We can’t visit our favorite all-inclusive resorts right now, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy our favorite Caribbean cocktails!

Here are 10 of our favorite mixed drinks found on travels to the Caribbean and Hawaii, with easy recipes to recreate at home.

Each recipe yields approximately two servings, unless noted.

Chi Chi: a creamy blend of coconut, pineapple and vodka

Chi Chi Cocktail Drink
Original Chi chi cocktail with vodka and coconut juice by BonNontawat / Shutterstock

A friend returning from her honeymoon at Hilton Hawaiian Village raved about a pina colada made with vodka, which I promptly set out to recreate for a summer barbeque. She was right – the Chi Chi has all of the coconut-y goodness of a pina colada, but uses vodka instead of rum.

For a quick and easy Chi Chi, you could use a pre-made pina colada mix, swapping in vodka, but it’s easy to make this cocktail from scratch. Plus, if you’re a coconut lover, there is no substitute for cream of coconut in your island cocktails!

Here’s our favorite Chi Chi recipe:

3 oz. vodka (we like Kettle One)
4 oz. cream of coconut
4 oz. pineapple juice
2 cups ice

Blend ingredients until smooth. Garnish with a pineapple wedge for an Instagram-worthy cocktail.

Dirty Banana: blended bananas and rum with a hint of coffee

The dirty banana is a blend of bananas and rum with a hint of coffee.
The dirty banana is a blend of bananas and rum with a hint of coffee. Photo Credit: Sarah Brown

 

We were first in line each day at the beach bar at Sandals Negril to get our daily dose of creamy banana, rum and coffee, whipped up into a delicious frozen concoction.

The Dirty Banana calls for a rum-based coffee liquor, such as Tia Maria, and a rum cream, which can be a bit tricky to find, but the results are definitely worth it.

2 oz. rum-based coffee liquor (Tia Maria)
2 oz. rum cream (Sangsters or Cruzan)
4 oz. milk
1 oz. simple syrup
1 banana
2 cups ice

Combine all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Optional: Drizzle chocolate syrup into glass before pouring mixture.

Miami Vice: pina colada and strawberry daiquiri with a twist

The Miami Vice is a pina colada and strawberry daiquiri with a twist.
Miami Vice by Kirt Edblom

What do you get when you stack two frozen Caribbean favorites – the pina colada and the strawberry daiquiri? The beautiful and delicious Miami Vice, which we first sampled poolside at Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island.

For this cocktail, it’s fine to take a shortcut and use frozen mixers. We recommend topping with a rum float for an extra kick.

1 can frozen pina colada mix
1 can frozen strawberry daiquiri mix
5 oz. rum (we like Bacardi 151)

Follow the instructions for the pina colada mix and set aside. Next, make the strawberry daiquiri according to directions. Pour the pina colada in the bottom half of the glass and top with the daiquiri mixture, making sure not to combine.

Painkiller: cream of coconut, pineapple juice and rum on the rocks

Painkiller: cream of coconut, pineapple juice and rum on the rocks
Cocktails (cropped) by Justpowers

The Painkiller originated at The Soggy Dollar Bar on Jost Van Dyke and has become a popular cocktail throughout the Virgin Islands. The traditional painkiller is made with Pusser’s rum, but Mount Gay can be substituted if needed.

We like to use muddled orange instead of orange juice to cut back on some of the sweetness.

4-5 orange wedges
2 oz. cream of coconut
4 oz. pineapple juice
4 oz. dark rum (Pusser’s or Mount Gay)
Grated nutmeg
Ice

Muddle the orange wedges in the bottom of a cocktail shaker until they release some juice. Add all ingredients except nutmeg, and shake. Pour into a glass and garnish with grated nutmeg.

Bugaloe: a peach daiquiri topped with red sangria

The Bugaloe Bar and Grill in Aruba gets creative with their signature drink – a frozen peach daiquiri topped with a red Sangria float. We recommend using a peach daiquiri mix, such as Bacardi mixers or Daily’s, and bottled red Sangria.

Peach daiquiri mix
4 oz. rum (Bacardi 151)
4 T. peach schnapps
Red Sangria

Combine the peach daiquiri mix and rum according to directions, adding the peach schnapps to the blender as well. Top with a red sangria float (about the size of a shot glass).

Lava Flow: sweet strawberries topped with a boozy coconut blend

Lava Flow Cocktail
Lawa Flow Cocktail in a Hurricane Glass, garnished with strawberries, striped straw and pineapple wedge by Micaela Fiorellini / Shutterstock

Another Hawaiian favorite, the Lava Flow is a colorful blend of strawberries, pineapple, coconut and rum. The sweet strawberry blend runs up the side of the glass into the coconut mixture, creating the lava flow effect.

1 cup frozen strawberries in juice (defrosted)
1 15-oz. can cream of coconut
1 cup pineapple juice
4 oz. rum (Bacardi 151 or a coconut rum)
2 cups ice

Blend strawberries in a blender until smooth and pour into glasses. Rinse blender and add remaining ingredients, blending until smooth. Pour coconut mixture over the strawberries.

Mai Tai: a tiki classic made with rum and fruit juice

The Mai Tai is a tiki classic made with rum and fruit juice.
Mai Tai by Sam Howzit

Contrary to popular belief, the Mai Tai did not originate in Hawaii, but in Oakland, California at Trader Vic’s.  Recipes are varied, some calling for pineapple or passion fruit juice and others for orange curacao and extra sweet simple syrup.

We kept the recipe easy, with a delicious blend of coconut rum and pineapple juice.

3 oz. dark rum
2 oz. coconut rum
2 teaspoons grenadine syrup
1 cup pineapple juice
1/2 cup orange juice
Ice

Combine all ingredients in a shaker filled with ice and shake vigorously.

Rum Runner: a lot of rum, with a little orange juice

The rum runner is a popular rum drink found throughout the Caribbean.
Rum Punch by Jenni Konrad

Legend says the rum runner originated in Islamorada in the 50s, at Holiday Isle Tiki Bar, which was trying to use up a surplus of rum. Since actual rum rummers were rampant between Florida and the Bahamas during the prohibition, the name is very fitting. It’s a popular rum drink found throughout the Caribbean.

3 oz. pineapple juice
3 oz. orange juice
3 oz. blackberry brandy
3 oz. banana liqueur
3 oz. light rum
3 oz. dark rum
Splash of grenadine

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice.

Bahama Mama: plenty of rum with coconut and banana flavors

The Bahama Mama has plenty of rum, with coconut and banana flavors.
Bahama Mama by Martin Kalfatovic

A fruity rum favorite with no known origin, the Bahama Mama blends 2 to 3 different types of rum (depending on the recipe) with banana liqueur, and pineapple and orange juices. We like adding coconut rum for a tropical kick.

2 oz. dark rum
1 oz. coconut rum
1 oz. banana liqueur
1 oz. grenadine
2 oz. pineapple juice
2 oz. orange juice

Add ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice; blend vigorously.

Mojito: the classic mint, lime and white rum cocktail

I found quite possibly the best Mojito at a small, open-air bar on a back road in Key West. Here is an easy recipe that combines sugar with the muddled mint, instead of using simple syrup. Note: this recipe is for one serving.

10 mint leaves
1/2 lime, cut in half
1 T white sugar
1 ½ oz. white rum
1/2 cup club soda
Ice

Place mint leaves and one half of the lime in the bottle of a sturdy glass and muddle until the lime juices are released. Add sugar and remaining lime half and muddle again, until all juices are released.  Top with ice, rum, and soda, and stir.


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