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I am man enough to declare that I love drinks with the little umbrellas in them. Now, granted, pretty much the only time I drink them is when I’m vacationing in the tropics or am otherwise in serious relaxation mode, but still … I like them. Part of the trick, though, is ordering the right drink. Some of the umbrella drinks you’ll find today are artwork—beautiful and super tasty—but that’s often because they are loaded with sugar/juice and little booze. If I’m going frou-frou, I want the first four to slide down easily and then No. 5 to smack me upside the head.

Now you, too, can order a drink that instantly tells the ladies you are sensitive, vivacious, and ready to party. But—guy rule—you probably want to lose the umbrella and straw within the first three sips. You are still a dude, after all.


mai tai umbrella drinks mixology

This is the original recipe created by “Trader Vic” Bergeron in 1944 and brought to the Royal Hawaiian hotel in 1953. Many have tried to improve this recipe (many substitute orgeat syrup for the amaretto), but I would argue none have. It remains the king of “paradise” drinks.

Ingredients (1 serving)
2 ounces dark rum
1/2 ounce Blue Curaçao, triple sec or other orange liqueur
1/2 ounce amaretto
1 ounce orange juice
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
Splash of grenadine

Add all the ingredients into a shaker and shake for 30 seconds. Strain into a glass over fresh ice. Garnish with whatever you like, such as orange, pineapple, lime, a cherry, or mint.


Jalapeno margarita umbrella drinks mixology

Bottled margarita mix makes for crappy margaritas. Use midrange tequila (as in, never use less than 100 percent agave, but you don’t have to buy a $50 bottle that’s going to get its flavor profile drastically changed, either) and fresh ingredients. Infusing your own tequila allows you to control the spice pretty well.

Ingredients (4–8 servings)
1 (750 mL) bottle of your favorite reposado tequila
3 jalapeños
16 fresh pineapple chunks
2 ounces triple sec
2 ounces freshly squeezed lime juice
2 ounces freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 ounces pineapple juice
1 lime cut into wedges

Slice the jalapeños lengthwise and distribute them evenly into mason jars. Pour in the tequila, screw on the lids, and shake the jars for 30 seconds. Store the jars in a cool, dark place for at least a day or up to a week. The longer it sits, the spicier the tequila gets. Once it hits the desired spice level, strain out the jalapenos and seeds. To make the drink, muddle the pineapple chunks in a glass pitcher, then add the three juices, triple sec, and 16 ounces of the tequila. Keep chilled until ready to serve. Rim your glasses with lime and salt, fill them with ice, and either strain the mix into them if you don’t want pulp or let it flow if you do. Garnish with a lime wedge—that, of course, has an umbrella stuck in it.

Recipe from Jennifer,


tiki bandit umbrella drinks mixology

Grab a big glass for this version of a classic Tiki drink because this one is monster-sized. I like to pour the nonalcoholic ingredients a little light and then float extra rum at the top.

Ingredients (1 serving)
4 ounces pineapple juice
4 ounces ginger ale
1 1⁄2 ounces gold rum
1 1⁄2 ounces pineapple rum, such as Cruzan
1 ounce Blue Curaçao
1 ounce orgeat
1 ounce passion fruit syrup
1 ounce fresh grapefruit juice
1 pineapple wedge
1 maraschino cherry

Shake the pineapple juice, ginger ale, rums, Curaçao, orgeat, syrup, and grapefruit juice in a shaker with ice until chilled; strain into a Tiki cup filled with ice. Garnish with pineapple and cherry.

Recipe from Todd Coleman,


The umbrella was first used as a garnish in 1959, when a bartender named Harry Yee at the Hilton Waikiki got sick of having to clean up the sticky cane sugar sticks he had been garnishing with and started using the ornamental toothpicks the hotel had for food. Who knew?

Need more summery drinks? Try some tequila, drinks made with bitters, and how to avoid hangovers!

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