Raspberries, Italian Style -- Lamponecello
A Cuban Classic -- The Mojito

Aloha Scratching -- The Tropical Itch

If you think about Hawaii, do tiki drinks come to mind? 

Aloha!  Sunrise over Diamond Head and Waikiki Beach.
Aloha! Sunrise over Diamond Head and Waikiki Beach.

Recently my wife had a business trip to Honolulu.  As I am a shameless freeloader, I had to tag along and conduct "field research" on local libations (the things I have to do for the Wulf Cocktail Den).  The trip gave me the opportunity to revisit a favorite restaurant and its legendary libation.  The flagshhip location of Duke's is on the world famous Waikiki Beach in Honolulu.  Rumor has it that the bar there is one of the busiest in the country, and it serves a lot of Tropical Itches.  I make this simple version  at home:

A Tropical Itch is a great companion for a sunset in Hawaii.
A Tropical Itch is a great liquid companion for a sunset in Hawaii.

1 ounce vodka
1 ounce light rum
.5 ounces Grand Marnier
2.5 ounces passion fruit juice

Combine in shaker with ice, stir with the cool precision of someone cutting through the waves on the North Shore, and strain into a chilled glass.  If you want a little more booze and a good visual effect, add a float of dark rum after straining.  If you want some tropical kitsch, garnish with a backscratcher.

Tropical Itch meets Leonardo Da Vinci's Vitruvian Man
Tropical Itch meets Leonardo Da Vinci's Vitruvian Man

This cocktail is not as "alcohol forward" as most of the other libations in the Wulf Cocktail Den.  Half of it is non-alcoholic.  In a way, this actually makes the Tropical Itch more dangerous.  You can alter the proportions to make the drink stronger or weaker.

Speaking of the ingredients, you can substitute orange curacao for the Grand Marnier.  You may be able to substitute other orange flavored liqueurs, e.g. Cointreau, and achieve the desired result.  As for the vodka and light rum, use what you like.  If you want to use with homegrown Hawaiian booze, I recommend 808 vodka (808 is the area code for Hawaii, and the POG vodka is great on its own) and Koloa rum (the spice rum is quite good).

Side note -- In my opinion Honolulu is a big city that happens to be in Hawaii, and Waikiki is its temple to commercialism.  If you want to see why Hawaii truly is unique, go to another part of the island of Oahu and/or to some of the other islands (I prefer Maui and Kauai).


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