Here’s a fantastic cocktail just in time for spring. The Tradewinds is an easy, historic tiki recipe from the 1970’s—a time when the Polynesian craze was waning, along with good cocktail sensibilities. The following decades are now remembered as a downturn in quality and interest, but this is worth the effort. Like many good tiki drinks, it enjoys some trademark elements such as multiple rums to build complexity. It also has exotic flavors thanks to the coconut and apricot that work together so nicely. And yet, unlike more challenging alternatives in this genre, the Tradewinds is easy to make. It is also flexible and forgiving, depending on what you have in your inventory.
The biggest challenge here is the coconut cream. This is basically a coconut flavored syrup. The go-to product is Coco López, a delicious, canned product from Puerto Rico. However, we find that it easy to make a homemade version that tastes just as good, and you know exactly what goes into it. Whether you buy coconut cream or make it yourself, there are other cocktails that use it too.
In spite of the full ounce of coconut cream, this is not the primary flavor here. In fact the coconut is somewhat subtle. You also have apricot liqueur. We find apricot to be an uncommon ingredient, but one we wish was used more often in recipes. It is unusual enough to surprise us every time we taste it. In this cocktail it pairs with the coconut to build an unusual flavor profile, and before you think this is going to be too sweet, consider the heavy dose of lemon juice which is just enough to balance it out.
1 oz dark Jamaican rum
1 oz light rum
1 oz apricot liqueur
1 oz coconut cream
1.33 oz lemon juice
Shake with crushed ice and pour unstrained into a tumbler or your favorite Tiki glass. Add more crushed ice to fill the glass. Garnish with a windblown cocktail umbrella (or whatever you want).
The recipe calls for Jamaican rum, but you can actually assemble your own favorite combination. We have seen others recommend something gold and something dark, but it is really up to you. That’s it for ingredients, so pick what you like. The recipe is very forgiving and gives you an opportunity to make it your own.
Assembly is flexible too. We chose to shake with lots of crushed ice and pour the works into a glass tiki mug, but you could also build this over the ice in a collins glass. It lends itself to the swizzle technique. Just make sure you give it plenty of stirring to provide some dilution, deep chill and aeration.