While they are not everyone’s cup of tea, tropical drinks—often blended—are a staple at resorts around the world. And any bartender worth his salt should, at the very least, be familiar with them. These drinks are popular because they are sweet and, typically, frozen, but more importantly because they offer flavors idyllic in a tropical setting. Tourists consider these École du Bar de Montréal drinks exotic while on vacation, but even those who live in these tropical settings may occasionally partake in these concoctions because, put simply, they taste really good!
While traditionally served as a shaken cocktail, the daquiri is easily one of the most iconic tropical drinks in the world. Consisting simply of rum, lime juice, and sugar (and perhaps some triple sec and/or sweet and sour) this cocktail is easy to make and easy to drink. Of course, it is often blended; but these are often made with overly sweet, pre-packaged mixes. If you want your blended, make sure to ask the bartender to make it with fresh ingredients.
Similar in composition to the daquiri, the margarita also consists of lime juice and some kind of sweetener. However, the spirit of choice here is tequila. For the best margarita, order a higher quality tequiia and have the bartender use fresh sugar and lime juice (preferably muddled limes). For a smooth taste ask for a decent blanco (or silver) tequila and for something more complex consider aged tequila like reposado (6 months) or anejo (12 months).
Unmistakably fruity, the pina colada is among the most iconic tropical drinks on any menu. This blended concoction is made of rum, coconut milk, and pineapple juice. There are many ways to make this drink—for example, some recipes call for a float of dark rum at the top—but remember that fresh ingredients always make for a better beverage.
So named because of its irregular red streak, the Lava Flow tropical cocktail is basically a Pina Colada with base of Strawberry Daquiri mix (or, preferably, a fresh blend of strawberries) which is poured into the base of the drink and then blends upward into the drink when the pina colada is poured over the top of it.
Simply delicious, the Mai Tai basically consists of some combination of light and dark rum (typically equaling about two ounces) and some combination of orange and pineapple juice (sometimes one without the other). Typically, you pour a lesser amount of light rum at the bottom of a highball glass, add ice and juice and then a greater amount of dark rum as a float at the top.