New Cocktails at Trader Vic’s Emeryville

The new cocktail menu at Trader Vic’s Emeryville leans heavily on Trader Vic’s favorites, including “the Original Mai Tai” which is a Mai Tai made from scratch and not from their Mai Tai Concentrate mix. But there are a few new cocktails that were developed with Vic’s alum Brent Harris. I was able to sample three of this on a recent visit.

Vic’s Itch
This is a Tropical Itch riff that includes Dark and 151 rums, bourbon, passion fruit, fresh lemon, and fassionola. This was quite tasty and most definitely boozy.

Vic & Dotty
Supposedly a There Dots and a Dash riff, though without Rhum Agricole in my opinion it has strayed pretty far off. Contains Royal Amber and Appleton rums, falernum, grog mix, citrus, and honey. Very flavorful and totally felt like a classic Trader Vic’s cocktail, including orange and lemon. So it fits in nicely alongside favorites such as the Eastern Sour or Fogcutter.

Trader Vic’s Painkiller – not pictured
Features dark and gold rums, orange and pineapple, and Vic’s “coco-nutty house made Mandalay mix” with a dash of cream. Painkiller fans will feel right at home, but there’s definitely something different here – and I like it. Just a bit more complex than your typical Painkiller. Curious if our friends in Emeryville are playing with fire legally, though.

I wasn’t able to sample the other new cocktails:

Banana Dreams: rum, pineapple, grapefruit, lime, banana, fassionola. Also available without rum as the Dreamless Banana.

Drunken Monkey: blanco tequila, cachaca, citrus, banana, and orgeat, topped with lime zesty banana whipped cream.

For lunch I had all-time favorites Crab Rangoon and the Trader Vic’s Salad. It was nice to see the restaurant pretty full, too.

Shag Menu at Trader Vic’s Emeryville

Quite the event on Thursday to celebrate the release of a refreshed cocktail menu at Trader Vic’s Emeryville. Don’t worry, Mai Tai and Navy Grog fans, those are still on the menu along with nearly all of your Trader Vic’s favorites. There are several new items developed in conjunction with Vic’s alum Brent Harris. Some of these are riffs on classic cocktails, and we’ll have more about that in tomorrow’s post.

The event Thursday featured Shag who did the cover for the new menu. The design is inspired by Trader Vic’s classic cocktail menu cover, done in Shag’s style and including a bunch of Trader Vic’s icons. Notably, this design omits the sexualized elements – but also women entirely. This is the first of a series of cocktail menu covers designed by contemporary artists.

Shag was also available from 6-9 pm to sign menus ($20 with donation to Easter Island Foundation) and any other Shag items. I arrived at around 7:40 and got the last menu available for sale. There were Aloha Shirts available in the same design but those were sold out well before I got there. True Trader Vic’s fans will have an opportunity for an additional batch of shirts.

The restaurant and lounge were totally packed, with DJ Otto spinning tunes. If future events come up again, be sure to plan ahead and make reservations.

Happy Hulaween

Had to stop by @thekontikioakland for their Hulaween festivities last night. Some great rum samples and cocktails from O’ahu rum favorites @kohanarum. I enjoy their rum expressions, though their heavy cube-shaped bottles are… divisive. But the juice is fab, no doubt. I also hear great things about their distillery tour, so check them out the next time you’re on the island.

The Oakland Ohana costume party was in full swing and I came up with a simple but effective costume to pay tribute to Kon-Tiki’s co-owner @christaivaliotis, who’s well known for his amazing hospitality but also his amazing chest hair. Thanks @laurasmurphy for the photo.

The music was a spooky playlist covering a variety of genres and I really dug the mix. I was going sans-glasses for the costume so I think there was some Halloween decor but I can’t be sure.

Golden Fez Shock the Monkey Lowball Glass

I purchased this very nice glass from our friends at House of Tabu. When you order you also get some additional goodies including a recipe card from Tiki Lindy, a pin, and a sticker. Very nice.

I don’t have a ton of these smaller “lowball” glasses, so this seemed like the opportune time to toe-dip into House of Tabu’s “Order of the Golden Fez” brand (or maybe it is a cult, I’m not sure). The glasses are still available, along with a pre-sale for the new issue of Exotica Moderne where I have an article about local favorites The Kon-Tiki in Oakland.

The Mai Tai was made with a freshly prepared bottle of Ultimate Mai Tai rum blend. That’s equal parts Appleton 12, Plantation Xaymaca, Smith & Cross, and Plantation OFTD. Rich, boozy, and delicious.

The orgeat comes from our buddy Tony Dunnigan who lives in San Jose. Tony’s homemade orgeat is pretty easy to make even if you’re lazy like I am. But I was happy to trade a couple rum samples for some of Tony’s orgeat. I noticed Tony has a couple Order of the Golden Fez mugs, so I guess he’s part of the secret society, too. Oops, maybe I have said too much.

Orgeat by Tony Dunnigan
2 cups Unsweetened Almond Milk
4 cups Granulated Sugar
Heat in saucepan and stir until the sugar dissolves
Add 1 “light” teaspoon of Orange Blossom Water
Add 2 tablespoons of Almond Extract
Add ⅓ Cup Cognac
Continue to stir, then bottle

1934 Zombie

I keep trying Zombie variants but aways come back to this one. Don the Beachcomber really got it right the first time, as future variants, while interesting, do have the complex and transformative characteristics of this Planters Punch on steroids.

The glassware features a stylized Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, who through sleuthing and relationship building was finally able to piece together Donn’s original recipe. The Zombie chapter in Berry’s book Sippin’ Safari might be my favorite chapter in any book I’ve ever read. So many historical details, written in Detective-style first person as only the Bum can. If you don’t have the book, you need to get it now. The 10th Anniversary edition is printed in beautiful hardback with additional material compared to the original 2007 paperback version.

The glass is available from Cocktail Kingdom and is the perfect compliment. And if you need the recipe it’s right on glass for easy reference. Enjoy a Zombie today.

Books and glasses and more are available at

Trader Vic’s Canned Mai Tai Available in 38 States


Up an hour early today to take the dog in for surgery. Shitty week at work seeing how many colleagues are vax deniers. Then an hour wait to pick up the dog (she’s fine, but surgery wasn’t cheap). So it was a heck of a day.

So this tasty canned Mai Tai seemed like a great idea.

I purchased my canned Mai Tai at BevMo locally, but these are now available to order online and shipping to 38 states!

Order Now:

Simplified Zombie Attempt

It is October, so that means that it is Zombie season at Ultimate Mai Tai HQ.

Tonight we took a run at tweaking the Zombie (Simplified) recipe by Jeff “Beachbum” Berry in his book Beachbum Berry Remixed.

Zombie (Simplified)
¾ oz Lime Juice
1 oz White Grapefruit Juice
½ oz Cinnamon Syrup
½ oz 151 Proof Puerto Rican Rum
1 oz Dark Jamaican Rum

My tasting notes from the last time I made this indicated the cinnamon was too forward. I’ve also felt that Grenadine is an essential component to the Zombie, so I made an adjustment to the syrups. I used a fresh Ruby Grapefruit.

You know I prefer heavier rums, so I used my Ultimate Mai Tai rum blend instead (which is actually around the same ABV as the two rums above). For those new readers, the Ultimate Mai Tai rum blend is equal parts Appleton 12, Smith & Cross, Plantation Xaymaca, and Plantation OFTD.

Zombie (Simplified) – Adjusted
¾ oz Lime Juice
1 oz Rudy Grapefruit Juice
¼ oz Cinnamon Syrup
¼ oz Grenadine
1½ oz Ultimate Mai Tai rum blend

This wasn’t terrible but honestly tasted a little flat. Definitely missed the additional spice elements in the 1934 Zombie recipe.

They can’t all be winners.

Glassware: Beachbum Berry Zombie Glasses