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  • Writer's pictureBamboo Sam

Macadamia Nut Chi Chi

Updated: Feb 21, 2020

A rum-less Tiki drink, and a fave of the Mrs.



Tiki drinks may have started out as Ruhm Rhapsodies in the mind of Don the Beachcomber but 2 facts keep other liquors in play in all of Tikidom. 1) Tiki bars need to sell drinks to stay open, and 2) Some patrons will want the liquor they normally drink. As such there is a rich history of both Tikifying traditional cocktails and substituting other liquors for rum in Tiki cocktails. Best of all are the Tiki drinks created with other liquors plus rum! but I digress...


The Macadamia Nut Chi Chi is one of those drinks that whose origins are debatable. It's based upon the Chi Chi which is pidgin for "mother's milk". The Chi Chi is typically credited to Don the Beachcomber but it's simply a Piña Colada using vodka instead of rum - not sure I'd be too worried about getting credit for that. The Macadamia Nut Chi Chi goes one step further by adding Trader Vic's Macadamia Nut Liqueur to the mix. Between the vodka cutting down on the sweetness (compared to rum) and the nuttiness of the Macadamia Nut liqueur, the drink transforms from a sister of the Piña Colada to much more exotic cousin (twice removed, of course).


As a favorite of Mrs. Bamboo Sam¹, I make a lot of these. They are a wonderful after dinner drink and offer more than a few opportunities to impress vis-a-vis garnishes. You can go simple with a pineapple wedge and a cherry like a Piña Colada, add fire like a Coconaut w/ Re-entry, or go for broke by serving it in a pineapple like a Boo-Loo!


Macadamia Nut Chi Chi

  • 4 ounces Vodka

  • 2 1/2 ounces Trader Vic's Macadamia Nut Liqueur

  • 8 ounces unsweetened pineapple juice

  • 2 ounces coconut cream*


Add 2 cups of crushed ice and blend until creamy. As with any drink that is more than 50% juice, thee quality of the juice makes a tremendous difference. Canned pineapple juice works well but fresh juice puts this drink over the top. Just be careful, it'll make it hard to go back to the canned stuff! Beachbum Berry says this serves two but that has not been my experience... Garnish is variable as noted above but if Piña Coladas are on the menu I'd make sure they were dressed differently as they look identical.


*Bamboo Sam's customizations: I am certain that this was originally made with Coco Lopez coconut cream as it's based upon the Piña Colada and it certainly used Coco Lopez. I'm not a huge fan of frozen drinks so I tend to use the Smuggler's Cove Coconut Cream Syrup as it mixes better than Coco Lopez due to being less thick and oily. This also allows you to make this using a spindle mixer instead of a blender (or blend it less in the blender) so that you get the froth and creaminess without having to go full on frozen.

¹She's still not answering to Mrs. Bamboo Sam BTW...

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