International Mai Tai Day 2020

June 30 is a perfect time to highlight my Top 10 Mai Tais of 2020 (so far). My own homemade Mai Tais not included (with one exception). However you can celebrate, give a toast to The Trader today.

1) The last Ultimate Mai Tai from Terry Six at The Kon-Tiki
No bartender has made me a better Mai Tai than Terry.

2) Take Out 1944 Mai Tai from Trader Vic’s
It was so great to have a wonderful take-home Mai Tai. Gave me hope for lockdown.

3) 1944 Mai Tai with Appleton 12 at Trader Sam’s
Bartenders at Sam’s are always willing to go a bit off-menu.

4) Smuggler’s Cove
I landed here in February sort of by accident but it worked out perfect when I had a great Mai Tai.

5) Buz-Tai from Hula Hoops
Another take-out Mai Tai that was amazing. Bold variant.

6) Coruba / Hamilton 86 Mai Tai at Fred & Ginger’s
Home bar Mai Tai made by Terra Fritch
for a socially distant cocktail hour.

7) Trader Vic’s Mai Tai with Mai Tai Concentrate
I’ve been waiting years to try this at home. It’s finally available.

8) Grand Mai Tai
Pretty much a ’44 with the dark rum presented as a float. Good stuff from the Craftman’s hotel bar at Disneyland.

9) Blue Hawai-Tai
My own Blue Hawaii/Mai Tai riff that got press in Exotica Moderne and seemed to make fans worldwide.

10) Kai Mai Tai
Blood Orange in a Mai Tai? Yes, it’s delicious. And somewhat deadly.

Kali Mai Tai

I was gifted this from some fellow tikiphiles and it’s totally cool. It pays homage to the Indiana Jones franchise including the Mara-glyphics from the Indiana Jones Adventure attraction at Disneyland. Who’s that holding the cocktail? Why that’s Mola Ram from Temple of Doom, the priest who would performs human sacrifices for the goddess Kali. In the movie people were forced to drink the Blood of Kali Ma, a potion that brainwashed people to make the devout followers. If only getting more Instagram followers was so easy.

The pin is really large and the glyphics on the front have the recipe for the 1944 Mai Tai. On the back of the card, there’s a recipe for the Kali Mai Tai, a twist on the original recipe feature Asian rum, Blood Orange Juice, and Blood Orange Cordial.

The back of the pin features a decoder wheel so you can translate the recipe and the secret message (which I won’t spoil in the post). The decoder is great, though I found that using the Disneyland App was faster: go to Adventureland and choose the Indiana Jones ride and there is a glyphics decoder.

As for the cocktail, it is wonderful. Especially if you pair it with appropriate glassware such this one from Last Rites in San Francisco. I liked the tangy blood orange twist on the Mai Tai. I used the Liber and Co. Blood Orange Cordial. Give it a try!

The pin is available from @junglecruiserusso. So well done.

Painkiller Modified

Made a Painkiller with a modified juice ratio. I really love the Valencia Orange Juice and thought that maybe adding more orange to a Painkiller would improve it. But it probably came out a little less good.

1 oz Coco Real Coconut Creme
2 oz Pineapple Juice
2 oz Valencia OJ
2 oz Pusser’s Rum

Glassware by B-Rex.

Foursquare 2007

Foursquare Rum

Cracked open the 2007 to compare to the 2004. Both are wonderful high proof aged rums from Foursquare in Barbados. This is a rum for rum lovers. Aged and complex and at 59% ABV it is definitely not watered down. The 2004 is aged 11 years, the 2007 for 12 years.

Both are outstanding. The 2007 had a little bit more of a toasted coconut flavor but overall these are similar rums with oak, vanilla, and caramel notes. The 2004’s bottle is less elaborate and has a screw top, while the 2007 has a cork.

The 2004 is really hard to find these days but the 2007 is fairly available at fine liquor outlets and even at some Total Wine locations. If you want to try an aged rum without any added sugar this is a great expression to explore.

Jungle Bird Cocktail

Challenge your assumptions.

I didn’t like the Jungle Bird cocktail in the past but it has been a while and it’s only been a small sample size. Plus my palette has changed over the past few years, so time to give this another try.

I made this according to the standard Beachbum Berry recipe, with the rum being 1 oz Hamilton Pot Still Black and 1/2 oz Coruba. But the bitter Campari and full four ounces of pineapple juice are just too much for me. They can’t all be winners.

Glassware by The Jungle Bird which on the other hand I do love! Wonderful tiki bar and restaurant in Sacramento.

Online Ordering at Kon-Tiki is a Breeze

Got to try out the online ordering system at everyone’s favorite Oakland Tiki Bar, The Kon-Tiki. The system was easy to use and conveniently allows you to order before the restaurant opens (now 4-8 pm Mon-Sat). Give it a try.

The system is useful too, in that it reminds you of the rum bottles available for sale. I picked up the Denizen Vatted Dark and it’s wonderful. It also allows you to make comments for each item (such as sauce on the side). The loaded Tater Tots are back and they’re wonderful. The peppers have a little kick but not too bad. The tots traveled great, too. Still crispy when I got home. And the Jerk Almonds had a great favor too. The Kon-Tiki Cheeseburger was amazing as always, though do note that it comes with chips now, not fries.

The Kon-Tiki Zombie cocktail was a delight. I made sure to carefully pour over ice.

There are a lot of new murals in downtown Oakland, in support of Black Lives Matter. They look amazing and of course have an important message.

Foursquare 2007 Found!

You can’t win if you don’t play.

If you like it, buy it!

Whatever the metaphor, the victory was mine today when I almost literally stumbled across this box of the famed Foursquare Exceptional Cask 2007 rum. There were three bottles left, I only took one. Sometimes you get lucky, but you’ll never know unless you’re there to see what pops up.

Patronize your local liquor store. And if you want to try it, then buy it.

Can’t wait to give this rum a try and compare it to the Foursquare 2004 already at home.

Juneteenth Cocktail

Trying to learn more about this event and future national holiday. I didn’t have strawberries but wanted to make a red drink.

1 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Liber & Co. Blood Orange Cordial
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
1/2 oz Cherry Heering
1 oz Light Rum (I used Denizen White)
1 oz Saint Benevolence Rum Clairin from Haiti

Shake with cubes and top with soda.

Singapore Sling

I don’t have Benedictine, so I have been using the 1937 Don the Beachcomber recipe. I have felt this lacked complexity so I have been thinking of things to add to it. This time I tried a bit of Passionfruit Syrup. It was maybe a little better but still something is lacking. But I do like the heavy cherry taste and the gin makes it refreshing.

Singapore Sling
½ oz Lemon Juice
1 oz Cherry Heering
1 oz Dry Gin
¼ oz Passionfruit Syrup

Shake with ice cubes add 1 ½ oz Soda and pour into tall glass.

Glassware by The Kon-Tiki.

Monkey Business

This cocktail was created by Laura Murphy and I liked it when she and Woody Miller finished their Kon Tiki Expedition Rum List back in January.

Laura posted the recipe yesterday, in tribute to her mother who passed away a year ago. Her mom had helped with the testing and Laura’s post includes the recipe written out in her mother’s handwriting. Truly heartbreaking. Hang in there, Laura.

This cocktail needs to get out there, so here’s the recipe. I tried it with both the Giffard and Tempus Fugit Banana Liqueurs and I’d say that maybe the Giffard had a slightly more banana taste. But otherwise these were very close, and both were delicious.

Monkey Business by Laura Murphy
¾ oz Lemon Juice
½ oz Falernum
¼ Dry Curacao
1 oz Banana Liqueur
½ oz Hamilton Pot Still Black rum
1 oz Plantation 5 yr Rum
2 dashes Forbidden Bitters

Ideally, garnish with banana wedge and dehydrated lemon wheel.

This is a really good cocktail. Give it a try, and raise a glass.