Home / Drinks / Refreshments best Cocktail Drinks for a Luau

Refreshments best Cocktail Drinks for a Luau

Mention luaus and most people will lick their lips and start comparing their favorite Hawaiian cocktails. They’re definitely a major part of any successful luau. There’s a host of cocktails drinks to suit all tastes, from alcoholic to non-alcoholic. Many have the taste buds dancing and the body feeling so refreshed. Topped with cherries, slices of pineapples, strawberries or kiwi fruit and a little tropical umbrella, there’s nothing quite like a cocktail drink to quench the thirst and help get one into the mood for a luau.

Nothing is more fun that a luau (Hawaiian feast, usually involving music and various entertainment). From the thrill of dressing up for the occasion with grass skirts, leis, Hawaiian prints shirts and sipping on Hawaiian cocktails, to doing the hula and imagining you have been whisked away to an island paradise, the fun of a luau is immeasurable. The luau may feature delicious food such as lomi salmon, opihi, poi, kalua pig to haupia washed down with a variety of tasty tropical Hawaiian drinks.

A luau is undeniably, a fun filled way of sharing quality time with family and friends. Yet choosing the best cocktail drinks for a luau can be quite overwhelming. So without further ado, here is the author’s list of tasty Hawaiian cocktails you and your luau guests are sure to enjoy. They’ll certainly help set the festive mood.

Blue Hawaii Cocktail:

Back in 1957, Harry Yee was a bartender at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Resort and Spa. A representative of Bols asked him to create a new drink with the use of the company’s new Blue Curacao liqueur. Thus, the Blue Hawaii was born and since then many variations of the recipe have come about. But the recipe below is the authentic one.


¾ oz. light rum

½ oz. Blue Curacao

¾ oz. vodka

1 oz. sweet & sour mix

3 oz. pineapple juice


Simply combine the entire ingredients and if using ice, use a blender to mix. Serve in a tall glass and garnish with a slice of pineapple, strawberry or cherry and a cocktail umbrella.

Mai Tai:

The Mai Tai which means “the very best” in the Tahitian language, was invented by Trader Vic back in 1944. Maita’i is spelt as one word but the spelling of the drink is two words. Prominently featured in the very popular Elvis Presley movie Blue Hawaii, Mai Tai is a very delicious cocktail.


1oz. dark rum

1oz. light rum

1 oz. Orange Curacao or Grand Marnier

1oz. Amaretto

1oz. pineapple

1oz. orange juice

1 dash lime juice

1 dash Grenadine


Shake well and pour over ice. Garnish with a strawberry or cherry and an orange or lemon slice. Remember the cocktail umbrella. Enjoy!

Peña Colada:

Often times spelled ‘pina’, a Pena colada is strained coconut. This island mainstay is said to have been invented by Puerto Rican bartender Ramon Marrero back in 1954. Marrero is said to have wanted to capture all the flavours of Puerto Rico in one drink. This is a great mix of coconut, rum and pineapple which one is sure to enjoy.


4 oz. Peña Colada Mix (Or 1 part Crème de Coconut and 2 parts Pineapple Juice)

1 oz. Light Rum

1 cup ice

1 oz. Half and Half or milk for a creamier version


Combine all the ingredients in a blender and enjoy it on the rocks. Garnish with a strawberry or cherry a wedge of pineapple or orange.

Tropical Itch:

This modern cocktail is sure to please one and all. Created by Harry Yee, the Tropical Itch is made with passion orange juice, orange curacao and rum. This was initially served in a hurricane glass with a bamboo backscratcher!


1oz. light rum

1oz. vodka

3-4oz. passion fruit juice

1/2oz. Orange Curacao of Grand Marnier


Shake very well then pour over ice. Garnish with pineapple or cherries and a wooden backscratcher if possible.

Lava Flow:

A luau would not be complete without the very popular ‘Lave Flow’. There are a host of variations for making a Lava Flow, yet the author’s favourite is that below.


1oz. Malibu coconut rum

1oz. light rum

1 small banana

2oz. strawberries (fresh or frozen)

2oz.coconut cream

2oz. unsweetened or sweetened pineapple juice


Blend the rums and strawberries in a blender to form a nice smooth texture. Pour this into a hurricane glass. Wash the blender out and then blend the coconut cream, banana and pineapple juice in a blender with crushed ice until it becomes smooth. Pour this into the glass with the rums nice and slowly. The strawberry mixture will rise to the top along the sides of the glass. This gives one the lava flow effect. Garnish and add a paper umbrella.

Don’t forget to set the luau mood by dressing in sarongs or grass skirts. Purchase or make some leis for your guests and don’t forget the tiki torches. Use wooden tableware and add some decorations to complete the festive look of your luau.