The Portable Pub by Londonaire with Holland House Mai Tai Mix

Found this at an antiques store in Coos Bay, OR and had to have it. It seems to be vintage from the 1960s, including some powdered Mai Tai mixes. I could see how this would have been really cool back in the day, though obviously I’m not going to try and use the shaker or the Mai Tai Mix now.

It smells just as old as you might think, and it’s great!

Bacardi Tasting in Crescent City

We traveled to Crescent City and landed inadvertently into a Bacardi weekend. At the grocery store Mrs Mai Tai suggested getting some rum in case there was no booze at the hotel. This Bacardi 4 was a good choice amongst the shelves at Safeway. The additional age means that this light rum has a little bit more mellow flavor compared to Bacardi Superior. I can see using this in cocktails.

When we got to the hotel we did find their bar was open, so I got a shot of Bacardi Black and Bacardi 151 to sample. The Black actually was kind of okay, like a lighter version of Goslings.

The 151 isn’t made anymore, and that’s probably for the best. I didn’t care for it at all. Very harsh.

My Favorite Rum for National Rum Day

For the post today I thought I’d highlight my favorite rum: Appleton 12.

Back ten years ago, before I got deeply into rum, Appleton was my go-to answer for a rum to be gifted. Later, as I started to explore rum I saw that Appleton 12 was specifically called for in Mai Tai recipes from Beachbum Berry and Martin Cate. I obtained this expression myself and never looked back.

I’ve tried hundreds of rum since, and enjoyed most of them. Yet Appleton 12 remains my favorite for its rich, smooth taste, wide availability, and attainable price point. It is delightful when sampled neat. But not so expensive that you feel like you’re wasting money when you put it into a Mai Tai. It is my go-to “one rum” Mai Tai rum when ordering at a bar, and it remains an important part of my four-rum Ultimate Mai Tai rum blend.

Pictures are the last several vintages of this rum. The new Rare Casks edition continues the tradition wonderfully but I did make it a point to buy two bottles of the precious Rare Blend for safe keeping.

Happy National Rum Day, rum family.

The Banana Hut in Eureka, California

I visited 52 different tiki bars in 2019, so when I tell you on August 15th that Banana Hut is only my 12th in 2020, it ain’t because I’ve been sitting around doing nothing on purpose. Well, actually, in a way I have.

Sadly, Eureka’s Hawaiian restaurant with a tiki theme will be closing on August 29; the owners are retiring. Glad we made it. As of today they are offering to-go food, a limited beer and canned soft drink selection, and Pina Coladas. So, I didn’t get to try what is likely California’s northern most on-menu 1944 Mai Tai.

The decor here is great, and I love the way they used the popcorn ceiling to make the cloud effect. Lots of tikis left over from Chicago’s famed Kona Kai. When we were waiting for our food, someone came in expressing interest in buying the lot. It is too bad this place is closing.

Our food was pretty good. Mrs. Mai Tai had her favorite, Macadamia Nut Mahi Mahi, complete with rice, gravy, and macaroni salad. I had a teriyaki chicken sandwich and spam musubi. Good Hawaiian food. I bought a menu as a memento.

A sad reminder; visit tiki bars when you have the chance.

Blue Margarita with a View

This is from our oceanfront balcony in Crescent City. The resort here has a working bar so first time on the trip up the coast we are having real cocktails. These are a special here at the resort and are pretty good for what they are.

Blue Hawai-Tai and Forbidden Island Mug

Made for a special Zoom get together with the Forbidden Island local tiki Ohana tonight.

Blue Hawai-Tai by Kevin Crossman
It’s like the Blue Hawaii and the Mai Tai had a baby.
1 oz Lemon Juice
1 oz White Overproof Jamaican Rum
½ oz Aged White Rum
½ oz Orgeat
½ oz Simple Syrup
½ oz Blue Curacao

Banana Mai Tai

I haven’t been a fan of banana flavored anything for most of my life (sometimes bananas themselves have been iffy for me). So it was quite a surprise that I really like the Giffard Banane du Bresil liqueur. It doesn’t have that “artificial banana flavor” you find in so many products. It tastes like bananas, and it’s delicious.

So, I was inspired to make this Banana Mai Tai riff, replacing the orange liqueur with the banana liqueur. I then paired with my overproof and rich rum blend, and a heavy pour of Molasses Syrup. 

Banana Mai Tai by Kevin Crossman
2 oz Ultimate Mai Tai Rum Blend
¾ oz Banana Liqueur
½ oz Orgeat
½ oz Molasses Syrup
1 oz Lime juice

East India Negroni

I tried this earlier in the week with Campari as is called for, but felt it was too bitter. So I took another run with Aperol which for sure is a lot sweeter. In the end it was maybe a little too sweet. Hence the modified version below with a split aperitif.

East India Negroni
2 oz Rum (Denizen White)
1 oz Sherry (Harvey’s Bristol Creme)
½ oz Aperol
¼ oz Campari
Shake with ice and strain. Garnish with orange peel.

The Octopus

An old Waikiki Trader Vic’s recipe, courtesy Jeff “Beachbum” Berry  in the Total Tiki app and his Intoxica book.

The recipe calls for Passion Fruit juice or nectar but I used passion fruit syrup. It wasn’t as good as when I had this in the past with the nectar. Live and learn.

The Octopus
1½ oz Orange Juice
1½ oz Passion Fruit Nectar
1½ oz 151 Rum (I used Hamilton)
1½ oz Club Soda
1 dash Angostura bitters

Stir in the glass

Jamaican Independence Day

Jamaica won independance on August 6, 1962, so what better way for me to celebrate than with a Planter’s Punch with three of Jamaica’s finest rums? The Planter’s Punch is a historical cocktail but largely ignored in the native country these days (where overproof rum with Ting soda is far more popular). But, it is one of my favorites. Especially this recipe that Jeff “Beachbum” Berry shared in the Beachbum Berry Remixed book and in the Total Tiki app for iOS/iPadOS.

Rather than just the single rum called in the original recipe, Coruba, I split the base and added some higher end Jamaican rums.

Stephen Remsberg Planter’s Punch
¾ oz Lime Juice
1 oz Sugar Syrup
1 oz Coruba Dark rum
1 oz Appleton 12 Rare Casks rum
1 oz Hampden Estate Pure Single Jamaican rum
3 dashes Angostura Bitters

Serve in a tall glass. Refreshing!

Glassware by The Reef Palm Springs