Tropical Itch


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Welcome to the vibrant world of the Tropical Itch, a cocktail that embodies the spirit of Hawaiian leisure and exotic flavors. This drink is a symphony of rum, bourbon, and tropical fruit juices, guaranteed to transport you to a beachside paradise with every sip. Let’s dive into the essence of this unique concoction and discover why it’s a must-try for any cocktail enthusiast.

The Tropical Itch is not just a drink; it’s an experience. With its bold flavors and playful presentation, it’s the perfect centerpiece for any social gathering or a relaxing evening at home. Stick around as we explore the rich tapestry of tastes and the storied history behind this tropical treasure.

Whether you’re a seasoned mixologist or a curious newcomer, the Tropical Itch offers something for everyone. Its balance of sweetness and strength makes it a versatile choice for various occasions. Now, let’s get to know this delightful drink a little better.

Key Facts About the Tropical Itch

  • Alcohol Volume: Approximately 40% ABV (80 proof)
  • Calories: Approximately 250 kcal
  • Glass Type: Tiki mug or highball glass
  • Typical Garnish: Orchid and backscratcher

Interesting Facts about the Tropical Itch

The Tropical Itch is renowned for its signature garnish, a backscratcher, which adds a touch of whimsy and a nod to its name. This cocktail is not only a feast for the palate but also for the eyes, often served in ornate tiki mugs that enhance its exotic appeal.

Originating from the Hawaiian islands, the Tropical Itch was created to capture the essence of the tropics. Its combination of rums and bourbon is a nod to the island’s history of sugarcane plantations and the spirit of aloha.

Tropical Itch Cocktail

Tasting Notes

The Tropical Itch is a harmonious blend of sweet and tangy flavors, with the richness of rum and bourbon providing a robust backdrop. The passion fruit and pineapple juices offer a refreshing zest, making it an ideal choice for summer parties or as a relaxing drink after a long day.

Its bold taste profile appeals to those who enjoy a stronger cocktail with a fruity twist. The Tropical Itch is perfect for celebrations or as a festive addition to a themed event, bringing a touch of the tropics to any occasion.

With its vibrant flavors, the Tropical Itch is a crowd-pleaser that suits a variety of tastes. It’s a drink that promises to leave a lasting impression, whether you’re hosting a luau or simply indulging in a tropical escape at home.

History of the Tropical Itch

The Tropical Itch has a storied past, with its roots deeply embedded in Hawaiian cocktail culture. It emerged during the mid-20th century tiki bar craze, where tropical-themed establishments served elaborate drinks to an eager post-war America.

Its creation is attributed to the legendary mixologist Harry Yee, who was known for his innovative and visually stunning cocktails. Yee’s flair for combining local ingredients with exotic spirits led to the birth of the Tropical Itch, among other tiki classics.

The cocktail quickly gained popularity for its unique blend of flavors and its playful presentation. Over the years, the Tropical Itch has become a beloved staple in the world of tiki drinks, maintaining its status as a symbol of tropical indulgence and relaxation.

Tropical Itch Ingredients

Each ingredient in the Tropical Itch plays a crucial role in creating its distinctive taste:

  • Light Rum (1 oz / 30 ml): Adds a smooth, subtle sweetness.
  • Dark Rum (1 oz / 30 ml): Provides a rich, molasses-like depth.
  • Bourbon (1/2 oz / 15 ml): Introduces a hint of smokiness and complexity.
  • Orange Curaçao (1/2 oz / 15 ml): Offers a citrusy, slightly bitter counterpoint.
  • Passion Fruit Juice (3 oz / 90 ml): Delivers a tropical, tart flavor.
  • Pineapple Juice (1 oz / 30 ml): Contributes sweetness and acidity.
  • Angostura Bitters (1 dash): Adds a layer of spice and balances the sweetness.
  • Crushed Ice (1 cup / 240 ml): Chills and dilutes the drink to perfection.

Did you know?

The backscratcher garnish is not just for show; it’s a nod to the ‘itch’ you can’t scratch for a tropical vacation.

Preparing Tropical Itch

Tropical Itch Method

Creating the perfect Tropical Itch involves a series of steps to ensure the flavors meld beautifully:

Chill the Glass

Start by filling your tiki mug or highball glass with crushed ice to chill the vessel.

Combine the Spirits and Juices

Pour in the light rum, dark rum, bourbon, and orange curaçao, followed by the passion fruit and pineapple juices.

Add Bitters and Stir

Introduce a dash of Angostura bitters and stir the mixture well to integrate all the ingredients.


Complete the presentation with an optional orchid and the iconic backscratcher garnish.

Serving Suggestion

The Tropical Itch is traditionally served in a tiki mug or highball glass, which not only keeps the drink cold but also adds to its exotic allure. The choice of glassware is part of the cocktail’s identity, reflecting its tiki bar origins.

Garnishes play a significant role in the presentation of the Tropical Itch. An orchid adds a touch of elegance, while the backscratcher is a whimsical reminder of the drink’s playful nature. Preparing these garnishes with care enhances the overall experience.

Elevating the Tropical Itch

To elevate the Tropical Itch to professional mixologist standards, consider the following tips:

Use Fresh Juices

Opt for freshly squeezed passion fruit and pineapple juices for a brighter, more authentic flavor.

Experiment with Rums

Select high-quality rums with distinct profiles to add complexity to the drink.

Chill Properly

Ensure the glass is thoroughly chilled before serving to maintain the ideal temperature throughout the drinking experience.

Tropical Itch Cocktail Served

Substitutions and Alternatives for the Tropical Itch

If certain ingredients are unavailable, consider these substitutions to still enjoy a similar tropical cocktail:

  • Replace orange curaçao with triple sec for a similar citrus flavor.
  • Use grenadine in place of passion fruit juice for a sweeter profile.
  • For a non-alcoholic version, omit the spirits and add a splash of ginger ale.

Similar cocktails include the Mai Tai and the Hurricane, which share the rum base and tropical vibe.

Add a Twist

As an expert mixologist, you can put a new spin on the Tropical Itch with these variations:

  • Infuse the rums with tropical fruits like mango or guava for added depth.
  • Add a splash of coconut cream for a creamy, piña colada-like texture.
  • Introduce a smoky element with a mezcal rinse of the glass before pouring the drink.

Preferred Liquors for the Tropical Itch

For the best Tropical Itch, consider using these specific brands and products:

  • For light rum, a clean and crisp variety like Bacardi Superior.
  • Choose a dark rum with full-bodied flavor, such as Myers’s Original Dark.
  • Select a bourbon with a smooth finish, like Buffalo Trace or Maker’s Mark.

Similar Cocktails to the Tropical Itch

If you enjoy the Tropical Itch, you might also like these similar cocktails:

  • Mai Tai: Another rum-based cocktail with a tropical flair.
  • Zombie: A potent tiki drink with a complex blend of rums and fruit juices.
  • Blue Hawaiian: A visually striking cocktail with a sweet, fruity taste.

Food Pairings to go with the Tropical Itch

The Tropical Itch pairs well with a variety of foods, especially those with a tropical or Asian influence. Consider these pairings:

  • Grilled shrimp skewers with a mango salsa complement the cocktail’s sweetness.
  • Spicy tuna poke bowls offer a contrast to the drink’s fruity notes.
  • Coconut-based desserts like panna cotta or macaroons echo the tropical theme.

Tropical Itch FAQs

Here are some common questions and detailed answers about the Tropical Itch:

  1. Can I make a large batch of the Tropical Itch for a party? Yes, simply multiply the ingredients by the number of servings you need.
  2. Is there a non-alcoholic version of the Tropical Itch? Yes, omit the spirits and add ginger ale or a mix of tropical fruit juices.
  3. What can I use if I don’t have Angostura bitters? You can substitute with other aromatic bitters or a squeeze of lime for acidity.
  4. How can I make the Tropical Itch less sweet? Reduce the amount of fruit juice or add more bitters to balance the sweetness.
  5. Can I use regular ice cubes instead of crushed ice? Yes, but crushed ice is preferred for its quick chilling effect and traditional presentation.
Tropical Itch_001

Tropical Itch

A classic Hawaiian cocktail, the Tropical Itch is an exotic drink that combines the flavors of rum, bourbon, and tropical fruits. It's known for its unique presentation, often garnished with a long backscratcher.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
0 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Cocktail
Cuisine Hawaiian
Servings 1 cocktail
Calories 250 kcal


  • Tiki mug or highball glass
  • Measuring Jigger
  • Stirrer
  • crushed ice maker or bag for crushing ice


  • 1 oz Light Rum
  • 1 oz Dark Rum
  • 1/2 oz Bourbon
  • 1/2 oz Orange Curaçao
  • 3 oz Passion Fruit Juice
  • 1 oz Pineapple Juice
  • 1 dash Angostura Bitters
  • 1 cup Crushed Ice
  • 1 Orchid garnish (optional)
  • 1 Backscratcher garnish (optional)


  • Fill a large tiki mug or highball glass with crushed ice.
  • Pour the light rum, dark rum, bourbon, orange curaçao, passion fruit juice, and pineapple juice over the ice.
  • Add a dash of Angostura bitters.
  • Stir the mixture well to combine the ingredients.
  • Garnish with an orchid and a backscratcher, if available.


The Tropical Itch is a strong cocktail that combines different spirits. Its presentation is key to its tropical allure, so don't forget the garnishes that make it stand out.
Keyword Angostura Bitters, bourbon, Cocktail, dark rum, Exotic Cocktail, Hawaiian Drink, Light Rum, Orange Curaçao, Passion Fruit Juice, pineapple juice, Rum, tropical drink, Tropical Itch

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