Marisa Chafetz / Supercall

Entertaining
Bartender Challenge: Malibu Rum

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You might associate Malibu Coconut Rum with that “one night” in college that you’d prefer to forget. Or maybe you’ve never lost a taste for the spirit and enjoy it as a guilty pleasure every now and then. Or maybe you’re proud of your love of the tropical rum and call for it loudly at the bar. Wherever you fall on the Malibu love-hate spectrum, you need to try it again—this time in an expertly crafted cocktail.

We asked five bartenders to make a delicious cocktail with the coconut rum. The results are impressive, and each drink will satisfy both the mixology nerd and the drinking newbie. If you’re looking to use up that bottle of Malibu or simply want to show the haters what the coconut rum can do, whip up one of these tasty, tropical cocktails at home.

Marisa Chafetz / Supercall
Malibu cocktails don’t have to be sweet. In fact, the coconut rum has a place in cocktails that are downright bitter. Cody Held, a bartender at Zero Restaurant in the Zero George hotel in Charleston, South Carolina, uses a mix of two Italian amari—Zucca and Campari—to balance Malibu’s sweet flavor. He shakes everything together with lemon juice, Peychaud’s bitters and two pieces of salted pineapple, which deepen the tropical flavors without adding too much sweetness. Garnished with a bright, beautiful flower, this sunny sipper is perfect for serving at a garden soiree.

The Essentials

Malibu
Pimm's
Zucca Rabarbaro
Marisa Chafetz / Supercall
Sparkling wine has the power to class-up anything, whether you pour it into a Guinness or add it to a Rum & Coke. Bartender Luis Serrano of The Penrose in NYC had the same idea when he decided to mix bubbly with Malibu. "The cocktail [Beautiful Audrey] is a version of the Old Cuban by Audrey Sanders of Pegu Club and Clover Club,” he says. “The inspiration came after learning that Clover just celebrated its 10th anniversary, which is quite rare in this industry." He mixes coconut rum with muddled mint and blueberries, fresh lime juice and Angostura bitters for depth and balance. The resulting cocktail is impressive enough to serve to your most highbrow friends, but it’s also easy drinking for cocktail newbies.

The Essentials

Malibu
lime juice
Blueberries
Marisa Chafetz / Supercall
This variation on a Pisco Sour from bartender Mike Di Tota of The Bonnie is equal parts nostalgia and delicious tropical beverage. “One of the first things I ever drank was coconut rum and Pepsi, out of a Nalgene [bottle] at a street fair in San Diego with my friend and his older sister,” Di Tota says. “It tasted like the half Piña Colada, half Pepsi Slurpees I sucked down as a kid.” All the usual suspects are in here—pisco, egg whites, lime juice—but Di Tota also adds Malibu coconut rum, chamomile liqueur and dried flowers to the drink, which give the frothy beverage a funky, floral flavor. “Chamomile tea is very popular in the Caribbean islands,” he adds. “It's a summery, island-ish take on a Pisco Sour, one of my favorite drinks now that Pepsi is no longer my go-to mixer."

The Essentials

Malibu
pisco
Lime Juice
Marisa Chafetz / Supercall
We love our Piña Coladas at Supercall, but when made properly with Coco Lopez, the frozen cocktail can be heavy and packed with sugar—not something we want to be drinking all the time. Sweet Afton’s Cory Miller feels the same, which is why he made this version with Malibu Rum in place of the canned coconut cream. “I wanted to create a Piña Colada variation without using Coco Lopez, which I don't love, so instead I combined coconut rum and an egg for a savory thickness,” Miller says. “Coconut flavor can be overwhelming on its own, so when I use Malibu, I cut it with another rum and another spirit. If there's too much coconut in a drink, it destroys it—it becomes too sweet, and I can tell I'll have a hangover in two hours." Miller uses Plantation Pineapple Rum and Cynar, an artichoke amaro, to subdue the sweetness of the drink. Cinnamon syrup gives it a spiced depth, which somehow makes it taste even more tropical than the original.

The Essentials

Malibu
cynar
Pineapple Juice
Marisa Chafetz / Supercall
To some, Malibu might already seem pretty exotic due to its coconut flavor. But Melissa Yard of Joséphine Wine Bar in Charleston, SC takes its faraway flavors up a notch with the addition of ginger syrup and turmeric-lemongrass infused coconut milk. Both the syrup and the infused coconut milk are simple to make, and you’ll be glad you took the time to whip them up when you take your first sip. The honeyed scotch liqueur Drambuie makes an appearance to lend some herbal sweetness, and fresh lime juice gives the drink a tart edge. Roll the rim of the glass in toasted coconut for a treat that both looks and tastes delicious.

The Essentials

lime juice
malibu
turmeric-lemongrass infused coconut milk

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