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The Chief Lapu Lapu is a drink that you’ll see popping up on drink menus at most tiki bars, but like most tiki drinks, the exact cocktail that you are going to be served varies from location to location. Unlike the Mai Tai, which can vary dramatically in flavor, the Lapu Lapu is a little bit more consistent in that it is a pretty fruit-forward drink and (most of the time) it pairs those fruits with a nice dark rum flavor. We’ve had some that are very orangy, some that are very pineapple-y and some that are dominated by a sweet-tart passion fruit flavor. This recipe is based on the Lapu Lapu that was served at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel in Laguna Beach. The cocktail was the signature drink of the Polynesian-themed hotel, which closed its doors back in 2012 after more than six decades in business.
The drink is juicy, refreshing and easy to drink. It’s fairly sweet, but the fresh lemon juice keeps it nicely balanced. We used Meyer’s Dark Rum, but any dark Jamaican rum will make a nice version of this drink if you have other brands that you want to play around with. Don’t be tempted to use bottled orange or lemon juice in this drink because it won’t be the same, however you can use bottled passion fruit puree, which you can find at most well-stocked spirits stores. The bottled puree is nice to have on hand for easy drink mixing, though you can make your own (slightly more tart) puree by combining 1/2 cup strained passion fruit pulp with 1 cup of simple syrup.
Chief Lapu Lapu
3/4 oz dark rum
3/4 oz light rum
1 oz lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1 1/2 oz orange juice, freshly squeezed
1 ounce passion fruit puree
1/2 oz simple syrup
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker, fill with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a rocks glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with an orange wedge or orange peel, and an umbrella, if you have one.
Want to try a twist on the original Lapu Lapu? Try this our Lapu Lapu variation with extra passion fruit!