A tiki party may be a classic theme, but it’s one that never feels tired. Evocative of lazy and luxurious island life, it encourages guests to let loose and relax. With the warm summer nights upon us, it’s the perfect time to transform your backyard into the ultimate island retreat and spend a relaxing evening under the stars with your party guests.
Setting the Island Vibe
Choose colors and/or motifs and repeat them as often as possible to reinforce your theme. Remove competing colors and objects in the party areas that distract from your theme.
Use natural colors and textures as a background, such as wood, thatch, grass and bamboo.
Use dinner napkins and large over-sized plates in a neutral, solid color and let your vibrant pops of color come through in your centerpiece and fun accents throughout your tablescape. After all, when is the next time you can use a retro dashboard hula girl as part of your decor? Finish off each place setting with a personalized menu accented with a tropical leaf. Add a silk lei on the back of each chair as decor and as an instant party favor for your guests to wear.
Incorporate festive and fun lighting elements to add depth and interest to your theme. Start by eliminating all overhead lights, then find creative Hawaiian luau and tiki-related light sources to add warmth and entertainment. For dusk to nighttime events, use tiki torches just beyond the party area and along walkways.
For the menu, let’s look to Hawaii for ideas. An ambitious host may roast a whole pig, but why not choose something a bit more low maintenance: pulled pork on sweet Hawaiian rolls? Yes, please! Serve these sliders alongside grilled shrimp and tropical salsa, or if you’ve got the urge to grill, serve Hawaiian Seafood Kabobs over rice. Keep a platter full of colorful fruits like watermelon, cantaloupe, kiwi and passionfruit readily available for your guests to nibble on throughout the party.
And for dessert? Pineapple upside-down cake is a retro crowd-pleaser that was popular in the 1920s, thanks to the easy availability of canned pineapple from Hawaii.
The Tiki Bar
No tiki party is complete without a bar full of refreshing drinks and rum-based libations! Since you won’t want to spend the entire evening serving your guests, setting up a self-serve bar is the way to go. For a larger bar setup (ever thought of repurposing a vintage trailer?), keep the drinks flowing by serving pre-mixed cocktails or sangria in glass dispensers. Complete the island vibe by decorating the rest of the bar area with bamboo shades, grass skirts, string lights, potted tropical plants and a “Tiki Bar” neon sign for the perfect ambiance. Don’t forget to have fun with the accessories like providing tropical-themed napkins, bendy straws, and cocktail umbrellas for your guests to embellish their drinks!
Blood Orange Coconut Mai Tai
This Blood Orange Coconut Mai Tai is a sweet and refreshing tropical infusion of blood orange juice, pineapple juice, and a combination of coconut, pineapple, and dark rum.
3 ounces blood orange juice
2 ounces pineapple juice
1 ounce coconut rum
1/2 ounce dark rum
1/4 ounce pineapple rum
Splash of lemon-lime soda
Maraschino cherry for garnish
Orange wedge for garnish
–Add the first four ingredients to a cocktail shaker full of ice.
–Give the mixture a few vigorous shakes.
–Transfer the mixture to a cocktail glass filled with ice.
– Top with a splash of lemon-lime soda for fizz and garnish with a cherry and orange wedge.
For more tips, questions, or entertaining advice, just #AskKeith by emailing him at: [email protected]