Mai Tai, Oh My! Taste Your Way into Tiki Culture

Some of my favorite summer memories growing up are going to luaus and enjoying those delicious tropical drinks, wearing colorful leis around my neck, grass skirts, the fun tiki decor, and of course, the tropical music. These memories, and the fact that summer has arrived in New England, got me thinking about why tiki culture is so popular and where and when did it come from? After a bit of research, this is what I found.


Tiki culture is a blend of Hawaiian and Polynesian cultures. Each culture's different style of drinks, food, and decor was adapted into this one particular culture, which arose shortly after World War II. After the war, many wanted to celebrate and forget about the hell they endured during wartime. The beautiful decor, lively colors, and delicious fruity tropical drinks lifted the spirits of many, and to this day, tiki culture is seen not only in the states but all over the world.


What a lot of people don’t realize is that tiki culture is not just Hawaiian and Polynesian-inspired drinks and decor, it is also a lifestyle. Many people who live this lifestyle are people who enjoy the island way of living without actually living on one. What is the island way of living? It’s simply taking a break from our busy lives, making a fruity island drink, and relaxing in the comfort of our own home, backyard, or if you’re lucky enough to live on the coast, a beach.


Tiki drinks in particular will lift the spirits of anyone needing a vacation but not having the luxury or the money to go on a beautiful tropical getaway. So why not bring this beautiful, lively, and relaxing culture to your next summer party or home. I am going to share with you one of my all-time favorite tiki cocktail recipes that will transport you to the very tropical getaway you dream of going to. But a tiki cocktail is not complete with the appropriate drinkware. Spice up your drinks with a Tiki Mugs Drink-ware Package 4 - Set of 4 by Bar, perfect for a luau party. Or if you want more formal drinkware, try these Tiki 8 oz. Glass Coupes or Tiki Bamboo Hi-Ball Glasses, 16-Ounce, Set Of 4 by And lastly, let’s not forget Hawaii is an island of coconuts, so put your tiki drink in these Barconic Real Coconut Cup - Lacquered by 


Now, let’s break in these tiki drink wear with one of my favorite tiki cocktails, the Mai Tai. This recipe, which is created by, is a mixture of light and dark rum, along with almond syrup, fresh lime juice, and orange curaçao. Try this recipe out at your next tiki party and don’t forget to serve it in one of those fun tiki cups.





Mai Tai

Prep Time5 mins


  • 1 1/2 ounces white rum
  • 3/4 ounce orange curaçao
  • 3/4 ounce lime juice freshly squeezed
  • 1/2 ounce orgeat
  • 1/2 ounce dark rum
  • Garnish: lime wheel
  • Garnish: mint sprig


  • Add the white rum, curaçao, lime juice and orgeat into a shaker with crushed ice and shake lightly (about 3 seconds).
  • Pour into a double rocks glass.
  • Float the dark rum over the top.
  • Garnish with a lime wheel and mint sprig.


Orgeat is a non-alcoholic almond syrup used in place of simple syrup. The drink is best when using orgeat but if you don't have it, you can substitute it with simple syrup.

Did you make this recipe?


Tag @cookingbeautifullee on Instagram and hashtag it #cookedbeautifullee.



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Camila Pesantez

Camila Pesantez

Photographer/ Content Creator

Camila Pesantez is the owner of @camipphotography. She is a wedding, portrait, and fashion photographer based in New England. She loves capturing authentic, candid, fun, and spontaneous moments. In her spare time, Camila enjoys singing and serving at her local church, cooking, and spending time with friends.

What sparked your passion for the industry?
The creativity behind it. It’s what I use to express my creativity and feel free to express myself through it. The photography world is so diverse and the possibilities are endless.

Cake or Pie? Why?
Pie because it has a lot of texture and moisture and reminds me of a nice cozy fall day at home.

Favorite dish to cook at home?
Vegan meat pasta. I have my own recipe, and I make it at least twice a month

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