Tiki Bar Supply Checklist

Everything you need to stock your tiki bar.

Whether you're setting up a poolside tiki bar for summer luaus or a basement bar for year-round use, you'll want to make sure that your tiki bar has all the right supplies.

EQUIPMENT

Make sure you have the right hardware before you get started with the mixing. Once you put so much effort into making the perfect tropical drink, you won't want to serve it in just any cup.

Ice bucket/tongs: The best tropical drinks are served frozen. Make sure you have enough ice!

Blender: A tropical drink on ice is cool and refreshing, but a tropical drink blended with crushed ice is more fun.

Tiki mugs: Mugs with whimsical faces and tropical scenes.

Hurricane glasses: Tall, clear glasses with a unique, curvy hurricane shape. Paper umbrellas not included.

Tall glasses: If you don't have anything else, a tall clear glass will show off the bright colors of your fruity concoctions.

GARNISHES

The most important part of a tiki bar is a full array of garnishes for your exotic tropical drinks. A good tropical drink has an umbrella at the very least, but the pros can built a parrot-shaped sculpture out of a toothpick and some fruit. It may take some practice to garnish a drink like a professional bartender, but here are the basic building blocks:

Paper umbrellas: a classic!

Paper lanterns: similar to a paper umbrella, the paper lantern is attached to a stirrer and hangs over the side of the glass.

Swizzle sticks: for stirring. The more elaborate the decoration on top, the better.

Fruit: pineapples and maraschino cherries are a must. Lemon wedges, lime wedges, and orange wedges are versatile and easy to work with. Strawberries, kiwi, and star fruit are a bit more exotic.

Straws: Tropical drinks should be enjoyed slowly, so you'll need some straws to prevent brain freeze.

MIXERS

Tropical drinks don't have to have alcohol, but they do need the right mixers. Fruit juices give tropical drinks their island flavor, while sodas add the sparkle. Pre-made mixes can make the bartender's job a lot easier. Here's what you need:

Orange juice: a common refrigerator staple.

Pineapple juice: a sweet complement to tart juices.

Coconut milk: for smoother, creamier drinks.

Tonic water: adds fizz without affecting flavor. Substitute ginger ale or lemon-lime soda for added sweetness and flavor.

Cola: adds fizz and flavor, plus a caffeinated kick.

Lime juice: a sour punch to combat all that sweetness.

Pre-made mixes: Just add ice! Blend a pre-made daiquiri, mai tai, margarita, or sour mix with ice for a perfect frozen drink.

ALCOHOL

Let's face it: if you're setting up a tiki bar, you're probably going to want some booze. Rum is the alcohol of choice in most tropical drinks, but more choices couldn't hurt.

Light rum: light flavor and almost no color. The best rum for mixing fruitier drinks like Daiquiris, Coladas, and Long Island Iced Tea.

Dark Rum: heavier and sweeter flavor, with a dark color. Best for strong drinks like the New Orleans Hurricane, Mai Tai, and Zombie.

Spiced Rum: a dark rum with hints of cinnamon and other spices, like vanilla or cloves. Very exotic!

Banana Rum: rum with a hint of banana flavoring. Great for banana daiquiris and banana rum punch.

Tequila: you can't have a margarita with the tequila.

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