • 1/4 oz orgeat
  • 1 dash Angostura

Shake thoroughly with ice. Strain into a whimsical Tiki mug, top with crushed ice, and garnish with orange and mint. (p.168, PDT Cocktail Book)

This drink really illustrates one of the great joys of Tiki: blending rums. The non-alcoholic ingredients form a nice bed frame for this drink, the but the star attraction is the weird, delicate dance of three disparate rums. I’m sure there are better trios than I chose (including the three specified by PDT, no doubt), but any reasonably informed selection of three high quality rums with different pedigrees will likely make this drink sing.

On my †, ††, or ††† scale of Tiki drink potency, the Luau rates just a ††, but comes across as a †††. It’s boozy on the tongue. For a Tiki drink, it is quite spirit-forward.


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  1. Joe

    11 February

    What, d’ya think, does the Wray & Nephew Overproof (as opposed to other overproof rums) bring to this?

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  2. Doug Winship

    11 February

    Joe,
    It brings the overproof (duh), and the quality silver component of the menage a trois.
    I’m speculating that if you went with, say, a demerara overproof, you could swap the El Dorado for a nice silver like Plantation or Caliché.

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  3. Joe

    11 February

    Doug Winship, I like your switcheroo variation. How about using Plantation OFTD as the overproof, and their white rum as the silver?

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  4. I am a big Kahlua fan!!!! Like it over ice, mixed with milk, or any other way in between!!!! Where do you get these cute ‘cups” or servers? I would like to add some of them to my Tiki Party collection. Elnora McCarthy, ellemac114@nwcable.net

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  5. Doug

    29 March

    Elnora McCarthy,

    The Star Wars mugs have been available through Amazon in the past. I don’t know if the run has sold out.

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