Honi Honi Cocktail Recipe

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Honi Honi 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 16, 2024


The Honi Honi is essentially a Mai Tai made with bourbon instead of rum, which gives it a unique twist. It's believed to have originated in the tiki culture of the mid-20th century, a period when Polynesian-themed bars and restaurants were all the rage in the United States. The name 'Honi Honi' means 'kiss kiss' in Hawaiian, adding to its exotic allure.

  • Popularity: This cocktail is a hit among those who appreciate a good tiki drink but are looking for something a little different from the usual rum-based concoctions.
  • Occasions: Perfect for summer parties or as a refreshing end to a warm day.

How Honi Honi Tastes?

The Honi Honi cocktail offers a delightful balance of sweet and tart flavors. The apricot brandy brings a fruity sweetness that complements the rich, warm notes of the dark Jamaican rum. The lemon juice adds a zesty tang, cutting through the sweetness and giving the drink a refreshing sharpness.

Interesting facts about Honi Honi

  • The Honi Honi is a bourbon-based twist on the classic tiki cocktail, the Mai Tai.
  • 'Honi Honi' translates to 'kiss kiss' in Hawaiian, reflecting the cocktail's sweet and inviting nature.
  • While not as widely known as its rum counterpart, the Honi Honi has a dedicated following among tiki and bourbon enthusiasts.


  • Ice cubes: As needed
  • Apricot brandy: 0.5 oz(15ml)
  • Dark jamaican rum: 1 oz(30ml)
  • Lemon juice: 0.5 oz(15ml)

Ice Cubes:

  • They are the chilling spine of the cocktail. They cool down the ingredients and also add a slight dilution, which is essential for balancing the strong flavors. Without ice, your cocktail might be too potent or warm—talk about a buzzkill!

Mary Mitkina

Apricot Brandy (0.5 oz):

  • This adds a fruity sweetness and depth. If you skip it, you'll miss the apricot's hug on your palate, which plays a melodious duet with the rum. Too much, and you're in a sugary pit, too little, and it's like an apricot who's afraid to sing.
  • Substitute: Peach brandy or apple brandy can be used for a different fruity note.

Alex Green

Dark Jamaican Rum (1 oz):

  • It's the star with a deep, molasses-rich personality. It gives warmth and a Caribbean soul to the mix. No rum? No party—or Honi Honi for that matter. Balance is key; too much rum and the drink becomes a pirate, too intense and careless.
  • Substitute: Aged rum or bourbon for a different kind of sweetness and complexity.

Emma Rose

Lemon Juice (0.5 oz):

  • The zesty cheerleader that brightens everything up. It cuts through the sweetness with its tangy vibe. Leaving it out would be like a beach with no ocean waves. Get the picture?
  • Substitute: Lime juice for a sharper edge, or orange juice for a more mellow tartness.

Mary Mitkina

Recipe. How to make Honi Honi Drink

  1. Fill a shaker with ice cubes.
  2. Add 0.5 oz of apricot brandy.
  3. Pour in 1 oz of dark Jamaican rum.
  4. Squeeze in 0.5 oz of fresh lemon juice.
  5. Shake well until the outside of the shaker feels cold.
  6. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
  7. Optionally, garnish with a twist of lemon or a cherry.

Pro Tips

  • Always use fresh lemon juice for the best flavor.
  • Chill the cocktail glass beforehand to keep your drink colder for longer.
  • If you enjoy a sweeter cocktail, consider adding a dash of simple syrup.

Perfect Pairings

The Honi Honi is a tropical drink with a sweet and tangy profile ideal for warm weather occasions. It pairs well with a range of foods and drinks:


  • Tropical Fruit Plates: Mango, pineapple, and papaya slices will complement the fruity notes of the cocktail.
  • Cheese Boards: Choose cheeses like Gouda or Havarti, which will contrast nicely with the cocktail's sweetness.

Main Courses:

  • Barbecued Meats: Sticky, sweet BBQ ribs or grilled chicken will be balanced out by the tanginess of the lemon.
  • Seafood Dishes: Try it with grilled shrimp or fish tacos for a beachy vibe.


  • Citrus-based Desserts: Lemon bars or key lime pie make for a harmonious finish, echoing the cocktail's citrus profile.


  • Non-Alcoholic Beverages: Serve alongside ginger beer or coconut water to stick with tropical flavors without overpowering the Honi Honi.

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What you could change in Honi Honi

  • Apricot Brandy: You can substitute with peach brandy or apricot liqueur if apricot brandy is not available.
  • Dark Jamaican Rum: A good dark rum from another region can be used, but Jamaican rum is preferred for its distinctive flavor.

Explore all drinks starting with H here

And of course - twists🍹

1. The Spicy Honi

  • Ingredients: 0.5 oz apricot brandy, 1 oz dark Jamaican rum, 0.5 oz fresh lemon juice, a pinch of cayenne pepper.
  • Recipe: Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled glass. The cayenne pepper adds a kick that turns the tropical breeze into a spicy wind.
  • Flavor: The spiciness will challenge the sweet and citrus harmony, adding a fiery dance to the taste buds.

2. The Honi Rosé

  • Ingredients: 0.5 oz peach brandy, 1 oz dark Jamaican rum, 0.5 oz fresh lemon juice, top with rosé wine.
  • Recipe: Shake brandy, rum, and lemon with ice, strain into a glass and top with chilled rosé. It's like adding a flush of sophistication and a fruity but dry finish.
  • Flavor: The peach and rosé bring a delicate, floral note which makes it more refined and perfect for a sunset toast.

3. The Orchard Honi

  • Ingredients: 0.5 oz apple brandy, 1 oz bourbon, 0.5 oz fresh lemon juice, slice of apple for garnish.
  • Recipe: Shake the brandy, bourbon, and lemon with ice, strain into a chilled glass and garnish with apple. It's a walk through autumn orchards in a glass.
  • Flavor: The apple and bourbon introduce a rustic and cozy feeling that's ideal for cooler weather or a heartier pairing.

In case you forgot basics how to make Honi Honi

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 Honi Honi

What type of glass is best suited for serving the Honi Honi cocktail?

A chilled cocktail glass is typically used for a Honi Honi, but the drink can also be served in a tumbler or a tiki mug for a more thematic presentation.

Can I make the Honi Honi cocktail in bulk for parties?

Yes, you can scale up the ingredients for a batch preparation. Just mix in a large pitcher or bowl and serve over ice to maintain the balance of flavors.

How can I modify the Honi Honi cocktail to make it less strong?

To make a lighter version, reduce the amount of rum and apricot brandy, and increase the amount of lemon juice or add a splash of soda water.

Is the Honi Honi cocktail suitable for vegan guests?

Yes, the Honi Honi cocktail is vegan-friendly, as it contains no animal products. However, ensure that your brand choices for spirits and ingredients do not contain any animal-derived processing agents.

Is it essential to use dark Jamaican rum for a Honi Honi cocktail, or can I use white rum?

Dark Jamaican rum is preferred for its rich flavor profile, but if you prefer a lighter taste, white rum can be used as an alternative, though it will significantly change the drink's character.

What is the origin of the name 'Honi Honi' for the cocktail?

The term 'Honi Honi' is Hawaiian for 'kiss kiss,' which reflects the cocktail's Polynesian tiki culture inspiration and suggests a friendly, affectionate vibe suitable for social gatherings.

Can the Honi Honi cocktail be considered a tiki drink?

Yes, the Honi Honi cocktail is a member of the tiki drink family, known for its Polynesian-inspired flavors and elaborate presentations.

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