Nui Nui

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Cocktail History

The Nui Nui is a classic tiki recipe that was created by Don the Beachcomber in the 1930s at his bar in Hollywood, California. A rather unknown concoction of Don’s for many years, it wasn’t until Jeff “Beachbum” Berry dug deep into its history when writing his book Sippin’ Safari that it was revived. This version from Easy Tiki: A Modern Revival with 60 Recipes by Chloe Frechette is as close to the original as possible with its Jamaican rum base, cinnamon and vanilla syrups that would’ve been considered exotic at the time, and combination of citrus juices typical for tiki.

Cocktail Ingredients

To make this cocktail, you’ll need the following ingredients:

Gold Rum: This is the base spirit. We used Wray & Nephew Gold Jamaican because it’s high quality yet still affordable, full flavored while still being lighter than other rums, and lends exotic spice flavors to the finish of the drink.

Orange Juice: This adds sweet citrus flavors for balance. We prefer fresh orange juice because it’s less bitter than the bottled stuff and tastes better.

Lime Juice: This adds sour citrus flavors. Again, we prefer fresh lime juice.

Cinnamon Syrup: This is a sweetener made with sugar, water, and cinnamon sticks. We made ours using Alex’s sous vide recipe.

Vanilla Syrup: This is a sweetener made with sugar, water, and vanilla pods. We also made this one using Alex’s recipe.

St. Elizabeth’s Allspice Dram: This adds autumnal spices to the cocktail. If you can’t find St. Elizabeth’s Allspice Dram, you can also increase the amount of Angostura aromatic bitters for a slightly different but still similar flavor.

Angostura Aromatic Bitters: This is a type of spirit infused with botanicals. They add more spice and complexity to the drink and tie the other flavors together.

Orange Twist: This is one of the garnishes. It adds more fresh citrus aroma.

Cinnamon Stick: This is the other garnish. It adds cinnamon aroma and flavor.

Tasting Notes

The Nui Nui combines aromas of orange, cinnamon, and funky Jamaican rum and has a taste that harmonizes the spirit, fruitiness, and baking spice zing with tart lime for balance. The aftertaste then leaves you with a lingering cinnamon note on the tongue, making this cocktail exceptionally unique for the uninitiated.

Our Opinion of This Cocktail Recipe: We were both big fans of this drink for its noticeable inclusion of spices and its sweet but not cloying flavor. We’ll definitely be adding it to our summer rotation!

Alex’s Take: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
“This drink, like the majority of tiki drinks I’ve ever had, is quite good. It exists mostly to showcase the orange flavor, the spiciness of cinnamon, and sweetness of vanilla, while all of the other flavors play a supporting role. Overall, it’s balanced and inoffensive. I would make it again!”

Kendall’s Take: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
“One word: Yum! Thanks to its baking spice flavor, this cocktail reminded me a lot of the Iron Ranger just lighter and sweeter. If you’re not keen on a bourbon base for a tiki drink, maybe start with this one. It’s quite unique and very delicious, and it’s whiskey flavor is masked well enough by the other ingredients so it’s not overpowering.”

Recipe

This cocktail recipe was adapted from Easy Tiki: A Modern Revival with 60 Recipes by Chloe Frechette.

AuthorEasy TikiPrep Time5 minsRating

Ingredients
 2 oz Gold Rum
 ½ oz Orange Juice
 ½ oz Lime Juice
  oz Homemade Vanilla Syrup
  oz St. Elizabeth's Allspice Dram
 1 dash Angostura Aromatic Bitters
 1 Orange Twist
 1 Cinnamon Stick

Method
1

Add rum, orange juice, lime juice, cinnamon syrup, vanilla syrup, allspice dram, bitters, and cracked ice to a shaker.

2

Shake for 10-20 seconds.

3

Strain into a highball or tiki glass over fresh crushed ice.

4

Garnish with orange twist and cinnamon stick.

Ingredients

Ingredients
 2 oz Gold Rum
 ½ oz Orange Juice
 ½ oz Lime Juice
  oz Homemade Vanilla Syrup
  oz St. Elizabeth's Allspice Dram
 1 dash Angostura Aromatic Bitters
 1 Orange Twist
 1 Cinnamon Stick

Directions

Method
1

Add rum, orange juice, lime juice, cinnamon syrup, vanilla syrup, allspice dram, bitters, and cracked ice to a shaker.

2

Shake for 10-20 seconds.

3

Strain into a highball or tiki glass over fresh crushed ice.

4

Garnish with orange twist and cinnamon stick.

Nui Nui

Tools & Glassware We Recommend

More Tiki Cocktails

If you like this tiki cocktail recipe, here are a few others we’ve tried that you may enjoy:

Jamaican Mule: A rum cocktail made with ginger syrup, lime juice, pineapple juice, Angostura aromatic bitters, candied ginger, a lime slice, and an orchid blossom

Ginger Inferno: A rum cocktail made with ginger liqueur, velvet falernum liqueur, lime juice, lemon juice, cinnamon syrup, a lime slice, and candied ginger

Paradise Lost: A vodka and sherry cocktail made with coconut water, lime juice, orgeat syrup, Angostura aromatic bitters, and mint

Zombie: A rum cocktail made with velvet falernum liqueur, Donn’s mix, lime juice, absinthe, grenadine, Angostura aromatic bitters, and mint

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