Caribou Lou - The Sweet and Strong Cocktail That Packs a Punch

Published on 5 March 2023
Caribou Lou - The Sweet and Strong Cocktail That Packs a Punch

If you're looking for a tropical cocktail with a bit of a kick, look no further than Caribou Lou. Made with rum, pineapple juice, and coconut, this Midwest classic has been gaining popularity in recent years for its sweet, refreshing taste and unique flavor profile.

But what exactly is Caribou Lou, and why is it so beloved by Midwesterners? In this article, we'll take a closer look at the history and cultural significance of this tropical drink, as well as provide you with everything you need to know to make the perfect Caribou Lou at home.

So whether you're a longtime fan of this Midwest classic or you're just curious about trying something new, read on to discover the magic of Caribou Lou.

Caribou Lou 101: What You Need to Know

Caribou Lou is a refreshing and tropical cocktail that's perfect for sipping on a hot summer day or anytime you're in the mood for a taste of the tropics. Made with rum, pineapple juice, and coconut, it's known for its sweet and fruity taste that's sure to please your palate.

The cocktail was popularized by rapper Tech N9ne in his song "Caribou Lou," which features the lyrics "151 rum, pineapple juice and Malibu, Caribou get them all numb." The recipe for Caribou Lou typically includes 1 part 151-proof rum, 2 parts pineapple juice, and 2 parts coconut water or coconut-flavored rum. The ingredients are shaken together with ice, then strained into a glass.

One thing to keep in mind when making or drinking Caribou Lou is its high alcohol content due to the use of 151-proof rum. As such, it's important to consume the cocktail in moderation and exercise caution when drinking.

The Perfect Caribou Lou Recipe


  • 1 part 151-proof rum
  • 2 parts pineapple juice
  • 2 parts coconut water or coconut-flavored rum
  • Ice
  • Pineapple wedge and/or cherry (optional garnish)


  • Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice.
  • Add the rum, pineapple juice, and coconut water or rum to the shaker.
  • Shake the ingredients together vigorously for about 10-15 seconds to combine and chill the drink.
  • Strain the mixture into a glass filled with ice.
  • If desired, garnish with a pineapple wedge and/or cherry.

If you don't have 151-proof rum for you Caribou Lou, you can use a lower proof rum for a milder drink. Additionally, if you prefer a sweeter drink, you can add a splash of grenadine or orange juice.

Caribou Lou cocktail
Caribou Lou cocktail


  • Use fresh pineapple juice for the best flavor. You can also use canned pineapple juice if fresh isn't available.
  • Be sure to shake the cocktail well to properly mix the ingredients and chill the drink.
  • If you prefer a less sweet drink, use coconut water instead of coconut-flavored rum.
  • Experiment with different ratios of ingredients to find the perfect balance of sweet and strong that suits your taste.

Variations on the Classic Caribou Lou

While the classic Caribou Lou recipe is a tried-and-true favorite, there are many variations of the cocktail that can be customized to suit your taste preferences. Here are a few popular variations on the classic recipe:

Caribou Rita: For a margarita twist on the Caribou Lou, swap out the rum for tequila and add a splash of lime juice. You can also rim the glass with salt or sugar for an extra touch of flavor.

Frozen Caribou Lou: Blend the ingredients together with ice to create a frozen version of the cocktail that's perfect for hot summer days. You can also add fresh fruit like strawberries or mango to give it an extra tropical twist.

Coconut Cream Caribou Lou: If you prefer a creamier cocktail, replace the coconut water or rum with coconut cream. This will give the drink a richer, more indulgent flavor.

Caribou Colada: Mix equal parts Caribou Lou and piña colada mix for a fruity, refreshing twist on the classic cocktail. Serve it over ice or blend it for a frozen treat.

Spiced Caribou Lou: Add a pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg to the classic recipe for a spicy twist on the tropical cocktail. This variation is perfect for cooler weather or for those who prefer a more complex flavor profile.

These are just a few examples of the many variations on the classic Caribou Lou recipe. Get creative and experiment with different ingredients to find your perfect version of this tasty tropical cocktail.

Serving and Enjoying Caribou Lou

Here are some tips for serving and enjoying a refreshing Caribou Lou:

  • Glassware: Caribou Lou is typically served in a tall glass filled with ice. You can use a classic highball glass or a hurricane glass for an extra touch of tropical flair.

  • Garnish: While not necessary, a pineapple wedge and/or cherry are common garnishes for Caribou Lou. Simply slide a piece of pineapple and/or cherry onto a toothpick and place it on the rim of the glass.

  • Chill: Be sure to chill the cocktail shaker and the glass before making and serving Caribou Lou. This will help keep the drink cold and refreshing.

  • Pairing: Caribou Lou pairs well with a variety of foods, including spicy dishes, grilled meats, and fresh seafood. It's also a great drink to enjoy on its own as a refreshing tropical treat.

Caribou Lou's Cultural Significance

Caribou Lou is more than just a tasty cocktail - it also holds cultural significance, particularly for those from the Midwest region of the United States.

The drink was popularized by rapper Tech N9ne, who hails from Kansas City, Missouri. Tech N9ne's 2006 song "Caribou Lou" references the drink, and the song went on to become a hit both locally and nationally.

In addition to its musical ties, Caribou Lou is also closely associated with Midwestern party culture. The drink is a staple at college parties, tailgates, and other social events, particularly in states like Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska.

Its popularity has even spread to other regions of the country and beyond.

Ideal Occasions for Caribou Lou

Here are some ideal situations where Caribou Lou is sure to be a hit:

  • Parties: Caribou Lou is a staple at parties of all kinds, from backyard barbecues to college house parties. Its sweet and tropical flavor makes it a crowd-pleaser, and its high alcohol content means it's sure to get the party started.

  • Summer gatherings: The refreshing and tropical taste of Caribou Lou makes it a great choice for summer gatherings, such as pool parties and beach outings. It's the perfect drink to sip on while soaking up the sun and enjoying the warm weather.

  • Sporting events: Caribou Lou is a popular choice for tailgating before football games or other sporting events. Its strong kick and sweet flavor make it the perfect drink to get you in the mood to cheer on your favorite team.

Bartending Tips for Caribou Lou

  • Measure carefully: Use a jigger or measuring cup to measure ingredients precisely.

  • Shake, don't stir: Shake ingredients with ice to blend flavors and create a frothy drink.

  • Garnish with pineapple: Add a fresh pineapple wedge for color and sweetness.

Final thoughts

So there you have it, folks - everything you need to know about Caribou Lou! Whether you're a seasoned bartender or just looking for a new drink to try, Caribou Lou is a must-try for anyone who loves a sweet, refreshing beverage with a bit of a kick.

From backyard barbecues to beach parties and everything in between, Caribou Lou is the perfect drink to enjoy in any setting. So grab your shaker and your favorite glass, add some ice and a slice of pineapple, and get ready to experience the magic of this Midwest classic.