Malibu Red Tastes Like Coconut Shampoo -- in a Good Way

Years ago, I went on a spring break cruise with a group of my hard-drinking friends and, broke college kids that we were, we dedicated the days leading up to the vacation to finding every possible method of smuggling booze aboard. Clear plastic water jugs, giant blue containers of Listerine, bottles meant for shampoo and conditioner -- out went the product, in went the liquor. The strategy worked pretty well for us. None of the stuff was confiscated, and we drank like kings.

BUT. There was a day near the end of our trip when supplies were running low and we decided to pop open a shampoo bottle that had been filled with rum. Mixing the stuff with Coke, I appreciated an extra flavor of coconut. "Greg," said I, "what kind of rum did you use in this? Malibu?"

"Umm, no," he responded. "Bacardi, I think."

"Coconut Bacardi?

"No, just plain Bacardi."

Know those scenes in movies when a character thinks the meat he's eating is delicious, then suddenly finds out the natives are feeding him cooked swamp rat? Our reaction was like that. We spat out what was in our mouths and dashed over to the offending shampoo bottle. Sure enough: coconut-scented. We'd been drinking shampoo rum.

That memory had been neatly stashed away, waiting for some future day when I'll use it to explain to my doctor why my brain is pickled, until my first sip of Malibu Red. Introduced in March 2012, this new addition to the Malibu line combines the sugary coconut rum in the original Malibu with a blast of silver tequila, upping the flavor as well as the alcohol content (the original Malibu is only 21 percent ABV; Red is 35). As is seemingly required of new liquors entering the market, Malibu partnered with a rapper to make Red. In this case, Ne-Yo -- Mr. "So Sick of Love Songs" himself -- served as the chief creative officer, working with Malibu to design the label and produce a few promotional songs.

But we here at Chow Bella care not for advertising -- how does it taste? We gathered a group of testers to try it out, and here's what they thought:

  • "It's way better than regular Malibu, because it tastes stronger. When I have regular Malibu, it tastes like, 'Hey, I just drank coconut water!' I like to taste my alcohol."
  • "It smells like tanning lotion. I really like tequila, and I LOVE tanning lotion. So this is a match made in heaven."
  • "It's Malibu with a kick." *Shrug*

Overall, the syrupy, sugar blend of coconut, tequila and rum wasn't half bad. The mix is obvious, with funky tequila adding bite and a bit of alcohol heat, but shots went down easily and the mixed drinks we tried Red in were pretty tasty. Yes, it tasted like shampoo rum. But we still polished off the bottle from the cruise ship, and dammit if we didn't do the same with Malibu Red.

This bottle was provided to Chow Bella by the producer for the purposes of this review. 

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