Yes, yes they are. Tasty Mai Tai from Forbidden Island and watching the @sfgiants at home.
Still nice to be able to take something out when you leave the bar. FI’s Kill Devil Club has rums to go to sample at home too.
I don’t know if anyone else cares about this at all, but I’m always interested when one of my favorite places updates a menu. And since I have the older menus, it is interesting to see what’s coming, going, and staying.
Most notable for us is the inclusion of a Mai Tai listed on the menu and not just as an option on the Happy Hour menu or as a “call” item. We’ve discussed recently that the Kon-Tiki Mai Tai has a new rum blend featuring Jamaican, Martinique, and St. Luician rums. This is different from their previously blend, as well as the Mai Tai rums used at their sister bar The Kon-Tiki Room. Quite delightful, and of course the Kon-Tiki has a vast rum collection so the staff can make a Mai Tai out of any of those rums.
Also notable is the remaining inclusion of the premium Samaroli Mai Tai that uses a rare rum and is priced at $44 (hello “44 Mai Tai”). I’ve been told by staff that this Mai Tai is more popular than you might expect, so I guess there are still upscale customers in Oakland. What’s next, bottle service?
(that’s a joke, Kon-Tiki. Please don’t ever offer bottle service)
Be sure to try some of the amazing new cocktails the next time you visit.
The new Appleton 15 expression is rolling out and I was tipped that some Total Wine stores in the Bay Area were carrying a bottle or two. So I immediately put one on order and picked it up.
I’ve been waiting for this new Appleton rum. After last year’s Appleton rebranding that included reformulation of the Appleton 8 Reserve expression, this new Appleton 15 year expression is moderately priced and designed as a 43% ABV sipping rum. You don’t always want cask strength. The 15 is a minimum age statement, so the blend of pot and column still rums in the bottle have all been aged in Jamaica for at least 15 years. There’s even a certificate of ageing.
As we’re want to do at Ultimate Mai Tai HQ, we set up a #umtshootout. Blind tests against the currently available Appleton 8, and Appleton 12 expressions, plus sample of a different Appleton 15 limited release that I procured from an unnamed benefactor. The other Appleton 15 has a higher ABV, so was easy to pick out in the blind taste test.
All of these rums are pretty nice as blended aged rums, featuring lighter column still distillate and only a little bit of Jamaica’s legendary funkiness. Perfect for cocktails and I also enjoy drinking neat.
- My favorite from the blind test? Thankfully, it was the 15. The Black River Casks have a much longer finish than the over two and a much nicer mouthfeel.
- I liked the 12 second best, noting that it had a more caramel taste, with a medium finish. Meanwhile the 8 felt a little thinner, with stronger hints of orange.
If you’re a fan of Appleton 12 like I am, the new 15 Black River casks is worth the ~$20 premium. It tastes great neat and I’m looking forward to tomorrow night’s Mai Tai.
Our friend Greg Smith aka @tikiloungelights did some amazing work on a pair of matching lamps for our bedroom.
Trader Vic’s Maori Haka mugs were inspired by a tiki at Trader Vic’s in Emeryville. Mugs are mounted on a wood base and bamboo pedestal with a wood carving above. Matching Shades made of real Tahitian Tapa cloth in shades built from scratch complete this custom design. Bulbs are 3-way LED.
Great is easy to work with on custom jobs like ours. You can see more on the Tiki Lounge Lights account, and locals can check out lamps in person at the Holiday Bazaar at Trader Vic’s on November 7th.
Quick stop the other night at The Kon-Tiki Room at Palmetto to get a shot of the Disco Banana for a project I’m working on. I love this cocktail that was developed by Jeanie Grant back in her Pagan Idol days. It’s on the menu at Zombie Village where it is blended fresh and served in a coupe.
At the Kon-Tiki Room, the Disco Banana is a frozen drink from their slushy machine. Suuuuper cold! Still quite nice and just the right amount of banana flavor. The Pearl Diver glass is interesting and means that this is actually a pretty large serving.
We continue to be impressed with the service at the Kon-Tiki Room; the bartender was enthusiastic about doing something off menu for one of the people in our party. Vaccination checks and entry couldn’t be easier and a nice crowd for a Thursday even without a show across the street at the Fox Theater.
I got the last one of the limited run and couldn’t be happier. Look how cute! And the swizzle sticks were a cool bonus (I love glow-in-the-dark stuff). Check them out for more cool mugs.
Mrs. Mai Tai and I had dinner with some friends at The Kon-Tiki. While there, we got to try some new cocktails that are coming soon to the 4th edition of the printed Kon-Tiki cocktail menu.
First up is “Mezcal in the Banana Stand,” with Dry Sherry, Banana-Honey, and Lemon. Mezcal is still a bit out there for me, but this was quite nice and not too much of a punch to the gut, and definitely mellowed over time. A very nice tropical cocktail.
Second is the “Martinique on Fleek,” a Wray and Ting riff using Clement Blanc rum (so, 100 proof!). Very refreshing and an interesting change of pace.
Third is the “Kon-Tiki Spritz” with White Aperitivo, Pineapple Liqueur, White Wine, and Seltzer. Mrs. Mai Tai really liked this, and I think it’s an interesting cocktail with some fine tropical nods but also totally outside the typical rum, gin, or agave spirit-based cocktails.
I’m super excited to see a new printed cocktail menu at The Kon-Tiki coming soon. I’ll be there this coming Wednesday for Ohana Night and who know what else!
Food wise, we tried the Queso (good, but not exotic) and Coconut Shrimp (also good), along with the Kon-Tiki Burger and Buffalo Cauliflower that we’ve had before. Music last night featured Latin rhythms and was really great. Peppy but still mostly instrumental and definitely not “modern” sounding. Kudos to the DJ.
Happy birthday to Oakland tikiphile Laura Murphy (aka Pearl) who’s birthday is today.
To celebrate, I made one of Laura’s original cocktails named Spring Until Yesterday. Quite tasty using some of my favorite rums from Jamaica, and flavors such as Coconut and Falernum that I didn’t realize worked so well together. Give it a try.
Spring Until Yesterday by Laura Murphy
1 oz Lime Juice
1 oz Coconut Creme
¾ oz Falernum
1 tsp Herbstura
¾ oz Rum Fire Overproof Jamaican Rum
1 oz Coruba Dark Rum
Flash blend with ice, then pour into glass or mug. Garnish with freshly grated cinnamon and a bouquet of mint.
Herbstura: equal parts Herbsaint (or Pernod/Absinthe) and Angostura Bitters
I’m such a big fan of Saint Benevolence rum, especially their Rum Clairin expression. An unaged rum from Haiti, I’ve long extolled the virtues of this flavorful, savory spirit.
The newly available aged expression is the same rum, just aged in barrell for at least a year. A great way to see how barrel aging changes a spirit, and makes the rum more approachable for many consumers.
It tastes great on its own, not “too oaky.” And it is wonderful in a Mai Tai of course. Had to use one of my tall Saint Benevolence glasses.
Saint Benevolence is worth seeking out. I bought my bottle of Aged Clairin at Bitters & Bottles.