With Mai Tais, Pina Coladas and Jungle Birds blossoming at bars across the country, the tiki train shows no sign of slowing down. But given the daunting complexity and rafts of ingredients in tiki cocktails, many aspiring bartenders worry the drinks aren’t practical to make at home. Fortunately for all of us, this common misconception is easily remedied.
The truth is that tiki cocktails are only as involved as the bartender wants to make them. In fact, for most of their existence, tiki cocktails have been associated with trash ingredients and dive bar Chinese restaurants. We’re not saying you stoop that low, but if you’re not looking to get super fancy, most classic tiki cocktails are within reach.
So start small. Then you can kick up your game over time with more rums, more equipment, and more mugs and garnishes. Here’s what you need for a basic tiki setup to start making the tropical elixirs of your dreams.