Whether you’re a bartending beginner or a master mixologist, creating your own tropical oasis is easy with these simple tips & tricks to build a basic Home Tiki Bar! (Hawaiian shirt & talking parrot optional).
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Take a look at any book of tiki recipes, and you might be a bit overwhelmed. Recipes include all sorts of things: multiple types of rums and other hard liquors; tropical fruit juices; syrups with unfamiliar names; piles upon piles of garnishes; maybe some fire (??) – It’s understandably hard to know where to begin.
Don’t worry friends, I’m here to help. Below you’ll find a guide to setting up a basic Home Tiki Bar, as well as a number of add-ons, advanced ingredients, and specialty items you can slowly acquire as you become more and more obsessed with the #TikiLife.
Be warned, start here and you’ve set yourself on a path that only leads to a closet full of tropical prints, pineapple themed décor, and a collection of tiki mugs as far as the eye can see. Still with me?
Building Your Own Home Tiki Bar
Building up any home bar from scratch can be a bit intimidating. Everyone has a list of “essentials”, but what one person needs in their bar can differ vastly from someone else. It all really depends on what kind of drinks you like and your rate of consumption. For instance, despite its presence in a lot of classic cocktails, I rarely have vermouth on hand. I honestly just don’t use it very often, and since it has a shelf life (unlike the hard liquors), any bottle I buy usually goes to vinegar before I think to use it again.
Many of the items you need to build a Home Tiki Bar are the same as those used in a lot of classic cocktails, but not all. In an effort to dispel some of the mystery, I’ve broken things down into a few different categories. My hope is that this will help you build a Home Tiki Bar from scratch, or simply supplement the home bar you already have.
Due to the wealth of variety , I realized it was a little too much for one post. For ease of reading, I’ve divided the list into three parts:
- Part 1: Caribbean Rum & Other Liquors
- Part 2: Tropical Mixers, Special Syrups, & Essential Bitters
- Part 3: Fresh Garnishes, Tropical Touches, & Plenty of Tiki Mugs
Each subsection is divided into two levels: The Basics & Stepping It Up. If you just get some of the basic options from each category, you are well on your way to a solid Home Tiki Bar at a relatively reasonable cost. But, if you are feeling adventurous or want to expand your repertoire, the second section provides additional products, higher-end options, and extravagant add-ons to step up your Tiki game.
As each part is complete, I will update this source post with the new section, so that you can always come back here for all of your Home Tiki Bar needs.
But What About the Recipes?
Your Home Tiki Bar wouldn’t be complete without at least one relevant cocktail manual. A lot of classic drink manuals contain some of the basic recipes – Mai Tai, Hurricane, Jungle Bird, maybe even a version of the famously complicated Zombie – and those aren’t a bad place to start.
For a true education in the history of Tiki Culture and an exhaustive encyclopedia of Tiki recipes throughout the decades, there is one seminal book you need – The Smuggler’s Cove: Exotic Cocktails, Rum, and the Cult of Tiki. I cannot sing the praises of this book enough.