Pearl Diver Cocktail Recipe

The Pearl Diver is no ordinary cocktail recipe. It’s tiki, and it’s absolutely wild. It’s perfect for summer, or anytime you’d rather be on an island somewhere.

Pearl Diver cocktail garnished with an edible orchid

 The Pearl Diver cocktail is a classic tiki drink that’s been enjoyed for decades. With a perfect blend of tart lime and orange juice and intriguing spicy-sweet notes from a homemade mixer, this cocktail will make you feel like you’re on a beach.

Donn the Beachcomber and the Pearl Diver Cocktail

The Pearl Diver Cocktail is a classic tiki drink that is still enjoyed by many today. Donn Beach, or Don the Beachcomber, invented it as a take on the Hot Buttered Rum.

It involves a special butter syrup created by Donn. A simple pat of butter wasn’t good enough for this cocktail. No, this is a cinnamon and spice honey butter that’s out of this world.

And then you garnish the drink with an edible orchid. It makes for a stunning presentation.

Don’s Gardenia Mix for Tiki Cocktails

That butter syrup is called Don’s Gardenia Mix. It’s a whipped butter recipe you could eat by the spoonful. You’ll need a hand blender to make it.

Not surprisingly, it gives the drink a creamy mouthfeel which is just sumptuous.

Expert Tips for the Best Pearl Diver Cocktail

  • Use fresh fruit juice instead of bottled for a more vibrant flavor.
  • Make the butter syrup ahead of time so it has at least a little time to sit and let the flavors incorporate.
  • Shake the cocktail for at least 30 seconds to get that butter syrup well-mixed.
  • Use the correct rums for the best flavor. Brand doesn’t matter so much, but type does.
  • The edible orchid may not be the easiest garnish to find, but it’s worth it for presentation.

Feel free to experiment with different variations to find the perfect combination of sweetness, tartness, and strength for your taste. 

Serving Suggestions and Pairings for Your Pearl Diver Cocktail

The perfect Pearl Diver glass is a tiki mug. But feel free to serve it in any wide glass with plenty of room crushed ice. The rich quality of the drink makes it the perfect accompaniment to light, tropical fare such as seafood or grilled vegetables.

If you’re planning a party, consider having a tiki-themed gathering and serving other classic drinks alongside the Pearl Diver. The Pearl Diver Cocktail is best enjoyed on a warm day with friends and family.

But it’s also great anytime you’re wishing you could be somewhere else. It certainly sweeps your away.

Enjoy your Pearl Diver

The Pearl Diver Cocktail is a classic tiki drink that has stood the test of time. With its refreshing citrus flavor and sweetness from the Gardenia Mix, it’s the perfect cocktail for warm weather and outdoor gatherings.

Using fresh lime juice, high-quality white rum, and Gardenia Mix, along with thorough shaking, will give you the perfect Pearl Diver Cocktail. 

Pearl Diver cocktail garnished with an edible orchid
Yield: 1 drink

Pearl Diver Cocktail Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

The Pearl Diver cocktail featuring rum, lime and orange juice, and Gardenia Mix, was Donn Beach's answer to a tiki version of the Hot Buttered Rum.


  • 1 ½ oz gold rum
  • ½ oz Demerara rum
  • ½ oz Don's Gardenia Mix
  • ½ oz freshly squeezed lime juice
  • ½ oz freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters


  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.
  2. Pour all ingredients into the shaker.
  3. Shake vigorously until well-chilled.
  4. Strain it into a glass.
  5. Top with crushed ice.
  6. Garnish with an edible orchid.

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