Firstly, it is nice to see this being labeled “Mai Tai Day” this year rather than “Real Mai Tai Day”. It celebrates the birth of the Mai Tai in 1944, using the date for Mai Tai Day designated by Oakland several years ago.
Vic’s opened at 11 am for Brunch and cocktails, and several of us made the trek to be there at opening. Plenty of souvenir Mai Tai Day Mason Jars were available and they’re a timely design. My Mai Tai looked great and was refreshing on Vic’s outdoor patio/picnic space (in the corner of the parking lot). Good social-distancing employed.
Brunch was a little tricky in that you still have to order food via telephone (brunch menu isn’t in the online system yet, though I’d expect that to be fixed soon). And so you have to go over to the main building to pick it up. But otherwise, this is pretty nice. The morning fog was actually a welcome component and then slowly burned off by around 12:30 pm. My Salmon Toast was delightful and Mrs. Mai Tai’s Eggs Benedict was great too. Supposedly brunch will be an option every week going forward.
Aside from the tikiphiles in attendance, there was a special online toast for Mai Tai Day, featuring Vic’s CEO Rhett Rosen. Eve Bergeron set up a monitor and so everyone in attendance could participate. While this wasn’t as grand as last year’s incredible Mai Tai 75 celebration, this was still pretty good considering the restrictions on indoor gatherings.
How to make the Ultimate Mai Tai? Follow along with our recipe and make a Mai Tai yourself to celebrate Mai Tai Day on August 30.
Ultimate Mai Tai by Kevin Crossman ½ oz Appleton 12 Rum ½ oz Smith & Cross Rum ½ oz Plantation OFTD Rum ½ oz Plantation Xaymaca Rum 1 oz Lime Juice ½ oz Orgeat (Latitude 29) ½ oz Orange Curacao (Ferrand Dry Curacao) ¼ oz Demerara Syrup (BG Reynolds)
Do you love making your own homemade cocktail syrups? Does it bring you pleasure to come up with a unique approach or taste for a special ingredient? Do you love saving money by leveraging ingredients you already have in your house? If so, I salute you. Truly, good for you.
But that is not my gig.
It doesn’t move me. I don’t really care. Or most probably I’m just lazy. If I can find a commercial solution, I’m totally okay with that.
Yesterday I went to Total Wine to sample some new spirits and cocktail ingredients. I bought three things, and they were all losers. But today, my shipment from BG Reynolds arrived. It’s a good day.
I ordered three syrups:
1 – Passion Fruit Syrup. I used the last of mine the other day, so just in time. I find this syrup to be a nice balance of sweet and tart.
2 – Devine Vanilla. I use this for a couple holiday cocktails and I was hankering to make some new Don’s Spices #2 (equal parts Vanilla/Pimento Dram)
3 – Honey Mix. I had a heck of a time making honey mix at home in the past, so I thought I’d give this a try. It’s made with Orange Blossom Honey and it’s really great. It smells like orange but tastes like honey. This is going to work great for some cocktails I’ve been meaning to revisit.
The cocktail tonight is the Ultimate Navy Grog, leveraging the ingredients procured tonight. I’m still digging this version of the classic tiki cocktail, incorporating elements of the Don the Beachcomber and Trader Vic’s version. The Honey Mix in particular works well in this cocktail.
First was the Montego Bay, with funky Jamaican rum, absinthe, allspice, grapefruit, and lime. This was billed as having a bite and I would agree. A little too spicy for me, though Mrs. Mai Tai loved it. Not pictured.
Next, the Lost Cartographer, featuring Irish Whisky, Banana, Cinnamon, and Bitters. I liked this a lot, though it isn’t really a traditional exotic/tropical cocktail. The banana was subtle but paired well with the cinnamon. Pictured with the orange slice in the Kon-Tiki glass.
Lastly, the Coco Gadget, with Guyana and Agricole rums, coconut, curaçao, cold brew coffee, and bitters. Mrs. Mai Tai thought this would be up her alley, but she thought it was too rum-forward and said she couldn’t taste the coconut and coffee. Meanwhile, I tend to avoid coffee drinks but actually really liked this. Seemed very coconut and coffee forward to me, so obviously your mileage may vary. A nice addition to the Kon-Tiki menu.
It is great to see some new menu items at Kon-Tiki. We love our classic tiki cocktails but I do like to expand my horizons.
Most tikiphiles are familiar with the classic cocktails that Jeff “Beachbum” Berry brought back from the dead, finding their original recipes and sharing them with the world. The 1934 Zombie is the holy grail but there’s also Three Dots and a Dash, the Q.B. Cooler, and others. But an overlooked recipe that deserves just as much praise is the Saturn.
The Saturn was originally prepared by J. “Popo” Galsini in 1967 for the IBA World Cocktail Championship – and Popo won the darn thing. You’d think that thereafter this drink would have been world famous, but nobody was drinking these until Berry discovered it and published the recipe in his book Beachbum Berry’s Taboo Table in 2005.
Saturn ½ oz Lemon Juice ½ oz Passion Fruit Syrup ¼ oz Falernum ¼ oz Orgeat 1¼ oz Dry Gin 8 oz Crushed Ice
Blend and pour into a Pilsner or other tall glass.
The cocktail is surprisingly refreshing. Popo was said to have tended bar in several tiki bars, so he would have been familiar with Orgeat and Falernum that were already starting to lose favor along with the rest of the classic exotic cocktail ingredients in 1967.
I personally prefer up the Orgeat to ½ ounce and then to prepare shaken with crushed ice and served up in a coupe glass.