Aku Aku Cocktail Recipe

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Aku Aku Nutrition Facts






Created by

Nic Polotnianko

I fell in love with the art of mixology 6 years ago. Since then, I've honed my skills, crafting a myriad of cocktail recipes, and sharing my passion with other enthusiasts.

Last Updated: January 22, 2024


The Aku Aku cocktail takes its name from the Aku Aku bar in the Stardust Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, which was a tiki haven during the mid-20th century. This drink is a testament to the era's fascination with Polynesian culture, which was often romanticized in American pop culture.

  • Who Would Like It?
    • Fans of tiki culture
    • Lovers of fruity, tropical drinks
    • Those who appreciate a well-balanced cocktail with a hint of sweetness

How Aku Aku Tastes?

The Aku Aku cocktail offers a symphony of tropical flavors. It is sweet, yet balanced by the tartness of the lime juice. The aged rum provides a smooth, woody backbone, while the peach liqueur adds a subtle stone-fruit note. Overall, it's a refreshing and invigorating drink with a complex flavor profile.

Interesting facts about Aku Aku

  • The Aku Aku cocktail is a lesser-known tiki drink compared to its cousins like the Mai Tai or Zombie.
  • The original Aku Aku bar featured massive Moai statues, adding to the immersive Polynesian atmosphere.
  • Tiki cocktails often feature elaborate garnishes, and the Aku Aku is no exception, typically being served with a sprig of mint.


  • Demerara gum syrup: 0.5 oz(15ml)
  • Aged rum: 1.5 oz(45ml)
  • Pineapple juice: 1 oz(30ml)
  • Lime juice: 0.75 oz(23ml)
  • Peach liqueur: 0.5 oz(15ml)
  • Mint: 1sprig

Demerara Gum Syrup

This adds a rich, caramel-like sweetness without overpowering the other flavors. If you skimp here, your cocktail might be too sour; pour it on, and it could be cloying. No Demerara? Try simple syrup, but you'll miss the deep notes.

Alex Green

Aged Rum

Here's your cocktail's backbone, bringing vanilla and toasty oak notes. Too little, and it's a lightweight; too much, and it's a heavyweight boxer. No aged rum? Dark rum can work, but with a slightly different flavor profile.

Emma Rose

Pineapple Juice

This tropical tickler adds both sweetness and tang, marrying the other flavors. Cut it out, and you're losing the luau in your glass. Canned works, but fresh juice is the cha-cha to your cocktail's dance.

Mary Mitkina

Lime Juice

It's the zesty zinger that balances the sweet. It's like the best friend who tells you when you've got spinach in your teeth; without it, things aren't as sharp. Bottled juice could pinch-hit, but fresh is the home run.

Alex Green

Peach Liqueur

It's a subtle hint of peachiness peek-a-booing through the stronger tastes. Forget it, and you'll wonder what's missing. No peach liqueur? Apricot brandy is a decent understudy that'll keep the performance going.

Emma Rose


This garnish is the cool kid that makes your drink look and smell inviting. Neglect the mint, and you lose a layer of complexity and the cocktail's 'gram-worthy look. Basil can be a stand-in if you want to mix up the herbaceous vibes.

Mary Mitkina

Recipe. How to make Aku Aku Drink

  1. Fill a shaker with ice.
  2. Add the Demerara gum syrup, aged rum, pineapple juice, lime juice, and peach liqueur to the shaker.
  3. Shake vigorously until well chilled.
  4. Strain into a chilled tiki mug or highball glass filled with crushed ice.
  5. Garnish with a sprig of mint.

Pro Tips

  • For a truly authentic experience, use freshly squeezed lime juice and high-quality aged rum.
  • Chill your glass before serving to keep the cocktail cool longer.
  • Slap the mint sprig between your hands before garnishing to release its aromatic oils.

Perfect Pairings


  • Grilled shrimp or lobster: The sweetness of the rum and peach liqueur complements the natural flavors of shellfish.
  • Fish tacos: The citrusy lime juice in the cocktail cuts through the richness of the fried fish.

Spicy Foods

  • Jamaican jerk chicken: The fruity flavors balance out the heat and spices of the chicken.
  • Spicy Thai curries: The Aku Aku's sweet and tangy taste can provide a refreshing contrast.


  • Coconut-based desserts: The tropical notes of the cocktail pair well with coconut flavors.
  • Fruit tarts: The acidity of the lime and pineapple juice can enhance the fruitiness of the tarts.

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What you could change in Aku Aku

  • Demerara Gum Syrup: If you can't find this, you can use a simple syrup or make your own by dissolving Demerara sugar in water.
  • Aged Rum: A dark rum can be used as a substitute, but it will change the flavor profile slightly.
  • Peach Liqueur: Apricot liqueur can be a suitable replacement if peach liqueur is not available.

Explore all drinks starting with A here

And of course - twists🍹

Spicy Aku Aku

  • Add a small slice of jalapeño or a dash of hot sauce to the shaker. This variant introduces a fiery kick to the tropical sweetness, turning your cocktail into a beach bonfire.

Aku Aku Swizzle

  • Swap peach liqueur with ginger syrup. Add a swizzle stick. Stir well in the glass filled with crushed ice. This twist brings a piquant ginger warmth, offering an exotic detour from the usual fruity lane.

Berry Aku Aku

  • Muddle a few raspberries or strawberries in the shaker before adding the ingredients. The result? A berry bonanza that adds a layer of summery freshness and a vibrant color to your tropical escape.

In case you forgot basics how to make Aku Aku

Add your ingredients to the shaker first, then ice. Fill it up to ¾ of its capacity to ensure enough space for shaking. Hold the shaker with both hands (one on the top and one on the bottom) and shake vigorously. The shake should come from your shoulders, not your wrists.

Learn everything on how to shake

Place your chosen strainer on top of the shaker or mixing glass, ensuring a secure fit. Pour the cocktail into a glass through the strainer, which will catch solid ingredients and ice. If double straining, hold the fine mesh strainer between the shaker and the glass.

Learn everything on how to strain

Garnishing a bar drink depends on the type of garnish and the cocktail. Generally, it involves preparing the garnish (like cutting a citrus wheel or picking a sprig of mint), and then adding it to the drink in a visually appealing way (like perching it on the rim or floating it on top).

Learn everything on garnishing

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Frequently Asked Questions on Aku Aku

What glassware is recommended for serving the Aku Aku cocktail?

The Aku Aku is traditionally served in a tiki mug or a highball glass. This showcases its tropical aesthetics and keeps the drink cool.

Can I make the Aku Aku cocktail in a large batch for a party?

Yes, you can easily scale up the recipe for a party. Combine all ingredients in a pitcher or punch bowl except for ice and mint, then serve individual drinks over crushed ice with a mint garnish.

Is the Aku Aku cocktail suitable for vegans?

Yes, the Aku Aku cocktail is suitable for vegans as it contains no animal products. However, it's important to check that the specific brands of syrups and liquors used are also vegan-friendly.

How can I properly crush ice for the Aku Aku cocktail?

You can crush ice either by using a blender or by wrapping ice cubes in a towel and crushing them with a mallet or rolling pin.

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