Don's Delight Cocktail Recipe

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Don's Delight 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


Don's Delight is a classic cocktail that originated in the 1950s at the legendary Don the Beachcomber's tiki bar in Hollywood. This exotic drink was a favorite among celebrities and was often enjoyed during the golden age of Hollywood.

  • Created by Donn Beach, the founder of tiki culture
  • Inspired by the tropical flavors of the South Pacific
  • Popular during the tiki craze of the mid-20th century

How Don's Delight Tastes?

Don's Delight is a well-balanced cocktail with a complex flavor profile. It's sweet, tangy, and slightly spicy with a hint of bitterness. The combination of fruit juices, rum, and spices creates a refreshing and invigorating taste.

Interesting facts about Don's Delight

  • Don's Delight is sometimes referred to as the 'Hollywood Cocktail' due to its popularity among celebrities in the 1950s
  • The original recipe for Don's Delight was kept secret for many years, and only a select few bartenders knew how to make it
  • Donn Beach is also credited with creating the famous Zombie and Mai Tai cocktails


  • White rum: 1.5 oz(45ml)
  • Dark rum: 1.5 oz(45ml)
  • Orange juice: 2 oz(60ml)
  • Pineapple juice: 2 oz(60ml)
  • Lime juice: 0.5 oz(15ml)
  • Simple syrup: 0.5 oz(15ml)
  • Angostura bitters: 2 dashes
  • Orgeat syrup: 0.5 oz(15ml)
  • Orange wheel: 1
  • Grenadine: 0.25 oz(8ml)
  • Maraschino cherry: 1

White Rum: 1.5oz

A base of tropical sunlight, white rum gives the cocktail its kick without overpowering the other flavors. Not too much to avoid a pirate's fate, not too little to miss the Caribbean whisper. Without it, we'd lose that beachy vibe.

Mary Mitkina

Dark Rum: 1.5oz

The mysterious sibling, dark rum adds depth and richness. It's the hidden treasure that makes you say 'Aha!' Dial it down and the cocktail might sail away too light; too much and you're swimming in molasses.

Alex Green

Orange Juice: 2oz

Your sunny morning pal, it keeps everything fresh and bright. Perfect harmony with the rums while reminding us of sun-kissed wrinkles. Leave it out, and you've missed the boat completely. Too much, and you're adrift in a citrus sea.

Emma Rose

Pineapple Juice: 2oz

Now we're talking tropics! This juice provides that lush, island-party feel. Balances the citrus and adds a sweet dance partner for the rum. Without it, it's like forgetting your swimsuit at a pool party.

Mary Mitkina

Lime Juice: 0.5oz

The zesty zing! Lime tightens the mix with its acidity. Think of it as a splash of ocean spray, invigorating and necessary. No lime? The cocktail gets too cozy. Too much, and it's sour faces all around.

Alex Green

Simple Syrup: 0.5oz

Our sweet mediator, smoothing over any tart disagreements between juices and rum. Without this peacemaker, you might find the mix a tad too sharp. But, too sweet and we're in a sugar rush, no adults allowed!

Emma Rose

Angostura Bitters: 2 dashes

The spiced whispers of the cocktail world. Two dashes add complexity and a subtle herbal backdrop. Remove it, and you'll lose layers of intrigue. Overdo it, and you're drinking from a spice cabinet.

Mary Mitkina

Orgeat Syrup: 0.5oz

The nutty secret ingredient, orgeat brings almond charm and rounds out the cocktail's profile. Absent orgeat might leave the drink feeling a bit one-dimensional; too much and we're in marzipan territory.

Alex Green

Orange Wheel: 1

Not just a pretty face, it also whispers sweet nothings of citrus to your nose before every sip. It's the garnish that completes the picture.

Emma Rose

Grenadine: 0.25oz

The sunset in your glass! This pomegranate syrup adds a touch of romance and a gradient of color. Too little and the sunset's lackluster; too much, and it's a sugar eclipse.

Mary Mitkina

Maraschino Cherry: 1

The cherry on top! It's the final flourish, a sweet treat to end your sipping journey. Missing it may leave you feeling unfulfilled.

Alex Green

Recipe. How to make Don's Delight Drink

  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice
  2. Add white rum, dark rum, orange juice, pineapple juice, lime juice, simple syrup, Angostura bitters, and orgeat syrup
  3. Shake well until chilled and combined
  4. Strain into a tall glass filled with crushed ice
  5. Slowly pour grenadine over the top, allowing it to sink to the bottom
  6. Garnish with an orange wheel and a maraschino cherry

Pro Tips

  • Shake the cocktail shaker vigorously to properly mix the ingredients
  • Use freshly squeezed fruit juices for a better taste
  • Chill the glass before pouring the cocktail to keep it cool for longer

Perfect Pairings

Appetizers & Snacks

  • Fried Calamari: The light batter and delicate seafood pair nicely with the fruity and tangy notes of Don's Delight.
  • Coconut Shrimp: The sweet coconut coating complements the tropical flavors of the pineapple and orange juice in the cocktail.

Main Courses

  • Jerk Chicken: The spicy and flavorful Jamaican dish can stand up to the robust blend of white and dark rum while the citrus elements in the cocktail help to balance the heat.
  • Pulled Pork Sliders: The sweetness of the pork and the buns will match the sweet and sour profile of the cocktail.


  • Key Lime Pie: The tartness of the pie is a nice contrast to the cocktail's sweetness.
  • Pineapple Upside-Down Cake: The pineapple in both the cake and the cocktail create a delightful harmony.

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What you could change in Don's Delight

  • White rum: Can be substituted with vodka
  • Dark rum: Can be substituted with bourbon
  • Orgeat syrup: Can be substituted with almond syrup

Explore all drinks starting with D here

And of course - twists🍹

Island Breeze Don

Swap out the simple syrup for coconut cream, and add a splash of blue Curaçao for a colorful twist on the classic. This transforms Don's Delight into an ocean-inspired creation with a creamy texture and a hint of coconut tropical bliss.

Spicy Don's Delight

Muddle a few slices of fresh jalapeño in the shaker before adding the other ingredients. This version adds a spicy kick, which brings a warm contrast to the sweetness and tanginess, perfect for those looking to spice up their cocktail experience.

Don's Winter Delight

Replace half of the orange juice with cranberry juice and add a cinnamon stick for garnish. The cranberry brings a seasonal twist with tartness and the cinnamon infuses the drink with warm, spicy notes, making it a festive variant for cooler weather.

In case you forgot basics how to make Don's Delight

The basic composition of simple syrup is relatively straightforward – a 1:1 ratio of sugar and water. This mixture is heated until the sugar dissolves, resulting in a clear, sweet syrup.

Learn everything about simple syrup

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 Don's Delight

What is the origin of the name 'Don's Delight'?

The cocktail was named after its creator, Donn Beach, who was the founder of the original tiki bar, Don the Beachcomber.

Is the Don's Delight cocktail best served during a specific time of day or season?

You can enjoy the Don's Delight cocktail any time you want. However, its refreshing and tropical flavors make it an ideal drink during summer or for afternoon social gatherings.

What is the purpose of angostura bitters in the cocktail?

Angostura bitters add depth and complexity to the cocktail. They balance the sweetness from the fruit juices and syrup, giving the cocktail a well-rounded flavor.

Why is the orange wheel and cherry used as garnish for the Don's Delight?

The orange wheel and cherry don’t just make the cocktail look more appealing, they also add slight nuances to the overall taste when you have a sip with them.

Can I make a non-alcoholic version of Don's Delight?

Yes, you can substitute the rum with non-alcoholic spirits or simply skip it. The taste will change, but you can still enjoy a refreshing tropical drink.

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