Cocktail Hour: Tiki Meets Disco

Tiki Wallbanger and Lei Lani Nouveau - Cocktail Hour - Tiki Meets Disco

Theme Background

For my last Cocktail Hour, I celebrated the golden era of tiki. But that didn’t last forever. By the end of the 1960s, tiki was relegated to the strip malls. With the rise in popularity of disco in the 1970s, tiki was all but squashed.

While tiki and disco likely never co-existed in the United States, I decided to imagine what it might be like if it did. I first saw this idea presented by Lost Lake’s Texas Tiki Disco takeover by Anvil Bar and Refuge. Check it out to see some truly amazing decor and drink ideas. I made my own spin on the theme, with brightly colored drinks from the time period and way too many disco balls.

The Menu

The hard thing about finding tiki drink recipes from the 1970s and beyond is that this is a time period that tiki notoriously became…bad. If you talk to somehow that says they don’t like tiki drinks, it’s probably someone who has had one of the overly sweet, syrupy concoctions that became popular during that time. Bartenders opted for quick, canned or bottled syrups and gave up on using the fresh ingredients that made the drinks work in the first place.

So when picking these recipes, I tried, as always, to balance the flavors, but also to find some fun standouts from a time that was frankly unremarkable. One thing I noticed is that pineapple juice and coconut cream seemed to be very popular ingredients to include in drinks during this time period. So if you hate either of those, good luck.

I had already made a lot of the best drinks from this time period for other tiki parties. So, for some topnotch 1970s tiki recipes, consider trying: Jungle Bird, Painkiller, or Tradewinds.

The Recipes

Singapore Sling

Adapted from Smuggler’s Cove by Martin Cate

The original Singapore Sling cocktail was created sometime between 1910 & 1915 by Ngiam Tong Boon at the Raffles Hotel in Singapore. The recipe got a resurgence in the 1970s, with a new version that contained grenadine and pineapple. This version is adapted from Smuggler’s Cove and uses lime instead of lemon juice and dry curacao instead of orange bitters.


Ingredients

1 1/2 oz gin
1/2 oz Cherry Heering
1/4 oz Benedictine
1/4 oz Dry Curacao
1 oz lime juice
1 dash Angostura bitters
2 oz seltzer
Optional: A splash of grenadine if you want a sweeter drink with more color

Garnish recommendation: Pineapple and cherry


Directions

Add the seltzer to the bottom of a tall glass. Add the remaining ingredients to a cocktail shaker with cracked ice and shake for at least 30 seconds. Strain into a tall glass and add cracked ice to the glass. Garnish as desired.

Tiki Wallbanger

Adapted from Supercall

The Harvey Wallbanger was the drink of the 1970s, thanks to a brand campaign from Galliano and the rise of the fern-bar era. I don’t think anyone should have to buy a bottle of Galliano, so I made a tiki-fied version using some popular ingredients found in other tiki drinks to substitute for the vanilla liqueur.


Ingredients

1 1/2 oz blended aged rum (Mount Gay Black Barrel, Appleton Estate Signature Blend, or El Dorado 5 Year)
1/4 oz allspice dram
1/2 oz vanilla syrup (make a 2:1 simple syrup and add scraped vanilla bean seeds and pods to syrup; rest for 12 hours and strain)
3 oz orange juice
1 dash Herbsaint
1 dash Angostura bitters

Garnish recommendation: Orange slice


Directions

Add ingredients expect the orange juice to a cocktail shaker with cracked ice and shake for at least 30 seconds. Strain into a tall glass. Top with orange juice and fill the glass with ice. Garnish as desired.

Blue Hawaii

Ingredients

2 oz pineapple juice
3/4 oz lemon juice
3/4 oz blue curacao
1/2 oz coconut cream (1 part simple syrup : 1 part coconut milk, blended)
1 1/2 oz vodka

Garnish recommendation: Pineapple and cherry


Directions

Add all the ingredients to a drink mixer tin. Fill with ice. Flash blend and open pour into a tall glass. Garnish as desired.

Alternatively, add ingredients to a cocktail shaker with crushed ice and shake for at least 30 seconds. Open pour into a tall glass. Garnish as desired.

Lei Lani Nouveau

Ingredients

1 1/2 oz pineapple juice
3/4 oz lime juice
1 oz coconut cream (1 part simple syrup : 1 part coconut milk, blended)
1 1/2 oz blended aged rum (Mount Gay Black Barrel, Appleton Estate Signature Blend, or El Dorado 5 Year)
3 oz guava soda

Garnish recommendation: Lime slice


Directions

Add ingredients expect the soda to a cocktail shaker with cracked ice and shake for at least 30 seconds. Strain into a tall glass. Top with guava soda and add cracked ice to the glass. Garnish as desired.

Tiki Wallbanger and Lei Lani Nouveau - Cocktail Hour - Tiki Meets Disco

Setting the Scene

I fully embraced the shiny side of things for this party. Here are some links to all things shiny and tiki:

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