Tiki Drink: Humuhumunukunukuapua’a (Major Up...

Tiki Drink: Humuhumunukunukuapua’a (Major Update)

[Major update at the bottom of this post.]

I teased this cocktail in my prior main page post about spiffing up your paper cocktail parasols. I wanted to give the drink its own post because, well, it is really good. And that name… wow. It’s one helluv’an awesome mouth full. Actually, it’s a lot easier to pronounce than it is to read. Try it. (Hoomoo hoomoo nookoo nooku apoo ah ah)

This drink comes to me via Martin Cate’s new cocktail essential, Smuggler’s Cove. What do you mean you don’t have it? It’s essential. Go buy it now. Use my link, and Amazon will pay me enough commission to buy a lime. The Humuhumunukunukuapua’a is on pg. 144. The recipe is credited to Marcovaldo Dionysos, whom I don’t know, but wish I did.

What makes this drink really interesting is that it is a gin drink. With the exception of the Fog Cutter and the various Bastards, there isn’t a lot of gin in the Tiki oeuvre. This is a damn shame, because gin is awesome, but most other gin drinks in the Tiki vein come in under the category of “nice enough, but I’ll try something else next round.” This one, you’ll come back to.


  • 3/4 oz lemon juice
  • 3/4 oz pineapple juice
  • 1/2 oz orgeat
  • 2 oz gin
  • 2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters*

Combine in a shaker with ice and shake hard and long, to get a good chill. More importantly, you want a nice froth from the pineapple juice and that takes some elbow grease. Pour into a double old-fashioned glass and top with ice to fill. Garnish creatively.
* Be careful with the Peychaud’s. Depending on your dasher’s joie de vivre, you may want to use only one.

The resulting cocktail is bright, crisp, and not too sweet. It’s ideal for guests who think they have an aversion to sweetness. The pineapple and lime lift the gin on their shoulders, and sing a hearty backup. The orgeat lends more substance and texture than most gin drinks possess. The Peychaud’s adds a delicate pungency, as long as you don’t over do it. The finish is long and aromatic.

Can you tell I ruined one of these with too much Peychaud’s?

Regardless, despite a lot of vocabulary in my description that isn’t usually associated with Tiki concoctions, this is very much a Tiki drink. It just feels exotic on the tongue. Give it a try.

Major Update: Let’s talk a bit more about the name, shall we? Turns out my phonetic breakdown above is correct. A humuhumunukunukuapua’a is a trigger fish and looks like this. (I think I nailed the color scheme of my drink above—totally by accident.)

I have gotten multiple messages about the name’s pronunciation, and the videos that are out there about it. This includes a comment from Board of Tiki Idols member, Tiare, down in the comments of this post, linking a particularly cute one.

Turns out, there are approximately 14.3 million videos on YouTube about pronouncing the name of this fish, which is the state fish of Hawaii. I am now firmly convinced that Hawaiian public education consists primarily of young children dancing around and happily singing the name of this fish all day….

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  1. Tiare

    7 February

    Love this post! and if anyone wants to hear how to say humuhumunukunukuapua´a here it is in a lovely little Hawaiian song:

      (Quote)  (Reply)

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