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:


  1. DJ HawaiianShirt

    16 February

    The only reason I’m a suffering bastard is because you used brandy instead of bourbon.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  2. Jordan

    16 February

    If you want to kick that one up a bit (and what’s tiki without homemade ingredients?), homemade lime cordial and ginger syrup (for the ginger beer) will probably be a nice improvement.



      (Quote)  (Reply)

  3. Joe

    17 February

    Until SOMEONE ::cough::BLAIR::cough:: comes up with a high-quality version, one is a zillion times better off making one’s own “lime cordial.”

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  4. Doug

    17 February

    DJ HawaiianShirt,
    Actually, I find that I vastly prefer this with the cognac over the Bourbon. Just a matter of taste, perhaps, but I think that gin and bourbon, the two alpha dogs of cocktail spirits, fight any time they are in a glass together.

    Jordan and Joe,
    This is another drink where I don’t have a real problem with the Rose’s. (There are only a few)
    That said, if BG Reynolds gets off his tush and introduces a Lime cordial, then it is going to be cheaper for me just to fly out to Portland to pick up my orders than it would be to ship all those bottles.

    I’m not saying this would be a bad thing….

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  5. Joe

    19 February

    I didn’t have a gripe w. Rose’s until I tried homemade lime cordial.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

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