Experience a Slice of the South Pacific - Tahitian-Inspired Drinks

The Healing Power of Tiki

Elnicki Wade

Take a seat at the bamboo bar, loosen up your tie and let a tiki guru demonstrate how to transform your boat or backyard. Meeting Mixologist Tom Brown at Herrington Harbor Marina would have been perfect. That's where he keeps his 26-foot 1979 Chrysler sloop, and we could have discussed tiki cocktails while sailing around the Bay. But busy guys like Tom aren't flush with free time, so we convened at Slipstream, the new D.C. location where he is sowing the seeds of tiki-infused libations.

Noticing sweat on my temples from the sweltering urban heat, Tom points to a drink on Slipstream's menu entitled "Tiki Coffee -- Booze, stuff that makes you happy with nitro draft coffee on ice." He pours iced coffee, pineapple juice and other magical elixirs into a metal shaker, mixes them vigorously and hands me the glass. "You can't really talk about tiki drinks if you don't have one in your hand." After my first sip, the thick humidity and congestion vanish behind an imaginary mirage of palm trees and gentle island winds.

He was right. everything felt better. Tom knows the healing power of tiki.

Raised in Maryland near the Chesapeake Bay, Tom is the mastermind of hip, tropical-themed pop-up restaurants in D.C. one was Hogo, a nuevo tiki rum bar that set a new standard for Polynesian funk. Another was new York Avenue Beach Bar, where he filled a parking lot with 70 tons of sand, food wagons and a cocktail bar to create an oasis of beachy fun near the convention center.

Why bring tiki to the pressed-shirt world of Washington? "People work so hard that they need to decompress and forget about a long day at the office. They meet friends at bars to unwind and escape the daily grind. Tiki is fanciful, with a sense of the exotic. I bring the beach to them, and they get a brief vacation from the mundane," says Tom.

Since the 1940s, when Don the Beachcomber and Trader Vic spread Polynesian Pop across the country, Tahitian cocktails have represented a release from everyday routines and helped Americans experience a small slice of the South Pacific. Today's tiki drinks are less sweet than the previous generation's, but they continue the tradition of serving cool beverages to dispel the heat.

It's hard to go wrong when you mix good rum with island ingredients such as pineapples, limes, coconuts, oranges -- even nutmeg and vanilla. "The flavors are refreshing and unexpected. At Hogo, we even garnished one rum drink with flaming pirate ships made of orange peels," says Tom. once it left the bartender's hand, everyone in the place wanted one.

Advice from our tiki connoisseur: Advance planning before boarding your boat is key. Choose your tiki cocktail recipes, mix them at home and pour them into a thermos, either with or without ice. Save time by cutting the garnishes ahead of time. Also, resist the temptation to use glass tiki mugs that could shatter on the boat or deck, and don't let your friends get behind the wheel of their boat or car after putting back too many mai tais or rum punches.

Tahitian-Inspired Drinks

Tiki cocktails are simple to make, easy to transport outdoors and are guaranteed to elevate guests to an island state of mind.

Tiki Coffee

  •  1 1⁄2 oz dark Rum
  •  5 dashes angostura bit- ters
  •  1 oz pineapple Juice
  •  3⁄4  oz almond Milk
  •  1 oz strong coffee chilled

Shake all the ingredient well with ice and serve in a Collins glass, topped with nutmeg

Bookless Mule

  • 1 oz dark Rum
  • 1 oz Light Rum
  • 1 oz Grapefruit Juice (use Aperol and St. Germain with lime juice in equal parts, to make your own grapefruit juice)3 oz Ginger Beer

Build all the ingredients in a Collins glass with ice.

Tom's House Cocktail

  • 2 oz Rye Whiskey
  • 4 oz pineapple

Shake vigorously; sip slowly. Top with Angostura bitters.

Death in the Afternoon

  • 1 oz absinthe
  • 1/2 oz Lemon Juice

Shake well and strain into a flute, then top with champagne.

Related Articles
Rum, Reggae & Spies!
The beach at Fleming Villa | Source GoldenEye

In my quest for the best Caribbean Rum, I’ve sampled a few. From Appleton to Ron Zacapa rum, my tastebuds have celebrated the luscious flavors borne from fermenting sugarcane into smooth amber elixirs.

In the pursuit of rum perfection, I’ve noticed that a well-designed label can give clues about what awaits inside the bottle. Many simply present the distiller’s name and location where a rum derives its unique flavors. But it’s hard to resist the image of a crusty old captain, pirate ship or sassy sea wench when pouring a hefty splash into a tumbler.

Curious rum aficionados like myself are always eager to hear the back story behind the libation in our hand. Like a slice of pineapple or lime wedged upon the rim of a glass, the history of a rum’s journey from the Caribbean to our lips can make a cocktail taste even sweeter.

I recently stumbled upon the extraordinary tale that intertwines Jamaican rum, world- class musicians and James Bond. To fully appreciate this unique saga, follow my lead and shake up a GoldenEye Cocktail (see recipe below) to sip while the story unfolds.


James Bond Dr No Poster Credit Flickr

Our story begins in 1939, when a London journalist named Ian Fleming joined the British Navy Intelligence Service. His unit specialized in military espionage and covert plans to thwart German aggression in Europe and the Caribbean.

During World War II, Fleming was engaged in Operation GoldenEye, and in 1942 he was sent to investigate suspicions about Nazi submarines in the Caribbean. During this deployment, he became enamored with Jamaica and vowed to live there some day.

When the war was over, Fleming returned to Jamaica and bought 15 acres of plush land that was once used as a donkey racetrack. In 1945, he built a house not far from the banana port town of Oracabessa Bay, and the seaside property became Fleming’s tropical sanctuary where he could focus on writing and the discrete task of taking previously tight-held secrets into a public, fictional genre.

He named the estate GoldenEye as a tribute to his Navy service and began working on a book that evolved around the dashing spy and Special Agent 007, James Bond. This protagonist would emerge as the amalgamation of agents he’d met during his maritime service. As an avid birdwatcher, Fleming took the name for his lead character from American ornithologist James Bond, an expert on Caribbean birds, who wrote the definitive field guide, Birds of the West Indies.

Fleming’s first spy novel, Casino Royale, was published in 1952. This book and all 13 in the James Bond series were written in his bedroom at GoldenEye. Three of them — Dr. No, Live and Let Die, and The Man with the Golden Gun — take place in Jamaica.


Chris Blackwell | Credit GoldenEye

Not only did the breezy island life at GoldenEye inspire Fleming’s novels, but so did his fetching neighbor, Blanche Blackwell. She was the muse who helped spark his creative drive. The Blackwell family had lived in Jamaica since 1625, exporting bananas and coconuts and crafting a distinctive brand of rum.

Blanche’s son Chris Blackwell grew up between England and Jamaica, and in his childhood spent a good amount of time with Fleming. In 1954, after Blackwell got booted from an elite British school for rebellious behavior, he came back to the island to get involved in the family rum business. Contrary to plan, he followed his instincts and made a career choice that would dramatically alter the global music scene.

For a while, he kicked around working as the aide-de-camp to the governor and as a waterskiing instructor. But after hearing the blind pianist Lance Heywood play at the Half Moon Resort, Blackwell recorded the musician, and in 1959 he launched a music studio called Island Records. In sync with his unconventional style, it became known for discovering and nurturing innovative performers who had been shrugged off or overlooked by bigger record labels.

Island Records introduced the world outside of the Caribbean to Bob Marley and the Wailers and Jamaican reggae music, showcasing island culture and universal struggles of indigenous people. It launched British bands such as Traffic, Bad Company, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Roxy Music, King Crimson and Fairport Convention. It also cultivated artists such as Cat Stevens, Brian Eno, Grace Jones, Marianne Faithfull, Tom Waits and the Irish band, U2.

Throughout his success in the music industry, Blackwell remained in contact with Fleming and his projects. When the first Bond movie, Dr. No, was filmed in Jamaica in 1962, Blackwell was hired as a location scout and consulted on the soundtrack. Sir Sean Connery, whom Blackwell had met during the filming of Dr. No, remained a friend until his passing in 2020. Using a family recipe, Blackwell launched his boutique rum in 2008 that is distributed around the globe.

Live and Let Die was filmed in 1973 on the Blackwell Estate, which now includes The Fleming Villa. Scenes from the movie were shot near GoldenEye, Blackwell’s luxury hotel in Jamaica. The latest Bond flick, No Time to Die, returns to the exquisite Jamaican backdrop of GoldenEye, and the production team was treated to a supply of Blackwell Rum for inspiration while filming.

TO CELEBRATE 60 YEARS OF JAMES BOND, a special bottle of Blackwell Rum has been released, along with a new memoir by Chris Blackwell, The Islander: My Life in Music and Beyond. If you’re cruising around Jamaica this winter, cue up some Bob Marley tunes, open a bottle of Blackwell’s 007 Rum, and shake it (don’t stir) with pineapple juice and ice to create the GoldenEye Cocktail. And if you’re nestled in at home in a colder climate and dreaming about the Caribbean, we suggest watching a Bond flick and warming up with the Toasted Toddy.

GoldenEye | Credit GoldenEye



-1 part Blackwell Rum

-1 part pineapple juice

-Lime or pineapple wedge


Shake together and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with lime or pineapple wedge

Toasty Toddy | Credit GoldenEye



-3 parts Blackwell Rum

-2 teaspoons brown sugar

-1 1⁄2 parts fresh lemon juice

-6 parts boiling water


Add all ingredients to a mug, except for the water. Pour in the boiling water, Stir well to blend

Read More
Holiday Cocktails for Any Time of Day

If you can’t decide which cocktails to make for your holiday party, or simply need a little cheer to get you through the mayhem of family, friends and festivities, Marinalife has got you covered! 

Check out our favorite seasonal cocktail recipes to help you reduce the stress and enjoy this holiday season all day long.


close up view of a red drink
Christmas Morning Punch | Credit Kozak-Salo, Getty Images

Christmas Morning Punch

A sweet treat to get your day started

4 oz. raspberry vodka
2 cups orange juice
2 cups cranberry juice
1 cup pineapple juice
1 cup ginger ale

Combine ingredients in a pitcher, stir and serve cold.


Christmas Margarita

A zesty fun drink for any festive occasion

red drinks and red cranberries surrounding the cup
Christmas Margarita | Credit Chernishev, Getty Images

2 oz. gold tequila
½ oz. orange liqueur
3 oz. cranberry juice
1 oz. pomegranate juice
½ oz. Key Lime juice
2 tsp. simple syrup

For a salted rim, fill a small plate with simple syrup and swirl your glass rim in it, then dip into a plate of margarita salt and fill your glass with ice. In a separate cocktail shaker, fill with light ice and the ingredients. Shake and strain into your glass and garnish with a lime or orange. 


blue drink in a small glass with lemons on the side
Jack Frost | Credit bhofack2, Getty Images

Jack Frost

A creamy delight to enjoy in your PJs when the kids go to bed

½ cup light rum
½ cup Blue Curaçao liqueur
½ cup cream of coconut
1 cup pineapple juice

For a coconut rim, fill a small plate with light corn syrup or simple syrup and swirl your glass rim in it, then dip into a plate of coconut flakes. Use a blender or fill a shaker with ice and ingredients and shake well for foamy results. Strain into glass and enjoy!

Read More
Nautical-Inspired Cocktails for Fall

As the leaves fall and turn to brown, our palette changes from strawberry and watermelon summer flavors to more autumnal pumpkin and apple-flavored treats. Spiced rum is a perfect spirit to enjoy this season, so we chose Captain Morgan as the main ingredient for two cocktail variations. Whether you wrap up in a cozy blanket or entertain friends on your boat, you can drink like a ship captain with the following fall recipes.

A red cocktail with seasonal fruit
Fall Cocktail | Source Veselova Elena from Getty Images

The Captain Cider


1.5 oz Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum
1.5 oz Cranberry juice
1.5 oz Hard apple cider


Fill a rocks glass with ice and combine all ingredients. Gently stir and garnish with a cranberry and apple slice.

Hot apple cider in a glass cup on a tree stump
Hot Apple Cider | Source Wendy Melgar from Getty Images

Hot Captain Cider


2 oz Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum
6 oz Fresh apple cider


Combine the rum and apple cider in a small pot and microwave or heat over a stove. Carefully pour drink into a mug and garnish with a cinnamon stick and apple slice.

Read More

Want to Stay In the Loop?

Stay up to date with the latest articles, news and all things boating with a FREE subscription to Marinalife Magazine!

Thanks for subscribing!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Marinalife articles