Tropical Itch

Tropical Itch

You may be asking yourself a couple of questions about this picture, such as:

  • Why is there a huge stargazer lily presiding like an ominous alien over the drink?
  • Even though this tiki drink is the same color as nearly every other tiki drink, does it contain a secret ingredient?
  • Is that a wooden back-scratcher?

Well, let’s see. The sweet aroma of the stargazer lily couldn’t be more suited to such a fine drink, though it soon found its way back to the garden as my allergy-entombed nose began to itch like something fierce. Though, as I’ve proven before, my skill in choosing flowers as garnishes proves that, indeed, I am not a botanist. The floral garnish was supposed to be an orchid.

This fine libation was created by Harry Yee, “The Dean of Hawaiian Bartenders,” who is said to have been the first to garnish a drink with an orchid and a paper parasol.

Tropical Itch

  • 8oz passion fruit nectar
  • 1 1/2oz Bacardi 151 rum
  • 1/2oz orange curacao
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 1oz Dark Jamaican rum
  • 1oz Bourbon

Fill a large hurricane glass with crushed ice, add all the ingredients, and stir well. Garnish with pineapple, mint leaves, an orchid, and a wooden back-scratcher

Source: Intoxica! Jeff Berry


The Tropical Itch is the very essence of tiki magic. Every single ingredient blends with the others to create a surreal concoction that surely would brighten the eyes of any tiki fanatic. It’s blatantly obvious how passion fruit nectar is nothing like it’s syrupy counterpart. Instead of packing a sweet-tart punch, the nectar adds a delicate tropical flavor that seeps into every last one of your taste buds. The bitters and curacao work their magic on the rum, but the true surprise is the bourbon. It’s just a hint at the end of every sip, but how divine.

14 Responses to “Tropical Itch”

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14 Comments to “ Tropical Itch”
  1. EricNo Gravatar says:

    nice back scratcher. This one is tasty. I’m so fortunate to be friends with such a drink connoisseur!

  2. JoeNo Gravatar says:

    I have friends here with collections of back scratchers from one of the beachside bars in Waikiki that garnishes their tropical itch with them. The last time we went, they had run out of backscratchers, and everyone was upset (though, it’s not like any of us need any more…)

  3. CraigerNo Gravatar says:

    Beautiful! We’ve got a couple Stargazer lilies in our yard, but the wildife usually eats the buds & blooms before we can enjoy them for too long.:-(

    And I just got my copy of Intoxica! last week, so I’ve been paging through it ever since. Any hints on where to get the various nectars and which brands to look for/avoid? Several of the recipes call for them, but I don’t have the slightest idea where they’d be sold (Although I’m guessing some intensive Googling would likely turn up a few leads).

  4. RickNo Gravatar says:


    I’m pleased to hear that you’ve gotten your copy of Intoxica! It is just a wonderful tome of tiki knowledge, isn’t it?

    I have not looked around all that much for nectars – Wegman’s stocks a few kinds, but I’ve been buying Goya brand in cans, since I can’t finish a whole bottle of papaya nectar before it goes bad. My guess is that Goya is probably low on the list of quality nectars, but they are servicable.

    I have an email in to Kern’s, which Berry recommends, to see if they sell anywhere in PA. They are CA based, so I’m thinking we may be out of luck.

    I’d be very interested to hear what you find out if you dive into an intense search.

  5. erik_flannestadNo Gravatar says:

    The Looza passion fruit nectar is pretty good, if a bit pricey.

    I’ve also tried a couple of the Ceres Fruit Juices and think they are pretty swell.

    They make a passion fruit nectar, that I’ve got in the fridge and hope to try soon in a Tropical Itch.

  6. RickNo Gravatar says:

    I haven’t seen either of those brands in the boonies, but let me know what you think. There’s always the internet.

    On Kern’s, Adam has informed me that although good, they are little better than Goya. Anyone else have experience otherwise?

  7. erik_flannestadNo Gravatar says:

    I tried the Ceres passion fruit nectar in another cocktail last night (still need to get 151 rum for the tropical itch) and was under impressed. I didn’t compare them side by side; but it seems to me the looza juice had a stronger passion fruit flavor.

    I usually find them at health food stores or upscale groceries. I think Whole Foods carries both brands, at least here in San Francisco.

  8. AdamNo Gravatar says:

    I just purchased a bunch of the Ceres nectars on sale at Berkeley Bowl here in CA. So far, I’ve only used a few, but found them to be a good value when considering taste and price. Kern’s, as Rick stated, is sold in cans similar to soft drinks. I often see it here in vending machines. I have only tried a few flavors, and they seem pretty average. However, in the name of science (and by science I mean drinking), I will undertake to perform a taste comparison of cocktails containing Ceres vs. Kern’s. Watch this space and I shall report back with my findings later this weekend.

  9. erik_flannestadNo Gravatar says:

    I went back and tasted the Ceres Passion Fruit juice a couple more times on its own.

    I still find the Passion Fruit flavor very mild. I almost feel like the apple and/or pear juice in the blend dominates and I really only get Passion fruit almost as an aftertaste. But, maybe I’m spoiled ‘cos I had some fresh passion fruit this summer.

    I did think the Ceres guava and apricot juices were good. I’d like to try their pineapple.

  10. RickNo Gravatar says:

    Be on the lookout for a nectar tasting and comparison on Kaiser Penguin soon.

  11. RickNo Gravatar says:

    I’m enjoying the Tropical Itch for the first time with Ceres passion fruit juice. It is easily 2x better than Goya.

  12. jacflashNo Gravatar says:

    I made one of these tonight and thought it was boring as hell (Ceres passion fruit juice, Maker’s Mark, Bols curacao, Appleton Extra, that damned Bacardi 151.) I ended up adding lime and pineapple and grapefruit and various other things to it to try to save it, and splitting it into two drinks. I won’t be making this one again.

  13. RickNo Gravatar says:

    The absolute key is to use Lemon Hart 151. Also, I think you’d fare better with something like Gosling’s for the dark Jamaican… the sweetness will cut through the passion fruit quite well. Let me know if you try it again with those adjustments; I’d be surprised if it didn’t make all the difference in the world.

  14. jacflashNo Gravatar says:

    Well, I will have to use up the rest of the carton of Ceres somehow. :-) I’ll try it with your alterations and report back. Thanks!

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