Exotic tropical drinks are a fun and festive way to add to any celebration. Whether you are hosting a luau or just looking for a way to cool off, tropical drinks can be the key to a relaxing island atmosphere. These drinks are often alcoholic, but any can be modified to remove the alcohol and leave a delicious, fruity cooler.
The margarita hails from Mexico, and is popular in restaurants. The drink is a combination of tequila, ice and fruit juice. Margaritas are either served straight over ice, or blended with ice for a frosty treat. Traditionally, these drinks are made with a lime-based juice, which can be made fresh or purchased in stores as “margarita mix.” Any fruit juice or fresh fruit can be used, based on what you prefer or have on hand. Coconut, pineapple, and strawberry are popular flavors for this south-of-the-border tropical drink.
A Cuban beverage gaining in popularity is the Mojito, a super-cooling elixir. To make a traditional Mojito, combine lime juice, white sugar and fresh mint leaves. The mixture should be mashed together to extract the flavor from the mint. Add one shot of light rum per drink and fill glasses with seltzer or sparkling water. A “Dirty Mojito” is an alternate beverage, made with dark rum and brown sugar.
Hawaii is the home of many popular tropical drinks, perfect to serve up to accompany a luau or tropical meal. For a Lava Flow, blend ½ cup of strawberries with two ounces of light or coconut rum until smooth. Pour this mixture into a tall serving glass, and then quickly rinse out the blender. Puree a banana with coconut cream and pineapple juice. Slowly pour the banana mixture into the serving glass, and watch the pretty strawberry “lava” streaks filter through the glass.
For a less creamy Hawaiian tropical drink, try a colorful Blue Hawaii. Invented in 1957 as a tropical drink to feature a new liqueur, this beverage may be the brightest of any tropical drinks. To make one, combine vodka and Blue Curacao with one cup (8 ounces) of pineapple juice. Traditionally the mixture is served over ice, but you can also blend it with a scoop of ice for a margarita-like texture. Turn on some Elvis, serve and enjoy.
Garnishing your tropical drinks is one of the most important steps of preparation. To make a salt or sugar rim, fill a shallow bowl with water and another with salt or sugar. Flip a glass upside-down and dip the edge first in the water, then in the coating. Another popular way to garnish tropical drinks is by impaling a pineapple wedge or whole strawberry on the rim of the glass. For non-fruit garnished tropical drinks, never underestimate the charm of a paper umbrella or decorative swizzle stick.
Tropical drinks are usually served in pretty cocktail glasses. Traditionally, a margarita is served in a wide-brimmed margarita glass, a Mojito or an on-the-rocks Blue Hawaii in a tall straight glass, and a lava flow in a curvy hurricane. However, a large wine glass is an acceptable substitute for any of these. As garnished or as simple as you prefer, any of these drinks is sure to bring a little tropical breeze to your day.