While we can’t all hop on a jet plane and escape to an island this summer, we can definitely celebrate all that’s cool and kitsch about summer by throwing a classic tiki party. We’ve rounded up 15 fantastic ideas for food, cocktails, and decor to help you create a fun (and a little sexy) tiki party in a flash.
A great tiki party needs a signature tiki cocktail. Try these cocktail recipes courtesy of Kevin Beary—beverage director at award-winning Chicago tiki bar, Three Dots and a Dash—who notes, “Tiki culture is based on the idea of escapism. The elaborate cocktails with over-the-top garnishes and exotic decor are intended to transport you to your happy vacation place.”
Makes one cocktail
Navy Strength Gin, Passionfruit, Orgeat, Falernum, and Lemon
- 1 ½ oz. Navy Strength Gin
- 1 oz. Lemon Juice
- ¾ oz. Orgeat
- ½ oz. Falernum
- ½ oz. Passionfruit Purée
Combine all ingredients in a shaker filled with ice. Shake and pour into a tiki mug filled with crushed ice, and top with additional crushed ice. Garnish with half a passionfruit, edible orchid, and lemon peel.
Trader Vic’s Mai Tai
Makes one cocktail
Martinique Blanc Agricole, Aged Jamaican Rum, Dry Curaçao, Orgeat, Lime, and an Overproof Rum Float
- 1 oz. Aged Jamaican Rum
- 1 oz. 100 Proof Blanc Rhum Agricole
- ½ oz. Dry Curaçao
- 1 oz. Lime Juice
- 1 oz. Orgeat
Combine all ingredients in a shaker filled with ice. Shake and pour into a tiki mug filled with crushed ice, and top with additional crushed ice. Garnish with mint, a cocktail umbrella, and a swizzle stick.
Of course, you can’t forget the food: A strong drink needs a hearty meal to go along with it.
The Big Kahuna Burger, courtesy of Three Dots and a Dash
- 2 3-oz. beef patties
- 1 Tbsp. finely chopped sweet onions
- 1 Tbsp. finely chopped jalapeño peppers
- 2 tsp. sweet soy sauce
- 1 pineapple ring, core removed, 1/3-inch thick
- 2 oz. shaved ham
- ½c up Cabbage-Jalapeño Slaw
- 1 Tbsp. Poke Dressing
- 1-2 Tbsp. Tobanjan Mayonnaise
- 1 Hawaiian bun
, toss together 1 cup finely shredded green cabbage, ¼ finely sliced red onion, 1 thinly sliced jalapeño, and ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves.
, combine ¼ cup soy sauce, ¼ cup rice vinegar, ¼ cup canola oil, 2 Tbsp. minced onion, 2 Tbsp. water, 1 Tbsp. sugar, 1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil, 1 tsp. wasabi powder, and salt and pepper to taste.
, mix together ½ cup full-fat mayonnaise, 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar, 1 Tbsp. Tobanjan (a seasoned chile paste), 1 Tbsp. soy sauce, 1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil, 1 Tbsp. sugar, 1 Tbsp. water, and 1 tsp. Crystal hot sauce.
Preheat a griddle or large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Top each burger patty with equal amounts of chopped onion and jalapeño.
Place the patties onto the griddle, onion side up, and smash with a spatula. Cook the burgers until they form a crispy crust, about 10 minutes. Flip and repeat. Top the burgers with 1 tsp. of sweet soy sauce each.
Griddle the pineapple ring and shaved ham until heated through and slightly golden, about 2-3 minutes. Toss the Cabbage Slaw with Poke Dressing until evenly coated. Spread Tobanjan mayo on the top and bottom of the bun.
To build the burger, place one patty on the bottom bun. Add the pineapple ring, another patty, and ham. Finish with the Slaw.
Another great option for party food is a variety of delicious skewers, like these Hawaiian chicken kebabs and rainbow fruits on a stick. Since they’re both pleasing to the eye and highly portable, they’re perfect to nibble on while you’re waiting in line for the limbo.
These chic and colorful Libbey Tiki Bamboo Tumblers (Set of 6) are perfect for serving up Mai Tais and Blue Hawaiians.
If you want to let the beauty of your drinks truly shine, these crystal clear Libbey Tiki God Tumblers (Set of 4) are an easy way to add an elegant touch to your tiki theme.
For some seriously cute kitsch, go the thematic distance with this Totems Tiki Ice Cube Tray. Imagine the smiles on your guests’ faces when they spot tiki masks floating in their drinks!
These adorable pineapple straws are a super simple way to brighten up your bar cart and add tiki flair to your drink presentation.
Keep the tiki theme pretty with these lovely “Aloha” paper plates.
This summery Cream Floral Table Runner by Threshold will add a vibrant and sophisticated flair to your tiki party decor.
Have fun lighting up your tiki tablescape with a rainbow of tall assorted candles.
Transport your guests to a lush island getaway with some smartly placed floral garlands hung over archways and banisters, and around windows.
This gorgeous Justina Blakeney Bette Planter would be a great addition to any garden tiki party… but it’s also a piece you can keep long after the last tiki torch has been extinguished.
A tiki party just wouldn’t be complete without some leis. These Mahalo Floral Leis (package of 12) are a classic touch, and a nice way to welcome your guests for a night of island-style fun.
Give your party lights a unique spin by using thematic metal tiki torches.
Set the perfect tiki vibe with a great party playlist, such as the Ultimate Tiki Lounge Playlist on Spotify.