Original Tiki Drink: Kalā Kaua

I started out making a Zombie variant, and ended up down this entirely different road instead, with the able assistance of the PeguWife and the prodding of her superior palate. Many of the ingredients used in the Kalā Kaua are not widely available, but I highly recommend making the effort, if you are able.

Kalākaua was the last king of Hawaii, and the impetus for the cultivation of cacao trees on the archipelago. The last ingredient we added, the one that brings it all together, is a dry dark chocolate rum from Mexico of all places. A post on the rum should appear in coming days. Please note, this is not a dessert cocktail… even by Tiki standards.


Combine all ingredients in a shaker with small/crushed ice. Shake well and open pour into a large-mouthed Tiki mug. Garnish with pineapple leaves and a lime husk with burning overproof rum.

Citrus, clove, allspice, Demerara musk, coffee, and cocoa, along with bitters to reinforce them all…. This drink should be a mess, but instead it results in one of those magical Tiki melanges of exotic spices without heat that has a finished impression which, like a chord in music, is somehow different from the sum of its parts. You will taste coffee now and then, bitter Mexican cocoa shows up on the finish, and allspice lurks in the background, plotting, yet all end in harmony.

I like this one.


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