3 Tropical Cocktail Recipes To Get Yo’ Drank On This Summer

by Robyn Smith

Imagine yourself on a gorgeous beach: The sun is shining, you have a steamy, hot copy of BUST and you’ve just reached the one-handed reads section, and tucked into your chair’s convenient cupholder is one of these bad girls.

Well, whether you’re at a beach or at home, thinking about beaches, you can make one of these cocktails to go with your wicked, sandy fantasies. The drinks were created by Lynn Calvo, a Long Island bar owner and mixed drink aficionado, as part of her new book, Tiki With A Twist: 75 Cool, Fresh, and Wild Tropical Cocktails.


Cocomint Cooler

An exotic and stunning locale, Thailand is known for its tropical beaches, ancient ruins, and sacred shrines to the Buddha, who graces my Hula Hut as well. Thai cuisine, one of the most popular in the world, relies on fresh, local ingredients like delicious coconuts and fragrant mint, both featured in this cocktail. If you’re ever in Thailand, take the time to visit the many food courts, markets, and award-winning restaurants. You can even take various culinary tours and cooking classes . . . while sipping on Thai-crafted tropical cocktails like this one. The combination of coconut and mint makes it extremely refreshing.


4 mint leaves

1 lime wedge*

¾ ounce agave nectar

1 ½ ounces premium light rum

½ ounce coconut rum

3 ounces coconut water

1 sprig mint for garnish


Place the mint leaves, lime wedge, and agave nectar in a cocktail shaker. Muddle to release the flavors from the leaves and the juice from the lime. Add the light rum, coconut rum, coconut water, and some ice. Shake for about 10 seconds. Strain into a Collins glass filled with ice. Garnish with the mint sprig and serve with a straw. Alternately you can serve this drink in a coconut shell garnished with a lime wheel and paper parasol for an even more tropical feel.

Citrus Wedge

Thoroughly rinse the fruit in warm water, and place it on its side on your cutting board. Using light pressure, roll the fruit on the board with your hand to soften the pulp inside. Then, with a sharp knife, slice off the ends of the fruit. Align your knife lengthwise with the two cut ends of the fruit, and slice it in half. Turn each half flat side down, align your knife lengthwise again with the two cut ends, and slice in half. Turn each quarter flat side down, align your knife lengthwise one more time with the two cut ends, and slice in half. Cover with a damp paper towel, and refrigerate for up to 24 hours before serving.


Banana Hammock

Banana Hammock

The popular and iconic 1980s television series Miami Vice inspired this cocktail. The drink is sexy and sophisticated and takes after the Miami Vice Cocktail—itself a combination of a Rum Runner and the Pina Colada—which popped up in tiki bars all over South Florida during the show’s heyday. This is my twist on that retro classic.


1 ripe banana

1 ½ ounces light rum

1 ounce coconut rum

½ ounce dark rum

1 ounce Coco Lopez or other cream of coconut

2 ounces pineapple juice

½ ounce lime juice

1⁄8 ounce grenadine

¼ cup blackberries

¼ cup vanilla ice cream


Peel half of the banana, cut the half in half, spear the quarter with a 4-inch bamboo skewer, and set aside for garnish. In a blender, combine the remaining ingredients and the rest of the banana with 1 ¼ cups of ice. Blend until smooth, then pour into a hurricane glass. Lay the speared banana garnish atop the cocktail and serve with a straw.

Note: For a nice layered effect, float a little extra dark rum atop the drink before you serve it.


Seacape Almond Slush

Seascape Almond Slush

The Seascape, a 14-room boutique motel on Singer Island, Florida, is owned by two remarkable hosts who inspired the Almond Slush. Thanks for the hospitality, Alicia and Hagan. This one’s for you!


¾ ounce light rum

¾ ounce spiced rum

½ ounce amaretto

1⁄8 ounce Cointreau

1½ ounces mango nectar

1½ ounces pineapple juice

1½ dashes Stirrings® or other blood orange bitters

½ Mandarin orange, peeled and segmented

1 edible orchid for garnish

1 mango spear for garnish


In a blender, combine the light rum, spiced rum, amaretto, Cointreau, mango nectar, pineapple juice, bitters, Mandarin orange, and 1 cup of ice. Blend on high until smooth. Pour into a chilled highball glass and garnish with the orchid and mango spear.

Note: You can also serve this drink on the rocks, as shown here, instead of blending it.


Reprinted with permission from Tiki With A Twist © 2016 by Lynn Calvo, Sterling Epicure, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. Photography by Karen Wise.


Tiki With A Twist Cover

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