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Fruity cocktails served in thatched huts on remote, sandy beaches are the stuff summer dreams are made of. But you don't have to plan a getaway to a tropical destination to live the island life (and drink the island drinks). With a little effort—and a lot of rum—you can create a home tiki bar that will keep the vacation vibes going even if you never leave the backyard.

Step #1: Set the Mood

A few decorations and the right music go a long way in creating a classic tiki experience. Try using shaded lamps and tiki torches to create the perfect dimly lit atmosphere. Recreate ocean sounds with a small water feature. Pick up some rattan chairs for guests to lounge in. And it goes without saying, tiki mugs are a must when it comes to serving drinks.

Step #2: Stock Your Bar

Rum is the star of the show in any tiki bar. Before heading to the liquor store, brush up on the different types so you can plan your purchases. At a minimum, you'll want to have a white and dark option on hand. But don’t be shy about incorporating other liquors. Gin, brandy, vodka, and other spirits can all easily make their way into your drink recipes.

Tiki cocktails are also known for their use of fruit juices and purees. Fresh squeezed limes, lemons, and oranges along with pineapple, guava, and passionfruit juices give these drinks their trademark tropical flare. And of course, tiki drinks should look as fantastic as they taste. Blue curaçao, pomegranate syrup, and fresh flower garnishes all add vibrant colors to the finished product.

Step #3: Get Creative with Batch Cocktails

The less time you spend making and serving drinks, the more time you can spend enjoying your tasty creations with friends. This is where batch cocktails come in handy. They can be made in advance and set on the bar for fast and easy self-service. Here are few recipe ideas that are perfectly sized for a uKeg 64 (and easily doubled for a uKeg 128).

Sparkling Jungle Bird

  • 12 oz dark rum
  • 14 oz pineapple rum
  • 6 oz Campari
  • 24 oz chilled sparkling wine
  • 6 oz cold water

Shark's Tooth

  • 15 oz white rum
  • 6 oz fresh lime juice
  • 6 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 5 oz simple syrup
  • 3 oz grenadine
  • 24 oz club soda

Tropical Ginger Punch

  • 12 oz orange juice
  • 12 oz pineapple juice
  • 15 oz vodka
  • 20 oz chilled ginger ale

Once your cocktails are prepped, the only thing left to do is throw on your Hawaiian shirt or grass skirt and wait for the island mood to take over.

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