Bali Hai Cocktail Recipe

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Bali Hai 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 7, 2024


The Bali Hai cocktail is a tropical drink that originated in the 1960s at the Bali Hai restaurant in San Diego, California. The restaurant was known for its Polynesian theme and exotic cocktails. The Bali Hai cocktail quickly became a favorite among patrons who enjoyed its fruity and refreshing taste.

  • The Bali Hai restaurant was named after the song 'Bali Ha'i' from the musical 'South Pacific'
  • The cocktail was created to complement the restaurant's Polynesian theme and cuisine
  • The Bali Hai cocktail is still served at the restaurant today, and has become a popular drink in tiki bars around the world

How Bali Hai Tastes?

The Bali Hai cocktail is a sweet and fruity drink with a hint of tartness. It has a tropical flavor profile, with notes of pineapple, coconut, and citrus. The drink is well-balanced, with the sweetness of the fruit juices being offset by the tanginess of the lime and the slight bitterness of the rum.

Interesting facts about Bali Hai

  • The Bali Hai cocktail is often served in a tiki mug or a hurricane glass, adding to its tropical appeal
  • The drink is sometimes garnished with a pineapple wedge, cherry, or an edible flower for an extra touch of island flair
  • The Bali Hai cocktail is a great drink for summer parties and gatherings, as it is refreshing and easy to make in large batches


Light Rum

The 1.5 oz of light rum provides a smooth base without overwhelming the other flavors. If you use more, you might overpower the tropical notes; less, and you might not feel that warm rum embrace. Without it, well, you might as well be sipping on fruit juice at a kids' party.

Emma Rose

Dark Rum

The 0.5 oz of dark rum adds complexity and a deeper flavor profile. It's like that dash of spice your grandma adds to her cookies - not too much but indispensable. It brings depth without taking over the show. Miss it out, and you lose the mysterious edge.

Alex Green

Pineapple Juice

2 oz of pineapple juice brings the beach to your glass, giving that sweet, tart tropical kick. Overdo it, and you're in a pineapple overload. Without it? It's like Hawaii without the hula.

Mary Mitkina

Cream of Coconut

1 oz cream of coconut smoothens the edges and gives that creamy dreaminess. More cream, and you risk turning your cocktail into a dessert; less, and you'll miss the luxurious texture. A cocktail without it? Definitely lacks that 'Bali' feel.

Emma Rose

Lime Juice

Just 0.5 oz of lime juice to cut through the sweetness with a zesty zing. Too much might make you pucker up more than needed, and too little could leave you wading through sweetness. Skip it, and you'll be missing the 'Hai' from 'Bali Hai'.

Alex Green


1 cup of ice is essential to chill and dilute just enough to meld the flavors perfectly. No ice, and you're basically toasting on the sun.

Mary Mitkina


A pineapple wedge and a cherry are your cocktail's polished accessories, adding that final touch of tropical allure. No garnish? You'll sip with your eyes first, and it'll be like going to prom in pajamas.

Emma Rose

Recipe. How to make Bali Hai Drink

  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice
  2. Add the light rum, dark rum, pineapple juice, cream of coconut, and lime juice
  3. Shake well until chilled and combined
  4. Strain the mixture into a hurricane glass or tiki mug filled with fresh ice
  5. Garnish with a pineapple wedge and a cherry

Pro Tips

  • Shake the cocktail shaker vigorously to ensure all ingredients are well combined
  • Use fresh pineapple juice for a more authentic tropical flavor
  • Chill the glasses before serving to keep the cocktail cold for longer

Perfect Pairings

Food Pairings

  • Grilled Seafood: The tropical flavors of the Bali Hai cocktail pair superbly with grilled seafood, such as shrimp or fish, complementing the smokey taste.
  • Spicy Asian Cuisines: The sweetness and acidity of the cocktail can balance out the heat from dishes like Thai curries or spicy Indonesian sambal.
  • Fruit Platters: A simple fruit platter can act as a refreshing counterpart to this sweet, tropical drink.
  • BBQ Pork: The sweetness of the cocktail can work well with the savory flavors of barbecued pork, especially with a pineapple glaze.

Drinks Pairings

  • Light Beers: To cleanse the palate between sips of the cocktail, offer a light beer that doesn't overpower the drink's flavors.
  • Sparkling Water: For a non-alcoholic option, a sparkling water with a squeeze of lime complements the cocktail's tropical character.

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What you could change in Bali Hai

  • Light rum: Can be substituted with vodka for a less sweet taste
  • Dark rum: Can be substituted with bourbon for a smoky flavor
  • Pineapple juice: Can be substituted with orange juice for a different tropical twist
  • Cream of coconut: Can be substituted with coconut milk for a lighter version

Explore all drinks starting with B here

And of course - twists🍹

Bali Spice

  • Use spiced rum instead of light rum
  • Add a dash of angostura bitters
  • Recipe: Follow the original recipe, but with spiced rum and a dash of bitters for a warming kick. The spiced rum brings notes of vanilla and cinnamon, mingling beautifully with the tropical flavors. This version will have a little more heat, perfect for those who like a bit of spice in their life.

Hawaiian Sunset

  • Use coconut rum instead of light rum
  • Include a splash of grenadine
  • Recipe: Replace the light rum with coconut rum, adding depth to the coconut flavor. Include the grenadine, pouring it in last to create a 'sunset' effect. This version is sweeter, more coconut-forward, and visually stunning.

Virgin Bali Hike

  • Omit the rums
  • Use coconut water instead of cream of coconut
  • Recipe: Skip the alcohol and use coconut water, giving you a fresh, non-alcoholic alternative that still keeps the tropical vibe alive. It's perfect for a midday refreshment when you're on a 'hike' through the Bali-like scenery of your backyard.

In case you forgot basics how to make Bali Hai

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 Bali Hai

Can the Bali Hai cocktail be turned into a mocktail?

Yes, you can create a mocktail version of the Bali Hai by substituting the light and dark rum with pineapple or coconut soda.

How can the flavors be enhanced in the Bali Hai cocktail?

To enhance flavors, you can muddle some fresh pineapple or use freshly squeezed lime juice. Also, let the mixture sit for a few minutes before shaking, this allows the flavors to meld together.

What are the typical foods paired with a Bali Hai?

Given its tropical nature, the Bali Hai cocktail pairs well with seafood dishes, particularly ones with a sweet and sour or spicy profile. Grilled shrimp, fish tacos or a tropical salad with mango and avocado would complement this cocktail.

What alternatives can be used if I don't have a cocktail shaker?

If you don't have a cocktail shaker, you can use a mason jar with a lid or simply stir the ingredients together in a pitcher. The key is to make sure all of the ingredients are well combined.

Can I switch rum with non-alcoholic substitutes?

Yes, you can substitute the rum with non-alcoholic alternatives such as non-alcoholic rum flavoring, apple or grape juice for a fruity flavor, or peppermint or vanilla extract for a unique twist.

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