Had a very nice Mai Tai at Dr. Funk in San Jose with just Appleton 12 Jamaican Rum. This produced a cocktail that was less boozy and less funky than Dr. Funk’s standard Mai Tai that is made with Appleton 12 and higher proof Smith & Cross Jamaican rum. I’m often a big fan of Mai Tais made just with Appleton 12, though the one with Smith & Cross is better at Dr. Funk.
Most good bars will allow customers to try cocktails with a different, name-called spirit when requested by the customer (always politely, of course). We usually do this in a Mai Tai, but for rums a Daiquiri is also a good option. This can be a great way to discover new rums, especially if you’re not keen on drinking them neat. Dr. Funk has an expanding rum list (which has grown so large it’s no longer listed on the menu), so I’m looking forward to exploring their selection.
Speaking of Dr. Funk, we’re having the monthly 1st Sunday Ohana meet-up starting when they open at 4:00 and ending … later. I know many of the local folks will be attending the Brunch and Fashion Show at Trader Vic’s that same day but try to join us if you can or if you’re skipping Vic’s.
I still had more White Grapefruit Juice so I did a little riff that actually ended up tasting quite nice. This is definitely grapefruit-forward, but I think it pairs well with the gin and the hints of orange and the rich orgeat syrup. This leans tart, so if you like it sweeter I’d suggest bumping the Cointreau to ¾ oz.
London Dry Spin by Kevin Crossman 1 oz Fresh White Grapefruit Juice ¼ oz Fresh Orange Juice ¼ oz Orgeat ½ oz Cointreau 2 oz London Dry Gin (Beefeater) Shake with ice and strain into a coupe glass
The Orgeat used was homemade from Pearl’s Hideaway and is bit on the cloudy side compared to some commercial syrups such as Latitude 29. In this case, the cloudy white cocktail made this look a bit different from Daiquris and other cocktails served up. Liber & Co. orgeat would have similar cloudy results.
This was posted by Spike Marble on @thehulagirls Instagram and it was perfect timing as I was looking for something to use with the last of the White Grapefruit was I was gifted. They held up pretty good this month.
This is the cocktail that Spike developed for his Spike’s Breezeway Cocktail Hour show on YouTube, which I have enjoyed every Friday for the last two years. Spike talks cocktails (always in the glass that it was served in) and tiki, sometimes with special guests. It is educational and entertaining, so check it out if you’ve somehow missed it. You must be a fan of corks to fully appreciate the show.
The Breezeway Cocktail by Spike Marble ¾ oz Lime Juice ¾ oz Orange Juice ¾ oz White Grapefruit Juice ¼ oz Demerara Syrup ¼ oz Cinnamon Syrup ¼ oz Falernum 1 tsp Ginger Syrup 1 oz Soda Water 1 oz Hamilton White Stache Rum (sub: Denizen 3) 1 oz Doctor Bird Jamaican Rum
Blend for 6 seconds with crushed ice. Pour soda water into tiki mug, then rest of the drink with ice. Garnish with sliced limes, orange wedge, Luxardo Cherries, mint, orchid, garnish.
I didn’t go extreme with the garnishes, and used my favored Hay! Straws rather than the glass one specified by Spike.
This cocktail is light and refreshing, and the mix of spicy syrups does give it an interesting twist. I don’t have the Breezeway Cocktail Hour tiki mug, so I used this nice pilsner glass from Trader Vic’s. This is a tribute to Spike who often makes vintage Trader Vic’s cocktails on the show.
Spike has a Patreon for supporters of the show, and if you’re at the $10 level you can get a cool Breezeway Cocktail Hour pin shown below.
I’m not sure why it took us this long to get here, but it has been Shirley Temple week for Mrs. Mai Tai. Not a movie marathon, but several tastings of the mocktail made with Grenadine and Soda, topped with cherries. This seems to be right up her alley, having preferred blended cocktails such as the Chi-Chi and Lava Flow. But for whatever reason it never occurred to order this in the past.
Recipes vary but typically include some Grenadine and either Ginger Ale, 7-up, or Lemon-Lime Soda. Some recipes also call for little splash of Lemon or Lime Juice, which I think would be a nice addition.
As noted in the previous post, we had these at Hula’s after a night of cocktails in Paso Robles. Then, we ordered one at Forbidden Island and what came out was very, very different. Instead of bright red cherries and Rose’s Grenadine, this one was served with traditional Pomegranate Grenadine and dark cherries. This variant seemed to be popular in my Instagram story poll, winning 2-1. Knowing that many don’t love the red cherries, it would be interesting to see if Luxardo dark cherries on top of a Shirley Temple with Rose’s might be more popular.
I also ordered a Shirley Temple for Mrs. Mai Tai at SAP Center at Sharks game, and that one came out nice and sweet, but sans cherries. Bummer.
I see recipes online that refer to a Dirty Shirley, when vodka or rum is added. If dark rum is used, it is called a Shirley Temple Black, a funny homage to the actress’s married name.
The original Tiki Bob’s location in San Francisco has been closed for decades, but the iconic face of Tiki Bob is still present at the corner of Post and Taylor. Today, this is the Honey Honey cafe that serves sandwiches and crepes.
For many years, Bob was painted green to match the Honey Honey motif. But a few years ago local tikiphiles Heather M. David, muralist Donald Harvey, and Smuggler’s Cove owner Martin Cate received permission to restore Bob to his vintage glory and this is the look that remains in place today. Read more about the transformation and be sure to visit Bob when you’re in the City.
The Forbidden Island Kill Devil Club is a loyalty program for customers who complete their Kill Devil rum tasting lists. There’s the basic list which covers a broad selection of 100+ rums. I completed the first list in March last year.
The Kill Devil 2.0 list features hard to find, allocated, and rare rums that are generally longer aged and are often limited releases (thus, more expensive). For this reason, the 2.0 list changes over time as bottles are emptied and no longer available. The latest release of the 2.0 list came out in November and that’s when I started the list of 60 rums and 5 wildcards, most of which were consumed at home thanks to Forbidden Island’s To-Go program that’s still going strong.
For completing the 2.0 list, you get this cool limited edition mug from Outl1n3 Island. And of course the fame of a ceremony led by FI’s Michael Thanos. Thanks to Brenda for the photos.
This was a pretty good list, even if I didn’t love some of the Central and South American releases that often included added sugar. Though, I must say I was super impressed by the Diplomatico Pot Still expression. You should always end these lists on a good one, so my final rum was Mt. Gay XO LE Cask Strength, a rum I knew I’d love.
I kept tasting notes and ratings for each rum sampled, and this is the list of the rums rating 4 or 5 stars.
Admiral Rodney Officer’s Release **** Ak Zanj 10yr **** Blackadder Hampden **** Cadenhead’s Diamond 14yr ***** Clairin Vaval **** Diplomatico #3 Pot Still **** Don Q Single Barrel 2005 **** Facundo Eximo **** Foursquare 2009 **** Foursquare Exceptional Cask **** Holmes Cay Mhoba 2017 ***** Holmes Cay Uitvlugt 2003 **** Holmes Cay Wedderbum 2011 **** Lost Spirits Polynesian **** Mt. Gay XO LE Cask Strength **** Mt. Gay Origins Copper Column **** Mt. Gay Origins Copper Pot ***** Real McCoy 14yr LE Cask Strength **** Transcontinental Australia ***** Transcontinental Fiji ***** Transcontinental Guadeloupe **** Transcontinental Jamaica **** Trois Rivières Spéciales Reserve **** Vaval Clairin Ansyen Oloroso Cask *****
Best Rum from the List: Cadenhead’s Diamond 14yr, a delicious pot still release from the Diamond Distillery in Guyana.
Thanks to the team at Forbidden Island for helping me with the rum list, filling the little bottles, and pouring the rum in person.
So pleased to attend a fabulous event last night at Forbidden Island, where there was a silent auction to raise money for Universal Aid for Children of Ukraine. The event was organized by Jenny and Chad Martens and included a host of items donated by members of the community as well as a few local businesses.
The event ran from 6:00 – 9:00 and also included a special cocktail called the Molokai Molotov also sending proceeds to the charity. The cocktail represented Ukraine’s blue and yellow colors, and featured two layers. Yellow layer: Lemon, Pineapple, Cruzan Light Rum, Simple Syrup. Blue layer: Giffard Blue Curacao, Rum Fire Overproof Jamaican rum. Each layer was fantastic and put together was even better. Like a Blue Hawaii but with extra oomph from the Rum Fire. I loved it.
The event raised thousands of dollars. I walked away with a bottle of the Trader Vic’s Royal Amber Rum (donated by Trader Vic’s), and a couple books including the hard-to-find 2nd edition of James Teitelbaum’s seminal Tiki Road Trip. Mrs. Mai Tai walked away with the cute tiki pillow.
Such as great event and very well-attended. Thank you to the entire Forbidden Island crew for helping with the event and the speedy service on such a busy night. Everyone did a great job.
Mrs. Mai Tai and I made a side-visit to Monterey on the way home from Paso Robles and checked into Hula’s Island Grill for Lunch. After all the imbibing the night previous, it was Shirley Temples rather than cocktails for us (we do love those cherries). Service was spot on but it was a bit too cool for Hula’s fine back patio.
We had a great lunch in a little nook next to some framed vintage photos and even saw a framed version of the Barack Obama Birth Certificate.
Central California’s newest tiki bar is Cane Tiki Room, located in downtown Paso Robles. As drinking destinations go, Paso’s downtown has some great cocktail bars, plenty of craft beer, and every third storefront is wine tasting. So a tiki bar certainly is a unique offering to appeal to the locals and tourists who come to downtown to imbibe.
Mrs. Mai Tai and I arrived about ten minutes before 4:00 pm when they opened on Saturday. There was a large group ahead of us, but the line soon grew and grew. It was probably twenty deep and the place filled up fast with everyone being reminded of the 90 minute time limit. We saw several groups come in for a one-and-done cocktail, many of which had already been our drinking already. So it was that kind of clientele.
But that clientele had a pretty good experience. Cane Tiki Room is nicely appointed with some coherent and thematic art, plus straight exotica music to set the mood. There is a host station and plenty of wait staff and bartenders, too. While we didn’t partake in the food, they do feature many popular Hawaiian and Chinese favorites. There is a very healthy selection of premium rums and spirits.
We had three rounds of drinks before we left for dinner elsewhere, and found the quality of the cocktails to be quite good. There are a mix of classic stirred cocktails such as the Bumbuzzled (and Old Fashioned riff), but others with interesting ingredients such as Soju Think You Can Dance with Ginger Soju and Yuzu. I liked my Jet Pilot riff called the Space Cadet. The menu is large enough so that everyone has something to try, but not too large to be overwhelming. A skull rating supposedly helps you but I felt that some of the ratings were too low.
Everything seemed pretty damn good… except the Mai Tai made with Macadamia Nut Orgeat, Denizen White Rum, and Cihuatan 12 rum from El Salvador (not one of my favorite rums). Had a funny taste and was really not up to the same level as the rest of the cocktails.
Overall, though, Cane Tiki Room is a welcome addition and we’ll no doubt return.
Unlike the Mai Tai which has a well-established canonical recipe, the Navy Grog does not. There’s the Don the Beachcomber version. There’s the Trader Vic’s version. There are versions that blend key ingredients from both. And then there are places that do something different. This is the Dr. Funk Navy Grog.
Still a heavy cocktail with lots of grapefruit and rum, but it does not lean into the traditional ingredients such as honey or pimento dram. Instead, Dr. Funk introduces a different set of spices including Grapefruit Bitters. It is worth trying and you might even prefer this recipe.