How to Throw the Ultimate Summer Tiki Party

High summer means it’s high time to shake up some ice cold mai tais, turn up the surf music, don your best lei, and throw a swingin’ tiki party.

tiki party ideas summer
Photography by REVEL & CO.

While we can’t all hop on a jet plane and escape to an island this summer, we can definitely celebrate all that’s cool and kitsch about summer by throwing a classic tiki party. We’ve rounded up 15 fantastic ideas for food, cocktails, and decor to help you create a fun (and a little sexy) tiki party in a flash.   


tiki party ideas kevin beary
Photography by JEFF MARINI

A great tiki party needs a signature tiki cocktail. Try these cocktail recipes courtesy of Kevin Beary—beverage director at award-winning Chicago tiki bar, Three Dots and a Dash—who notes, “Tiki culture is based on the idea of escapism. The elaborate cocktails with over-the-top garnishes and exotic decor are intended to transport you to your happy vacation place.”
The Saturn
Makes one cocktail
Navy Strength Gin, Passionfruit, Orgeat, Falernum, and Lemon

  • 1 ½ oz. Navy Strength Gin
  • 1 oz. Lemon Juice
  • ¾ oz. Orgeat
  • ½ oz. Falernum
  • ½ oz. Passionfruit Purée
Combine all ingredients in a shaker filled with ice. Shake and pour into a tiki mug filled with crushed ice, and top with additional crushed ice. Garnish with half a passionfruit, edible orchid, and lemon peel.

Trader Vic’s Mai Tai
Makes one cocktail
Martinique Blanc Agricole, Aged Jamaican Rum, Dry Curaçao, Orgeat, Lime, and an Overproof Rum Float

  • 1 oz. Aged Jamaican Rum
  • 1 oz. 100 Proof Blanc Rhum Agricole
  • ½ oz. Dry Curaçao
  • 1 oz. Lime Juice
  • 1 oz. Orgeat
Combine all ingredients in a shaker filled with ice. Shake and pour into a tiki mug filled with crushed ice, and top with additional crushed ice. Garnish with mint, a cocktail umbrella, and a swizzle stick.

tiki party ideas big kahuna burger
Photography by THREE DOTS AND A DASH

Of course, you can’t forget the food: A strong drink needs a hearty meal to go along with it.

The Big Kahuna Burger, courtesy of Three Dots and a Dash


  • 2 3-oz. beef patties
  • 1 Tbsp. finely chopped sweet onions
  • 1 Tbsp. finely chopped jalapeño peppers
  • 2 tsp. sweet soy sauce
  • 1 pineapple ring, core removed, 1/3-inch thick
  • 2 oz. shaved ham
  • ½c up Cabbage-Jalapeño Slaw
  • 1 Tbsp. Poke Dressing
  • 1-2 Tbsp. Tobanjan Mayonnaise
  • 1 Hawaiian bun
For the Cabbage-Jalapeño Slaw, toss together 1 cup finely shredded green cabbage, ¼ finely sliced red onion, 1 thinly sliced jalapeño, and ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves.

For the Poke Dressing, combine ¼ cup soy sauce, ¼ cup rice vinegar, ¼ cup canola oil, 2 Tbsp. minced onion, 2 Tbsp. water, 1 Tbsp. sugar, 1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil, 1 tsp. wasabi powder, and salt and pepper to taste.

For the Tobanjan Mayonnaise, mix together ½ cup full-fat mayonnaise, 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar, 1 Tbsp. Tobanjan (a seasoned chile paste), 1 Tbsp. soy sauce, 1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil, 1 Tbsp. sugar, 1 Tbsp. water, and 1 tsp. Crystal hot sauce.

Preheat a griddle or large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Top each burger patty with equal amounts of chopped onion and jalapeño.

Place the patties onto the griddle, onion side up, and smash with a spatula. Cook the burgers until they form a crispy crust, about 10 minutes. Flip and repeat. Top the burgers with 1 tsp. of sweet soy sauce each.

Griddle the pineapple ring and shaved ham until heated through and slightly golden, about 2-3 minutes. Toss the Cabbage Slaw with Poke Dressing until evenly coated. Spread Tobanjan mayo on the top and bottom of the bun.

To build the burger, place one patty on the bottom bun. Add the pineapple ring, another patty, and ham. Finish with the Slaw.

tiki party ideas kebabs
Photography by THREE DOTS AND A DASH

Another great option for party food is a variety of delicious skewers, like these Hawaiian chicken kebabs and rainbow fruits on a stick. Since they’re both pleasing to the eye and highly portable, they’re perfect to nibble on while you’re waiting in line for the limbo.

tiki party ideas tumblers
Photography by TRUE BRANDS

These chic and colorful Libbey Tiki Bamboo Tumblers (Set of 6) are perfect for serving up Mai Tais and Blue Hawaiians.  

tiki party ideas libbey tiki tumblers
Photography by TRUE BRANDS

If you want to let the beauty of your drinks truly shine, these crystal clear Libbey Tiki God Tumblers (Set of 4) are an easy way to add an elegant touch to your tiki theme. 

tiki party ideas ice cube tray
Photography by TRUE BRANDS

For some seriously cute kitsch, go the thematic distance with this Totems Tiki Ice Cube Tray. Imagine the smiles on your guests’ faces when they spot tiki masks floating in their drinks! 

tiki party ideas pineapple straws
Photography by REVEL & CO.

These adorable pineapple straws are a super simple way to brighten up your bar cart and add tiki flair to your drink presentation.

tiki party ideas paper plates
Photography by TARGET

Keep the tiki theme pretty with these lovely "Aloha" paper plates

tiki party ideas runner
Photography by TRESHOLD

This summery Cream Floral Table Runner by Threshold will add a vibrant and sophisticated flair to your tiki party decor. 

tiki party ideas assorted candles
Photography by KNOT & BOW

Have fun lighting up your tiki tablescape with a rainbow of tall assorted candles.

tiki party ideas floral garlands
Photography by FUN EXPRESS

Transport your guests to a lush island getaway with some smartly placed floral garlands hung over archways and banisters, and around windows. 

tiki party ideas planter
Photography by SELAMAT DESIGNS

This gorgeous Justina Blakeney Bette Planter would be a great addition to any garden tiki party… but it’s also a piece you can keep long after the last tiki torch has been extinguished. 

tiki party ideas leis
Photography by OOJAMI

A tiki party just wouldn’t be complete without some leis. These Mahalo Floral Leis (package of 12) are a classic touch, and a nice way to welcome your guests for a night of island-style fun. 

tiki party ideas metal tiki torches
Photography by TARGET

Give your party lights a unique spin by using thematic metal tiki torches

tiki party ideas spotify
Photography by SPOTIFY

Set the perfect tiki vibe with a great party playlist, such as the Ultimate Tiki Lounge Playlist on Spotify. 

See more summer entertaining tips:
How the French Do Summer Cocktails
Everything You Need to Throw a Chic Summer Soirée
How to Throw a Chic, Stress-Free Dinner Party


Published on July 27, 2017 - 5:00am EDT

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