6 Tiki Cocktails You Can Get Tipsy On Right Now

2-Tavernita_photo by Tanner Young
Here’s the deal: We know Paul McGee’s new tiki bar below Bub City will be worth the wait (eight months and counting), and the Whistler (McGee’s old haunt) just tweeted that its tiki nights start up again August 28. But with a holiday weekend on the horizon, we want to put something icy, beachy, and rummy into your hands right now. Luckily, McGee and his alma mater are not the only ones playing it Polynesian this summer. Hit up these six spots stat:


A mug filled to the brim with crushed ice keeps Drumbar’s new Polynesian drink — simply called the Tiki — wintry cold in your hands — a nice feeling when you’re on a sunny rooftop 18 stories up. Mixologist Craig Schoettler riffs on traditional-tiki recipes, using Atlantico Private Cask Rum, lime juice, raspberry syrup, and cinnamon to create the perfect balance of sweet and tart. $14.

Drumbar, 201 East Delaware Place (at Mies van der Rohe Way); 312-924-2531.


Jake Melnick’s Corner Tap
Trust this River North bar — home to ghost-pepper wings so fiery diners must sign a waiver before ordering — to serve a kegged-tiki cocktail made with 15 types of rum. We had to make sure this wasn’t a typo on the menu, particularly because the drink (the Hawian Fists, also not a typo) packs brandy, rye whiskey, and dry gin to boot. But, really, how can you not go try it? If you make it out alive, let us know in the comments below. $10.

Jake Melnick’s Corner Tap, 41 East Superior Street (at Wabash Street); 312-266-0400.

Sable Kitchen & Bar

Be it a Manhattan, Martinez, or Sazerac, the bartenders at Sable somehow improve on classic cocktails without straying from tried-and-true formulas. It’s the same story with the Mai Tai, where the blend of aged rum, Orgeat, orange curacao, and lime is so nuanced, you’ll never trust a restaurant with cheap, flaming torches again. $13.

Sable Kitchen & Bar, 505 North State Street (at Illinois Street); 312-755-9704.


Say aloha to the Wicked Wahine, a mix of housemade candied-ginger vodka, star anise, pineapple, passion-fruit juices, and black pepper. Just remember that aloha also means good-bye in Hawaiian — a word you’ll need once you down this spicy-sweet drink in record time. $10.

Sola Restaurant, 3868 North Lincoln Avenue (at Byron Street); 773-327-3868.



Bacardi 8 — a rich, 8-year-aged rum — adds depth to the beachy blend of coconut, pineapple, almond, and lime in the Irie Big Nose. But, here, Tavernita proves it's the small touches that set a drink apart — in this case, the flaming clove that adds just the right hint of sultry spice. $12.

Tavernita, 151 West Erie Street (at LaSalle Street); 312-274-1111.

Siena Tavern

Though rum's the word in most tiki cocktails, cognac is actually a classic-tiki ingredient, says mixologist Revae Schneider. She created the No. 12 at Siena Tavern with Hennessy, Benedictine, lime, pineapple, and orange-blossom hibiscus poured into a Collins glass and garnished with a mint crown. $12.

Siena Tavern, 51 West Kinzie Street (at Dearborn); 312-595-1322.

Photo: Courtesy of Tanner Young

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