Mr. Fogg’s Themed Bars

Mr. Fogg’s is a chain of Victorian-era themed bars and tavern pubs mostly in central London. Each location has a variant on the theme with unique cocktails. We visited the Society of Exploration and also the Apothecary.

Both were a good time, with attentive service and some quality cocktails with a great presentation. The Mechanical Mixologist at the Society location makes a Negroni and is kind of neat if that cocktail is your thing. We stuck to rum drinks and felt they were really good.

There are some small bites available in the bar locations, and we had the cheddar cheese plate that also comes with breadsticks, and found the cheese to be really rich with flavor. A full menu is available at the tavern locations.

The Apothecary location had some interesting cocktail names (Soaked in Ether / Emerald Euphoria) and isn’t quite as well themed but they do offer cocktails made with vintage spirits. I took an interest in the 1970s Bacardi that’s used in the Hemingway Daiquiri and asked if the rum was available on its own. The manger came over and offered a little pour on the house just because I think they rarely have anyone express an interest in the spirits themselves. This Bacardi was delightful,  very crisp but also with deeper fruity flavors than you see in today’s expression.

Mr. Fogg’s was a lot of fun in both locations. Some good people watching and great relaxing mood music.

Ma Petite Jamaica Rum Bar in Camden

We traveled up to Camden in mid-afternoon to visit the famed Camden Market, and somehow Mrs. Mai Tai spotted the Rum Bar sign down a side street, so we had a snack and some drinks inside the restaurant Ma Petite Jamaica. Indeed there are a good number of rums here, including some of Appleton’s Kingston 62 which I hadn’t tried yet and enjoyed on the rocks. We had some delicious Pumpkin Sweet Potato fritters, too.

I love a good on-the-wall cocktail menu and Ma Petite has a nice one next to the bar. The Mai Tai used Appleton rum and I believe a float of Goslings and was pretty good and so very easy to drink. Mrs. Mai Tai’s Rum Punch was a fruity flavor bomb thanks to the use of Wray & Nephew Overproof along with the fruit juices and grenadine.

Ma Petite is well worth checking out the next time you’re in Camden.

Return to Trailer Happiness

We returned to Notting Hill’s Trailer Happiness after a great visit last year. Our midweek early evening visit meant the venue was in mellow mode, but we had a great time at the bar with our cocktails.

The Mai Tai is pretty good here. They’ve updated the rum blend since our last visit, now using Chairman’s Reserve Legacy and Appleton 12. This didn’t strike me as being as flavorful as I would have expected for some reason and I really hate snow cone ice mounts, as I think a little more dilution would have helped.

Flaming Zombie

The Zombie is served flaming and Alex did a great job setting it ablaze and surviving! This Zombie has many classic ingredients including falernum and cinnamon but also Passionfruit, which yielded a cocktail with a distinct spicy peach flavor somehow. Plenty boozy.

No unusual flavors with Mrs Mai Tai’s Espresso Martiki nor the fruity and rummy Cotton Mouth Killer. The layered cocktail was floated with Blue Curaçao and tasted just as great as it looked.

We finished with the Polynesian Princess, a light vodka and Chambord cocktail topped with Champagne. Subtle watermelon flavors were present and this has a very nice finish.

There are so many quality rums here, and we even spotted a contraband bottle of Hamilton Beachbum Berry Zombie blend. Definitely a great place to try rum.

The Beachcomber is a Fab Tiki Bar in London

Mrs. Mai Tai and I landed in London after a red eye from California and walked like zombies over to Queensway to The Beachcomber for dinner. We did the same thing on our visit last year, with similar results. Totally chill vibe early in the evening, with some great Thai food and better cocktails.

The food here comes from Horapha which is a Thai restaurant on the street level next door. We really liked our dinner and it’s even better in a basement tiki bar. The decor inside Beachcomber isn’t totally high tiki but for London is not bad at all and the escapist nature of the venue is really nice.

Cocktails are pretty good here. I was really impressed by the off-menu Mai Tai that has rich flavors of Rhum Agricole, the specialty of the Beachcomber, but is fantastically done and has balanced sweetness. My only gripe was that it seems a little small! Meanwhile, Mrs. Mai Tai’s Nocholada has coconut, chocolate, and hazelnut flavors that’s a really amazing desert cocktail.

The Refresher cocktail includes peach liqueur, Yellow Chartreuse, elderflower cordial, and other flavors. As the customer you can choose the spirit to use, including gin, vodka, or agave spirits. I chose Copalli white rum for Mrs. Mai Tai while I had the Clement Blanc Rhum Agricole for mine. You definitely can taste the different, though we both felt the peach was a little too forward in the balance. Nonetheless, the name is certainly that – very refreshing.

The Refresher(s)

Our service was prompt and friendly, and there’s a nice selection of spirts of the back bar that aren’t on the menu, so if you’re a Rhum fan definitely check out the selection before ordering. Music on our visit was 1970s including multiple Fleetwood Mac and Jim Croce songs. Maybe not the best music for a tiki bar, but I know that traditional exotica is tough in this market. At least it was vintage and mellow leaning, which added to the relaxing feelings inside.

The Beachcomber can be clubby later in the evening and on the weekends (like all of London’s tiki/tropical bars) but we really enjoyed the vibe in the early evening.

New Cocktail Menu at Trader Vic’s

Trader Vic’s Emeryville has updated their cocktail menu for the first time since Fall 2021. There are 15 new additions, some of which were developed in Trader Vic’s locations worldwide. There are still many Trader Vic’s favorites including the Original Mai Tai, with a gigantic total of 53 cocktails and eight non-alcoholic drinks on the menu. This also means Vic’s are resetting prices up a few bucks, consistent with price increases we’ve seen at many of our favorites lately.

The most noteworthy new item is the Smoke Show. The cocktail is intended to rotate monthly (ask the server) but launched as a very nice rum old fashioned that’s brought to the table and smoked in front of you in a small ceremony sure to delight guests and your social media followers. The smoke flavor lingers quite well in the cocktail.

We also tried the Lava Haze, served in the wonderful new Atahi A Kai Mug by Reesenik that we bought at a mug release event back in February. Described as creamy coconut and strawberry with smoked pineapple, this is quite smoky and isn’t overly sweet. If you love Mezcal or peaty Scotch this might be a winner for you.

I enjoyed the Captain Rilco’s Odyssey, a lighter cocktail with rum, grog, citrus, and pineapple. The garnish features a ‘coral’ twill and some banana whipped topping with lime zest that’s delightful, making this a non-assertive cocktail that is well balanced and not too boozy or juicy.

Everyone at our table agreed the best of the new items was the Bumbu Hunter, created by Wally Gringco of Trader Vic’s Bahrain. Served in a Headhunter mug, this rich cocktail has four rums, spices, and some sweet tropical flavors. The garnish includes a burnt cinnamon stuck, star anise, and a speared peach, so this is a feast for many senses.

It’s great to see Trader Vic’s continuing the tradition of pursuing complex and interesting cocktails that use current ingredients and techniques. We really enjoyed these cocktails.

Custom Tiki Goth Club Shirts

Tiki Goth Club creator Tiki with Ray came up with a great idea where the shirt could be customized with a city or other location, which also allows for any bit of text.

There is nothing goth about my hometown, Fremont CA, so I went with Member Zero instead. That’s my membership number in the club, even lower than Ray who’s the founder and number one. For a time this was the most goth member number, though that distinction now goes to Devil’s Reef owner Jason Alexander who scored the coveted 666. We saw Ray in Seattle for Tiki Fest a couple months ago and there were several folks sporting Tiki Goth Club branding and Ray sold a bunch of membership kits. Thanks to Sean for the photo.

Custom Tiki Goth Club shirts are available for $38 including shipping. Contact Tiki with Ray for sizing and details. And go to tikigothclub.com to learn more about this fun extension of the tiki subculture.