Tiki Time: Zac Overman's Angostura Colada

Break out the lawn torches and rattan, and don a Hawaiian-print shirt: here's an original tiki drink recipe from bartender Zac Overman. You can ask Zac to make you one on Thursdays at Fort Defiance during Sunken Harbor Club, a weekly tiki night. American restaurateurs created this Polynesian-inspired class of cocktails––defined by rum and tropical juices, flowers and cocktail umbrellas––in the 1930s. While many of us have enjoyed an over-sweetened boat of (flaming) booze in a "Chinese" restaurant at some point, bartenders like Zac are reviving and reinventing the genre, and making some really good drinks. 

Photo: Vicky Wasik

Photo: Vicky Wasik

While playing around with different spice notes in 8- or 10-ingredient tropical drinks, I decided to simplify things and make bitters the star in a Piña Colada-esque cocktail. Angostura bitters have all the complexity and warm spice of a great tiki drink on their own! They needed a little rum to round them out––I'm using Smith and Cross, but any good aged Jamaican rum will do (think Appleton or Myers). After that, it's simply a matter of a little freshly squeezed pineapple and lime juice and cream of coconut. The result is a silky smooth, juicy, bittersweet drink that tastes like way more work than it is. 


  • 1 1/2 oz Angostura Bitters
  • 1 1/2 oz Coco Lopez (or Goya) Cream of Coconut
  • 2 oz fresh Pineapple Juice
  • 1 oz fresh Lime Juice
  • 1/2 oz Smith & Cross Navy Strength Jamaican Rum

1. Combine all ingredients with ice in a cocktail shaker.

2. Shake hard for 10 seconds and pour without straining into a snifter or tall glass––not a tiki mug––you'll want people to see the shocking red color. If needed, fill the rest of the glass with more ice.

3. Take a whole nutmeg and grate a little on top. Garnish with a pineapple chunk, a cocktail cherry, an umbrella, whatever you feel like jamming into it. It is a tiki drink, after all. 


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The Traveling Daiquiri

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The Traveling Daiquiri

Forget about strawberries and blenders, a true daiquiri is a simple cocktail: rum, sugar and lime. The mildly grassy sugarcane notes of a decent rum and the sharp fragrance of fresh lime taste plenty tropical without the addition of slushy fruit. The daiquiri is the signature drink of Ernest Hemingway and John Mariani (I made one for the latter at Cook & Brown). And as I discovered on a recent vacation you can make a great one with an improvised shaker, dissolved sugar packets (intended for coffee), convenience store rum and lime pilfered from a tree outside your hotel window. When you're not relaxing on an Island, let a daiquiri transport you there. There's no excuse not to make one–wherever you are.

Basic Daiquiri

  • 2 oz golden rum
  • 1/2 oz fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 oz simple syrup or 1/3 oz rich demerara syrup

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker, fill it to the brim with ice, seal, and shake hard until nearly too cold to touch. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with lime, if you like.

Golden Lasso

What shall I serve for the Wonder Women’s art opening? A seventies cocktail named the Wonder Woman calls for neon green Midori and layered tropical juices: not my kind of drink. This heroine deserves better.

I present the Golden Lasso. The rum, like Wonder Woman herself, is from an Island and crafted by a woman. The color and the powers of the drink--of any drink--are like her lasso, golden and truth-inducing. Finally, it too has Aphrodite’s blessing (this time in the form of cocktail bitters). It’s sexy and enticing, but could knock you out if you’re not careful.


Golden Lasso Recipe

1 ½ oz Appleton Rum

1oz tangerine juice

½ oz lime juice½ oz creole shrubb

drop of orange flower water

1 barspoon honey

4 dashes Aphrodite bitters

Measure the ingredients, and stir to disolve honey. Shake. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. If you like, garnish with a twist.