Italian Surfer Cocktail Recipe

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Italian Surfer Nutrition Facts





Alcohol content:~12%

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 Italian Surfer is a delightful cocktail that marries tropical and Italian flavors. Its origin is not well-documented, but it's believed to have been created by playful bartenders looking to combine the sweetness of amaretto with the exotic touch of coconut rum. It's a hit among those who enjoy a sweet, fruity cocktail with a nutty undertone.

  • Perfect for beach parties or summer gatherings
  • Often enjoyed by those who favor sweeter, dessert-like cocktails
  • Its vibrant color and garnish make it visually appealing

How Italian Surfer Tastes?

The Italian Surfer is a sweet and fruity cocktail with a rich almond note from the amaretto. The coconut rum adds a tropical flair, while the pineapple and cranberry juices provide a tangy and refreshing finish. It's a well-balanced drink with a light, summery feel.

Interesting facts about Italian Surfer

  • The Italian Surfer can be considered a cousin to the popular Piña Colada due to its tropical ingredients.
  • Amaretto, an Italian liqueur, is made from almonds or apricot pits, which gives the cocktail its distinctive nutty flavor.
  • This cocktail is often served at Italian-themed events or as a sweet end to an Italian meal.


Coconut Rum

The sweet and tropical notes of coconut rum not only provide a beachy vibe but also smooth out the stronger flavors in the mix. If you skimp on the rum, you might end up with a cocktail that's a tad too tart. Swap it out for standard rum and you'll miss the coconut charm—but hey, you'll still have a decent drink on your hands.

Mary Mitkina


With its sweet almond flavor, amaretto adds complexity and depth. Less amaretto could make for a less rounded sweetness, whereas too much might overwhelm the tropical vibe. No amaretto? Try almond extract as a stand-in, but use sparingly or you'll think you've dunked a biscotti in your drink.

Emma Rose

Pineapple Juice

The zesty tang of pineapple juice brings a fruity punch that's crucial for balancing the sweetness. Too much juice and your surfboard will tip towards too sweet; too little and it might feel like you're sipping on a fruitless beach. Feeling adventurous? Mango juice could be a fun twist—just brace for a smoother, richer ride.

Alex Green

Cranberry Juice

Cranberry juice is the tart counterpoint in this liquid dance, keeping things from getting cloyingly sweet. If you forgo the cranberry juice, you might find yourself in a tropical syrup trap. If cranberries aren't your jam, pomegranate juice could add a similar tartness with a touch more sophistication.

Mary Mitkina

Maraschino Cherry

This little ruby gem is the final flourish, sweet and slightly tart. It's like the umbrella on a sunny day—not always necessary, but it sure makes things look festive. Skip the cherry and the world won’t end, but you'll lose out on that classic cocktail charm.

Emma Rose

Recipe. How to make Italian Surfer Drink

  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.
  2. Pour 1 oz of coconut rum and 1 oz of amaretto into the shaker.
  3. Add 2 oz of pineapple juice and 2 oz of cranberry juice.
  4. Shake well until the mixture is chilled.
  5. Strain the contents into an ice-filled Collins or highball glass.
  6. Garnish with a maraschino cherry on top.

Pro Tips

  • Chill the glass before serving to keep the drink cooler for longer.
  • If you prefer a less sweet cocktail, you can adjust the juice ratios or use a splash of club soda.
  • For an extra touch of elegance, rim the glass with sugar or garnish with a tropical fruit slice.

Perfect Pairings


  • Cheese Platters: A selection of soft cheeses, like mozzarella and ricotta, complements the fruity and sweet notes of the Italian Surfer.
  • Seafood Dishes: Light seafood dishes, such as grilled shrimp or calamari, pair delightfully with the tropical and nutty flavors of the cocktail.
  • Fruit Salads: A fresh fruit salad with pineapple and berries enhances the refreshing qualities of the drink.


  • Coconut Desserts: Items like coconut cream pie or macaroons echo the coconut rum in the cocktail.
  • Chocolate Almond Treats: Chocolate desserts with almond accents play off the amaretto's rich, nutty notes.
  • Tropical Sorbets: Pineapple or mango sorbet would be a refreshing complement to the cocktail's fruity characteristics.

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What you could change in Italian Surfer

  • Coconut Rum: Malibu is a popular choice, but any coconut-flavored rum will work.
  • Amaretto: Disaronno is a well-known brand, but any almond-flavored liqueur can be used.
  • Pineapple Juice: Freshly squeezed juice is ideal, but store-bought works in a pinch.
  • Cranberry Juice: 100% cranberry juice provides the best flavor, but cranberry juice cocktail can be used for a sweeter taste.

Explore all drinks starting with I here

And of course - twists🍹

Dark Surfer

Ingredients: Dark Rum, Amaretto, Pineapple Juice, Cranberry Juice, Orange Wheel

  • Swap the coconut rum for dark rum for a richer, more robust flavor.
  • The orange wheel garnish adds a citrusy aroma and a hint of bitterness.
  • Expect a moodier ocean with waves of complex, caramel flavors.

Green Wave

Ingredients: Coconut Rum, Midori Melon Liqueur, Pineapple Juice, Lime Juice, Kiwi Slices

  • Replace half the amaretto with Midori for a fresh, melon twist.
  • Use lime juice instead of cranberry juice for a tart kick.
  • This version feels like catching a wave in a lush, tropical paradise.

Nutty Sailor

Ingredients: Coconut Rum, Frangelico, Pineapple Juice, Cranberry Juice, Hazelnut

  • Use Frangelico hazelnut liqueur instead of amaretto for a nuttier profile.
  • Garnish with a whole hazelnut for an extra crunch.
  • Sail through a sea of smoother, toastier notes with this variation.

In case you forgot basics how to make Italian Surfer

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 Italian Surfer

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

A Collins or highball glass is typically used for serving the Italian Surfer to accommodate the volume of the mixed drink and ice.

How can I garnish the Italian Surfer cocktail besides maraschino cherry?

Garnishing options include a wedge of pineapple, a slice of lime, or an orange peel twist to complement the tropical theme of the drink.

Can the Italian Surfer cocktail be made as a non-alcoholic version?

Yes, a mocktail version can be created by substituting the alcoholic components with almond and coconut-flavored syrups or non-alcoholic liqueurs.

Is the Italian Surfer suitable for batch preparation for parties?

Absolutely, it's a great choice for parties. You can mix the ingredients in larger quantities and serve it from a punch bowl or beverage dispenser.

How can I make the Italian Surfer cocktail stronger?

To increase the alcohol content, you can add an extra half ounce of both the coconut rum and amaretto, or introduce a splash of vodka.

Is the Italian Surfer considered a tiki cocktail?

While it has tropical elements, the Italian Surfer is not traditionally categorized as a tiki drink due to its lack of traditional tiki ingredients and presentation.

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