New Site Feature: Q. B. Cooler

Let’s talk about the Q. B. Cooler. It’s the drink that inspired the Mai Tai. Or so the story goes.

Donn Beach claimed that Trader Vic used the Q. B. Cooler as a template or precursor to the Mai Tai, something noted in Jeff “Beachbum” Berry’s book Sippin’ Safari.

We have a new feature at about the Q.B. Cooler, including the origin story, recipe, and whether or not the cocktail is the Mai Tai’s daddy. Includes some historical details and new quotes from The Bum himself. Check it out.

Q. B. Cooler by Don the Beachcomber
½ oz Lime juice
1 oz Orange juice
1 oz Club soda
½ oz Honey mix
¼ oz Falernum
½ tsp Ginger syrup
½ oz Demerara rum
1 oz Jamaican rum
1 oz Puerto Rican rum
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
Blend with 4 oz crushed ice for 5 seconds; top up with more crushed ice and garnish with mint.

View the Page: Q. B. Cooler at

Q. B. Cooler

Rum The Spirit of the Ages

This essay has been gracing the back cover of the Trader Vic’s Cocktail Menu for decades. It serves to highlight the spirit that is most prominent in Trader Vic’s cocktails, and is both a history lesson and a list of “shout outs” to famed mixologists. This is a scan of a menu circa 1965.

Click to view larger

This is one area where I think that Victor Bergeron deserves more credit, as quite often he would credit the original creator of a cocktail on the menu or in his books. In the essay he highlights a number of 20th Century barmen including Frank Meier of the Ritz Bar in Paris, Constantine at La Florida Bar in Havana, and Albert Martin of Con Ton Bar in New Orleans. He ends with several pointed salutes to Don the Beachcomber of Hollywood.

The design includes pictures of some of the famous venues and a caricature of Don the Beachcomber himself. 

Closer view of the text


Tiki Time at Pacific Catch

Friends, I’m pleased to report that the #tikitime promotion and menu at Pacific Catch is a pretty good offering. We don’t have a Pacific Catch nearby but we traveled to Dublin for shopping and lunch and decided to check out the Tiki Terrace. The outside seating is quite nice with socially separate tables featuring wood, bamboo, plants, and clear plastic panels. A very fine mix of shade and just a hint of sun peeking in.

Tiki Old Fashioned and Shark’s Tooth cocktails

The Tiki Menu include a Pupu Platter and a Satay Sampler. I tried the latter and it was really good, especially the shrimp. I also had some very good California Roll sushi. Meanwhile, Mrs. Mai Tai had the Poke Chirashi bowl and said it was really great and also quite large.

There are Tiki Cocktails on the Tiki Time menu, and they look pretty good. I tried the refreshing Puka Tiku Punch and it features a trio of rums and a little surprising for such a mainstream restaurant is actually quite rum forward (in a good way). I really liked this. Mrs. Mai Tai had the Shark’s Tooth which she liked (but said maybe could have worked better with more juice).That cocktail features Banks Five island Rum, which I’ve found to be an excellent white rum in the past. I also ordered a cocktail from their regular cocktail menu. I avoided the Mai Tai (with Flor de Cana silver, Lahaina Dark rum, Wray & Nephew Overproof, and POG juice) and instead tried the “Tiki Old Fashioned,” This normally calls for Zaya but I asked for Banks rum instead and I must say this was an excellent Old Fashioned.

Puka Tiki Punch


Tiki Patio Dining

The cocktails and food at Pacific Catch were quite good. Considering the price the value was “good” and I’d rate the service “very good.” We enjoyed our socially distant outdoor lunch.

Santiago Cocktail-2

Found this in the 1947 Trader Vic’s Bartender’s Guide. It is a light and refreshing cocktail that is influenced by Trader Vic’s travels to Cuba in 1937.

Santiago Cocktail-2
½ oz Lime Juice
¾ oz Cointreau
1 tsp Sugar
1¾ oz Rum

I made this with Havana Club 7 aged Cuban rum and it’s a very good cocktail. But it is missing something… something that could add a little more sweetness and complexity. Hmm… thoughts?

The Vacation

This is a great cocktail from Daniel “Doc” Parks from the Minimalist Tiki book. So many great flavors! It’s always a favorite at Zombie Village or wherever Doc Parks might be serving drinks.

The Vacation by Daniel “Doc” Parks
¾ oz Lime juice
1 oz Pineapple juice
½ oz Mango syrup
¼ oz Falernum
1 oz Lightly aged or filtered rum (Real McCoy 3)
1 oz Unaged agricole rum (Rhum J.M Blanc)
1 oz Pisco (Capurro)
1 dash Vanilla-Infused Angostura bitters

The Minimalist Tiki book by Matt Pietrek and Carrie Smith is now in a third edition, complete with some new recipe riffs on the “Classic 30” tiki drinks. Plus fixes for those pesky typos. If you haven’t gotten this book yet, it’s totally worth getting as it covers the key ingredients needed for a home bar, plus the Wonk’s usually great coverage of rum and spirits. Many truly amazing cocktail recipes.

Blue Curacao: Giffard vs. Senior

So many thanks to local tikiphile Cathie Wartelle for donating some of her Senior Blue Curacao for another shootout comparison with our reigning champion Giffard Curacao Bleu.

Last week we compared Giffard to the much cheaper Drillaud, and so this week it’s a more even playing field since the Senior is priced similarly (or in many places even higher). Once again, we did this in our Blue Hawai-Tai cocktail – though this time I did switch up the rums. We have Rum-Bar White Overproof and Denizen Aged White Rum for standing in this week.

In the glass: I found the Giffard to be a deeper shade of blue, and heavier and more complex on the tongue. The Senior is pleasant but just lacks a bit of depth – though it is 31% ABV compared to 25% for the Giffard. 

In the cocktail: The Senior Blue Curacao mixes well in the cocktail, and for sure helps this cocktail go down easy. The sweetness of Senior is similar to the Giffard, but once again the Giffard just has a little extra complexity in the cocktail that is a notable difference.

The verdict: unlike last time, price differences aren’t a factor, so Giffard is still our winner. If you’re at a liquor store and you had to choose between some $7 low-end Blue Curacao and Senior, should you feel bad going upscale? Absolutely not. The Senior Blue Curacao is a good liqueur. But pound for pound, the Giffard is better in our opinion.

Blue Hawai-Tai by Kevin Crossman
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

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with crushed ice.