Shrunken Skull Cocktail Drink

Shrunken Skull

A shot of Gavin Wrigley looking to the camera in a dimly lit room
Written by Gavin Wrigley
Andrea
Tested by
Andrea Ottaiano

Ready to shake up a memorable drink? The shrunken skull cocktail recipe has all the ingredients to make your next event unforgettable.

Shrunken Skull Cocktail Recipe

Quench your thirst with our Shrunken Skull Cocktail recipe! With a blend of rums and tangy lime juice, it's the drink you've been waiting for this season.

Prep time:

1 minute

Mixing time:

1 minute

Servings:

1

Calories:

200 kl

Ingredients

  • 1 oz Gold Rum
  • 1 oz Demerara Rum
  • ¾ oz grenadine
  • ¾ oz lime juice
  • Crushed ice

Equipment

  • Tiki Mug, Old fashioned or Skull glass
  • Measuring Jigger
  • Shaker

Instructions

  • Add ¾ oz lime juice, ¾ oz grenadine, 1 oz Gold Rum, and 1 oz Demerara Rum into the shaker.
  • Fill the shaker three-quarters full with either crushed or cubed ice, depending on whether you want less or more dilution.
  • Shake until well-chilled.
  • Pour the shaken drink into a skull glass filled with crushed ice.
  • Add more ice into the skull glass, if necessary.

Notes

Substitutes:

From personal experience, any dark rum makes a decent stand-in if you can't find Demerara rum, though it might alter the flavor profile slightly. If you run out of grenadine, a simple syrup infused with pomegranate juice works wonders. And for lime juice, while nothing beats fresh, good-quality bottled lime juice can save the day in a pinch.

Making a Pitcher of Shrunken Skull Cocktail:

  • Scale: To create a pitcher serving 8, multiply all the ingredients by 8. So, you'd need 8 oz of gold rum, 8 oz of Demerara rum, 6 oz of grenadine, and 6 oz of lime juice.
  • Mix: In a large pitcher, combine all the ingredients. Stir well.

Making it Non-Alcoholic:

  • Gold Rum Substitute: Opt for a non-alcoholic tropical fruit juice, like pineapple or mango, to mimic the sweetness of rum.
  • Demerara Rum Substitute: Use a non-alcoholic caramel syrup to give that deep, rich flavor characteristic of Demerara rum.
  • Proceed with the rest of the original ingredients and steps. Remember, when omitting alcoholic content, you might need to adjust the sweetness or sourness to taste.

Making it Vegan:

The primary concern in making cocktails vegan often relates to additives and colorants in syrups or liqueurs. Grenadine, traditionally made from pomegranate juice and sugar, should be vegan. However, some commercial versions might contain non-vegan additives. Always check the label or make homemade grenadine using pomegranate juice and sugar.

Nutrition Facts

Calories
200
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
0.01
g
0
%
Sodium
 
15
mg
1
%
Carbohydrates
 
16
g
5
%
Fiber
 
0.1
g
0
%
Sugar
 
10
g
11
%
Potassium
 
32
mg
1
%
Protein
 
0.1
g
0
%
Vitamin A
 
11
IU
0
%
Vitamin C
 
6
mg
7
%
Calcium
 
4
mg
0
%
Iron
 
0.03
mg
0
%

 

Shrunken Skull Cocktail Drink

Shrunken Skull Cocktail Recipe

Gavin Wrigley Written by Gavin Wrigley
Jump to Video
Quench your thirst with our Shrunken Skull Cocktail recipe! With a blend of rums and tangy lime juice, it's the drink you've been waiting for this season.
Prep time: 1 minute
Mixing time: 1 minute
Servings: 1
Calories: 200

Ingredients
 

  • 1 oz Gold Rum
  • 1 oz Demerara Rum
  • ¾ oz grenadine
  • ¾ oz lime juice
  • Crushed ice

Equipment

  • Tiki Mug, Old fashioned or Skull glass
  • Measuring Jigger
  • Shaker

Instructions

  • Add ¾ oz lime juice, ¾ oz grenadine, 1 oz Gold Rum, and 1 oz Demerara Rum into the shaker.
  • Fill the shaker three-quarters full with either crushed or cubed ice, depending on whether you want less or more dilution.
  • Shake until well-chilled.
  • Pour the shaken drink into a skull glass filled with crushed ice.
  • Add more ice into the skull glass, if necessary.

Notes

Substitutes:

From personal experience, any dark rum makes a decent stand-in if you can't find Demerara rum, though it might alter the flavor profile slightly. If you run out of grenadine, a simple syrup infused with pomegranate juice works wonders. And for lime juice, while nothing beats fresh, good-quality bottled lime juice can save the day in a pinch.

Making a Pitcher of Shrunken Skull Cocktail:

  • Scale: To create a pitcher serving 8, multiply all the ingredients by 8. So, you'd need 8 oz of gold rum, 8 oz of Demerara rum, 6 oz of grenadine, and 6 oz of lime juice.
  • Mix: In a large pitcher, combine all the ingredients. Stir well.

Making it Non-Alcoholic:

  • Gold Rum Substitute: Opt for a non-alcoholic tropical fruit juice, like pineapple or mango, to mimic the sweetness of rum.
  • Demerara Rum Substitute: Use a non-alcoholic caramel syrup to give that deep, rich flavor characteristic of Demerara rum.
  • Proceed with the rest of the original ingredients and steps. Remember, when omitting alcoholic content, you might need to adjust the sweetness or sourness to taste.

Making it Vegan:

The primary concern in making cocktails vegan often relates to additives and colorants in syrups or liqueurs. Grenadine, traditionally made from pomegranate juice and sugar, should be vegan. However, some commercial versions might contain non-vegan additives. Always check the label or make homemade grenadine using pomegranate juice and sugar.

What is a Shrunken Skull Cocktail?

Shrunken Skull cocktail blends gold rum, Demerara rum, lime juice, and grenadine. Many appreciate it for its deep, rum-forward flavor combined with a hint of tang from the lime. 

A side shot of a Shrunken Skull cocktail in a skull glass on a grey stone coaster placed on a red table with a red cloth, three limes, a plant and a jigger around, in fornt of a grey wall.

What is a Shrunken Skull Cocktail made of – The ingredients

Prepare these ingredients before making a Shrunken Skull cocktail:

  • Gold Rum: A type of rum that has been aged, giving the cocktail a smooth and mellow character.
  • Demerara Rum: A rum produced in the region of Guyana, it takes its name from the Demerara river. It is commonly known for its Dark variety with rich caramel and molasses notes, adding depth to the drink.
  • Lime Juice: Introduces a tartness, balancing out the sweetness of other ingredients.
  • Grenadine: A sweet syrup made from pomegranate juice, providing the cocktail with a fruity undertone.

Gold Rum, Demerara Rum, two limes and grenadine laid out on a white bar table

How do you make a Shrunken Skull Cocktail?

Let our step-by-step guide help you make a Shrunken Skull Cocktail:

1
<p>Add grenadine into the shaker to introduce a touch of fruity sweetness.</p>

Add grenadine into the shaker to introduce a touch of fruity sweetness.

2
<p>Pour lime juice to the mixture to infuse a tangy note.</p>

Pour lime juice to the mixture to infuse a tangy note.

3
<p>Add Gold Rum into the shaker.</p>

Add Gold Rum into the shaker.

4
<p>Add Demerara Rum into the shaker.</p>

Add Demerara Rum into the shaker.

5
<p>Fill the shaker three-quarters full with ice.</p>

Fill the shaker three-quarters full with ice.

6
<p>Shake the ingredients vigorously to ensure they blend well and achieve a consistent flavor throughout.</p>

Shake the ingredients vigorously to ensure they blend well and achieve a consistent flavor throughout.

7
<p>Pour the mixture into the skull glass.</p>

Pour the mixture into the skull glass.

8
<p>If necessary, add more crushed ice into the skull glass.</p>

If necessary, add more crushed ice into the skull glass.

9
<p>Enjoy your Shrunken Skull cocktail!</p>

Enjoy your Shrunken Skull cocktail!

Is the Shrunken Skull a Tiki Cocktail?

The Shrunken Skull undeniably claims its spot in the lineup of classic tiki cocktails. Originating from the vibrant tiki culture that bloomed in the mid-20th century, it carries the hallmarks of tiki’s love for rum and tropical flavors.

A side shot of a Shrunken Skull cocktail in a skull glass on a grey stone coaster placed on a red table with a red cloth and a jigger around.

History and Origin of the Shrunken Skull Cocktail

The Shrunken Skull Cocktail traces its roots back to the tiki culture, which emerged predominantly in the United States during the mid-20th century. Donn Beach and Trader Vic, two prominent figures in the tiki movement, popularized numerous rum-based drinks in their establishments, leading to a nationwide craze for Polynesian-inspired lounges and cocktails.

While the Shrunken Skull isn’t as famous as some of its tiki counterparts, like the Mai Tai or Zombie, it embodies the essence of tiki drinks – a blend of various rums with tropical flavors. The cocktail’s name, “Shrunken Skull,” likely derives from the exotic and sometimes macabre motifs in tiki decor and themes, invoking images of tribal rituals and far-off islands.

A Shrunken Skull cocktail, shot from above, in a skull glass on a white marmol table with a grenadine bottle, a Demerara Rum bottle, a Gold Rum bottle, and two limes around.

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FAQ

How many calories does a Shrunken Skull cocktail typically have?
A standard serving contains approximately 150-200 calories, depending on the specific ingredients and portions used.
How strong is the Shrunken Skull cocktail in terms of ABV and proof?
Typically, the cocktail has an ABV of around 25-30%, making it 50-60 proof, contingent upon the rums used.
What types of alcohol are used in a Shrunken Skull cocktail?
The primary alcohols in this cocktail are gold rum and Demerara rum.
In which glass is the Shrunken Skull cocktail usually served?
It's commonly served in a tiki mug or an Old Fashioned glass.
What does the Shrunken Skull cocktail taste like?
It offers a balance of sweet and tart flavors with the depth and warmth of rum, complemented by the fruity undertone of grenadine and the tanginess of lime.
What's the typical ratio of ingredients in the Shrunken Skull?
The classic ratio equals gold rum, Demerara rum, lime juice, and grenadine.
How is the Shrunken Skull cocktail served in terms of ice?
It's usually shaken with either cubed or crushed ice and then strained into a glass filled with crushed ice. 

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