Ready to Drink (RTD) cocktails are still a growth industry, and I’m always on the hunt for an acceptable Mai Tai in a can or bottled format.
Whilst perusing Bitters & Bottles for spirits, I reviewed their growing RTD section and came across the Mai Tai from Proof Cocktail Co. The four-pack of 250ml cans (two servings per can) was $27. ABV is 23%, so this is plenty boozy –especially if you drink the entire can as a single serving by mistake, like I did.
Proof is most definitely not playing in the low-end of the market, and a good comparison product is the On the Rocks line of cocktails (which retail for around $12 for a 375ml bottle). The ingredient list is White Rum, Barrel Aged Rum, Curacao, Almond Orgeat, Fresh Lime and Orange Juice, and Pomegranate Grenadine.
Thankfully, the OJ and grenadine flavors are not particularly noticeable and instead there’s a pretty good rum taste along with lime and almond. This is a flavorful, easy to drink cocktail, though I personally would have preferred a higher degree of aged rum. I for sure have had worse Mai Tais made from scratch at even good cocktail bars, but nobody is going to confuse this with an elite Mai Tai made by a master bartender or at a high quality craft cocktail or tiki bar. This is even better than On the Rocks which had been my go-to at the high end of the market.
Overall. the Proof Cocktail Mai Tai is pretty damn tasty and also plenty boozy. Which means it could work real well for vacation, camping, and patio/poolside cocktail scenarios.
This new expression from Worthy Parkis amazingly delicious. The blend of aged and unaged pot still rum from Jamaica, plus caramel coloring, is simply amazing. Bottled at 54.5% ABV (109 proof), it is easy to drink neat and truly shines in cocktails. This very affordable rum works great in the Mai Tai, and it is boozy just like I like it.
This tastes a little more like a Demerara rum than a Jamaican, but does carry characteristics of both. Definitely not “funky” like some of other Worthy Park / Rum-Bar expressions. While I would not say that my tasting talent is overly refined, I did find this to be similar to some circa 1950s Myers’s Planters Punch rum that I tried recently.
Worthy Park 109 is starting to be available in the states and in other territories. Ask for it at your finer liquor outlets.
Our new site page discusses the Mai Tai recipe from the Havana Trader Vic’s, circa 1958.
In addition to being an interesting historical artifact about a little known (and shortly lived) Trader Vic’s location, it is one of the earliest documented references for the use of a Rhum Agricole in a Mai Tai.
Great time today for the return of the Forbidden Island Parking Lot Sale after a one year absence. Very efficient entry for both those with indoor or outdoor reservations, plus people like us just there for the sale. Some good vendors this year and we bought a vintage print from Tiki Tommy.
The $10 entry is good for a drink from the outdoor tiki bar. The batched cocktail options were a Jet Pilot, Royal Hawaiian Cocktail, and a classic Mai Tai. Got to say the two cocktails were quite good! Both Mrs Mai Tai and I both enjoyed them.
The Parking Lot Sale is taking place 2-7 pm Saturday and Sunday, so come by if you’re local. Vendor space is about half from previous years but lots of great stuff to look at and purchase.
Congrats to the Oakland tiki ohana’s resident wildman Joe Kent for finishing 100 rums to complete the Kon-Tiki Expedition. It is always a pleasure to see someone else be celebrated for the accomplishment.
As is the custom, there was a special menu in Joe’s honor. I had to try the delicious Ports of Despair, which is basically what Trader Vic’s calls a “San Francisco Mai Tai” that has a 151 float added. Per the note, it is “sort of” a thing, though mostly at Vic’s. Just don’t call it an “old way” Mai Tai since that can mean something else.
The Scavenger special with Montucky beer and a shot was fun. The shot had bitters and pimento dram and who knows what else but was very tasty. Montucky is cheap and light lager that is about my style when it comes to beer.
Lots of familiar faces in attendance and Joe’s wife Shannon made a truly excellent rum cake. Fun times at Kon-Tiki.
Mrs. Mai Tai suggested checking this place out in downtown SLO after our lunch in Morro Bay. This restaurant and bar includes a creekside patio and second bar out back. The menu is obviously tiki inspired, though from a surf and boat drink point of view. There are a few tiki elements here, but for sure this isn’t a dark tiki bar; it’s a fun bar with a tiki theme. Mrs. Mai Tai ate here a couple years ago and said the bar food menu was pretty good.
Some plusses here. The spirit options were quite reasonable, in addition to a variety of beers and wine options as you’d expect. Mrs. Mai Tai thought the Blood Orange Mule was fantastic and while I’m not normally a ginger beer/mule fan myself, I had to admit it was quite tasty.
The weird thing is that although most of the spirit categories had at least a couple quality offerings, the rums were disappointingly aligned to super sweet cocktails. Bacardi, Malibu, Sailor Jerry, and several Captain Morgan flavors. Myers’s was by far the best here.
The “Tiki Tai” has white rum, spiced rum, orange and pineapple juice, a dark rum float, and “drizzled with grenadine.” I give a lot of leeway to bars serving Island Style Mai Tais (including the Harbor Hut in Morro Bay), but the Tiki Tai was very Rose’s Grenadine forward and so very very sweet. Sweeter than is even my preference.
Which isn’t to say that Creeky Tiki was terrible. The patio out back or the parklet out front offered some nice shaded seating on a Saturday afternoon, so if you’re looking for a place to hoist a few with friends in SLO then Creeky Tiki could be great.
Finally got to visit Harbor Hut this past weekend. You can see there are good Polynesian bones here, even if the food is basically standard steak and seafood. There are a number of tikis and nautical elements on the properly, and the indoor space is well appointed with tiki artwork and an aquarium. The outside Lil’ Hut is open for Fish & Chips and similar quick service offerings.
Mrs. Mai Tai and I stopped inside for a drink in their bar in the early afternoon. Their signature cocktail is The Big Kahuna aka “The Ultimate Mai-Tai” and was the largest Mai Tai I’ve ever seen. It wasn’t too bad if Island Mai Tais are your thing, and the rum in the float tasted great. The Cucumber cocktail Mrs. Mai Tai had was merely okay.
This place clearly isn’t “high tiki” but isn’t bad for what it is. Staff was friendly, and while that bar doesn’t have too many seats there are plenty of tables in the lounge. The main dining room has great views of Morro Rock.
Happy hour is back at Oakland’s The Kon-Tiki, Tuesday-Thursdays from 4:00-6:00 pm. There are some food favorites including a grilled cheese sandwich, plus some familiar cocktails. Next time I need to try that Stiggins Pineapple rum on draft.
The Mai Tai previously graced the happy hour menu at Kon-Tiki, but this version is even better that previous one. The new Happy Hour Mai Tai features Jamaican, Martinique, and St. Luician rum and very good for a $10 Mai Tai in the Bay Area. The initial taste was a little bland, but as the cocktail diluted a little bit over a couple minutes the true flavor of this delightful Mai Tai began to shine.
There is a different Mai Tai on the regular Kon-Tiki menu, and it might be worth the $13 price to include some darker rums in the blend. But the Happy Hour Mai Tai is pretty great too.
I still enjoy the easy listening music at The Kon-Tiki. During this visit they played a song that sounded like retro 1970s soft rock but was actually the 2013 track “Don’t Know What’s Normal” from Shintaro Sakamoto. New music with a vintage sound.
Edit: Chris Day from The Kon-Tiki confirmed that the Happy Hour Mai Tai is the same as their regular menu, just lower priced. So go get it!
A big week for The Kon-Tiki room at Palmetto, Oakland’s newest tiki bar. They opened on Wednesday this week to coincide with a show at the Fox Theater across the street. Sounds like business was booming, which is the whole idea of the bar in this location.
The Grogs were a suggestion and were spicy and boozy. I also tried the Hash Browns that had a lovely sauce. Bar staff remains super friendly and accommodating, even making some off-menu Mai Tais with Saint Benevolence aged rum. Thanks to Bob Stear for the pour of Foursquare 2009, a very fine rum.
Longtime readers know we try to keep reviews and trip reports fair handed here. And despite my frequent advocacy of the Yacht Rock that is often played at The Kon-Tiki, I was not loving the 80s top 40 being played at Kon-Tiki Room on Thursday. I shouldn’t hear any Phil Collins songs in a tiki bar, much less four.
The Kon-Tiki Room is a lot of fun and the cocktails continue to impress.
First brand sponsored rum tasting at The Kon-Tiki in quite some time. Mount Gay is a great choice, and I’m a big fan of their XO expression.
The special menu had some nice offerings. I’ve had the copper still rum expressions before so I tried the Barbados Slim; very good up cocktail with rich flavors of honey and Falernum.
The rum tasting was outside and we got to sample small portions of a cognac barrel aged sample. Hey, Mount Gay this rum is delicious, make it a limited edition retail product, please.
The food menu seemed a little larger than last time. In addition to the always fab Kon-Tiki Burger, I sampled the Calamari and Pork Bellies and both were great. More great service and a goovy vibe that Kon-Tiki is famous for.