How To Have a Healthy Tiki Party
First thing's first, tiki is all about the cocktails. Because rum is typically made from molasses, it's naturally gluten-free, so even your GF buddies can enjoy the classic tiki spirit. But not if it's in a fruity drink pumped with added sugar or awful pre-made cocktail mix (which can often have hidden gluten). So we've upgraded the most popular tiki drink, the Mai Tai. If you're going for a 100% gluten-free version, keep in mind that some bitters and liqueurs may be distilled from wheat, so find a safer version, like Hiram Walker, or try orange juice!
1. Low Sugar Mai Tai Recipe
Typical Mai Tai's are made with simple sugar, but this version can be made with whatever alternative liquid sweetener you prefer. We like to keep it natural with agave nectar or raw honey. This tasty treat will have your tongue tai'd.
2 oz. aged rum
3/4 oz. freshly-squeezed lime juice
1/2 oz. orange curacao
1/4 oz. agave nectar or raw honey
1/4 oz. orgeat
1 cup crushed ice
1 sprig fresh mint (for garnish)
1 lime wedge (for garnish)
Shake all ingredients, except mint and lime wedge, in a cocktail shaker, and pour in your favorite tiki mug. If there's a tiki bar where you live, chances are they'll have a pretty eclectic selection. Our local SoCal go-to is Tiki-Ti. They've been around since the 60's, so you know they're doing something right!
And no tiki party is complete without a heaping Hawaiian style feast. Let's lighten up an appetizer and a main course:
2. Shrimp "Toast" Recipe with Cauliflower Crust
On our Pinterest page, we've shared a killer shrimp toast recipe from globally renowned Chef Michael White, but there's a twist. Substitute CAULIPOWER plain cauliflower crust for the slices of white bread to get all the added superfood nutrition and flavor.
3. Hawaiian-Style Pulled Jackfruit Recipes
If you're not into roasting an entire pig, try the versatile jackfruit as a veggie substitute in your pork dishes. Grill it on skewers with pineapple, onion, and bell pepper (subbing for chicken), make a stir fry, or top a pulled jackfruit sandwich with a pineapple round.
4. Tiki Party Decor
The first tiki bars in So Cal were somewhat of a caricature of Polynesian culture, providing a tropical paradise with just the right amount of chintz (and appropriation). In 2018, we know better, and there's a way to create a visual escape without tacky streamers (or offending anyone).
Here are a couple of super simple craft ideas to give your party a more elevated and natural tiki feel:
At your local Asian market, you can find fresh banana leaves, which, when cut to the height of a candle-holder, cup, or other cylindrical vessel then attached with double-sided tape, will make an elegant table topper or even a set of water glasses. Drop in some brightly-colored orchids and use bamboo place mats underneath – a full tablescape that's easy, tasteful, and stunning!
Now you have the building blocks of a tiki party that will be true paradise – tasty, fun, and just a little bit healthier.