Kon-Tiki Tropical Itch

Kon-Tiki Tropical Itch

If you should not know this cocktail, I guess your thoughts will circle around one particular question right now… “What the hell is this thing in the glass?” This is not really surprising, because the garnish for this drink is perhaps one of the craziest ever; if not completely stupid. At least that’s how I felt while I was looking for a wooden backscratcher for the first time in order to use it for cocktail purposes.

But as strange as that may seem, the wooden backscratcher simply is a must for this drink. Without a backscratcher it just would be incomplete. I have already seen smaller backscratchers sticking out of the drink every now and then; as if that were somehow less dominant and more subtle. But since I thought to myself: “If you’re going to do something, then do it!” I have decided to use a regular backscratcher to garnish the drink. Because a backscratcher should be a thing able to scratch backs, don’t you think? But now let’s finally talk about the drink itself.

Today’s cocktail answers to the programmatic name “Kon-Tiki Tropical Itch”. As you might recognize when reading this name and having another look on the presentation: We are dealing with a drink from the classic Polynesian inspired Tiki genre. The drink in fact was invented by Hawaiian Bartender Harry K. Yee, who has contributed very much to the popularization of Tiki-style drinks. He was also among the first to use cocktail parasols as a garnish. Yee created this recipe to pay tribute to the Norwegian ethnologist and archaeologist Thor Heyerdahl who started an ocean journey with a wooden raft from Peru across the Pacific. This has not only been an important milestone for ethnology but was also received as a major media event back in 1947 and in subsequent years. The extraordinary garnish led to a certain popularity of the Kon-Tiki Tropical Itch. But it is not only the garnishing element that’s extraordinary. Who likes a good Tiki cocktail every now and then will definitely like this recipe a lot. It is exotic and fruity, without being overpowered by juices, and still has a very interesting complexity.

The recipe I have used is adopted from the Mixology magazine who themselves adopted it from Jeff “Beachbum” Berry. I think it leads to an excellent result. The unusual combination of gin and rum bestows this cocktail with a very special character.


3 cl Gin
3 cl white Rum
2 drops almond flavouring (which you will find in the baking needs-section of any supermarket)
5 fresh mango cubes (about 2cm x 2cm)
1 cl cinnamon syrup
1.5 cl lime juice

Preparation: Mix all ingredients with a handful of crushed ice in your electric blender and blend thoroughly. Then pour everything into your glass or mug.

Glass: Tiki mug or highball

Garnish: wooden backscratcher

Buying sources: All ingredients should be available in any well-stocked supermarket. In order to acquire a wooden backscratcher you might nonetheless need to visit other places.

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