Mai Tai Day at Forbidden Island

Had to go somewhere for the actual Mai Tai Day on August 30. Forbidden Island hosts their Ohana nights on Tuesdays and they had guest bartender Captain Dave from the Captain’s Cabin bar in Arizona, so this was the choice.

We were all too happy to relax on FI’s well-appointed back patio. Mrs. Mai Tai ordered her standard Chamborlada, always a favorite here. She also had the Tradewinds that combines coconut and apricot flavors so well.

I went with FI’s standard Classic Mai Tai. They’re using a multi-rum blend in the Mai Tai and I thought it was pretty good. There’s a certain tanginess that I really liked. They have a new cocktail menu and there’s a Viking Mai Tai that I’ll try next time.

Captain Dave had a few drink specials and I dug the Shipwrecked in Scotland, which thankfully leaned more into the Jamaican rum than the Scotch. Lots of good flavors.

Nice to be able to say hello to Michael Thanos, who petitioned Oakland to recognize the Mai Tai and where this August 30 Mai Tai Day stuff originally emanated from. Cheers!

Trader Vic’s Mai Tai Day 2022 Recap

Such a fun day in Emeryville yesterday at Trader Vic’s. Lines for cocktails and food were very well managed and plenty of outdoor seating.

My seminar on the Hawaiian Mai Tai went pretty well. A great turnout even in room doing cocktails and rum tasting and (after the door to the outside was closed) which was a little warm. Thanks to those who attended, for being engaged, and laughing at my jokes. The meme got a big laugh. Slides are available here on the site.

Photo courtesy Trader Vic’s Emeryville
Photo courtesy Trader Vic’s Emeryville

I was pleased to be a judge for the cocktail competition. Some great cocktail entries. Congrats to Marisa Miller for winning, and be sure to check out her Kunia Cooler cocktail during September at Vic’s.

Marisa Miller

So much going on. Wish there was time to socialize with more people but it was nice to see so many familiar faces. Thanks to @westcoastmseve for getting me onto the program.

And now for the actual Mai Tai Day on Tuesday Aug 30th. Cheers!

The (De)Evolution of the Hawaiian Mai Tai – Trader Vic’s Mai Tai Day

Here’s a link to the the PowerPoint deck from my seminar at Trader Vic’s Emeryville’s Mai Tai Day today. This is a revised and expended version of the earlier Tiki Kon presentation.

It is such a pleasure to be part of Mai Tai Day and I want to thank Trader Vic’s Emeryville management, especially Faith Nebergall and Eve Bergeron.

View/Download the Presentation

Additional Referenced Links

Mai Tai Day 2021 Outdoor Fun

With indoor dining restrictions still in place, 2021’s Mai Tai Day event at Trader Vic’s Emeryville was held in the parking lot. Tikiyaki 5-0 played some energetic surf music, while some vendors were selling their goods. Trader Vic’s offered a Mai Tai slushie that was a treat on a warm and sunny day, available with or without rum. Plenty of picnic tables for relaxing and socializing.

I enjoyed the rotating guest bartender stations. It was great to try the Conga Lounge Mai Tai and I really enjoyed the premium Mai Tai cooked up by Doc Parks – complete with the first appearance of the Wilfred’s Lounge swizzle stick.

The special event glass featured a colorful design along with the recipe for a Mai Tai ’44. It notably listed the currently used Trader Vic’s Royal Amber rum, widely used in the Vic’s restaurants but pretty hard to find at retail. I do enjoy souvenir glasses with recipes on them.

See you Sunday for the 2022 Mai Tai Day event and be sure to arrive early to see my seminar on the Hawaiian Mai Tai at 2 pm.

Mai Tai Day 2020 Virtual Toast

After the frenzy of 2019’s Mai Tai Day celebrating 75 years, 2020 was bound to be a more sedate affair. This was made even more so by indoor dining restrictions in summer 2020. So, the Mai Tai Day event was held in the parking lot in Trader Vic’s then current outdoor dining area.

The special glass in 2020 was a mason jar, quite fitting considering how to-go cocktails were packaged at Trader Vic’s during this period. It’s a wonderful variant of the seminal Trader Vic’s tapa design that’s graced glassware for years.

Drinks were available from the outside bar, and food could be ordered online. I thought my Mai Tai was quite tasty on this day, which was foggy and cool in the late morning when the event opened.

Later, there was a virtual toast with those attending in person being able to raise a glass with Mai Tai fans worldwide with Trader Vic’s CEO Rhett Rosen.

See you Sunday for the 2022 Mai Tai Day event and be sure to arrive early to see my seminar on the Hawaiian Mai Tai at 2 pm.

75 Years of Mai Tai Roa Ae

In 2019, the Mai Tai celebrated its 75th anniversary. On a sunny Saturday in late August, Trader Vic’s flagship location in Emeryville held a special event to celebrate the occasion.


Every single square foot of public space was used at the restaurant, including all of the dining rooms, the outdoor patio, and the venerable Mai Tai lounge. Bands and DJs played, arts and craft vendors crammed into corners selling their wares, photo booths allowed guests to capture the moment, and a buffet provided an all-you-can-eat opportunity for hundreds of guests to sample some of the best food that Trader Vic’s offers.

And of course there were Mai Tais; eight variants in fact. Plus other Trader Vic’s cocktails, and long lines for thirsty patrons.

As the party reached its apex of capacity, Trader Vic’s granddaughter Eve Bergeron called the assembled masses together for a toast. And then she passed the microphone over to Forbidden Island and Conga Lounge tiki bar owner Michael Thanos.

Michael Thanos

Thanos was in his element. Like a country preacher, he told the story about how he lobbied to have the Mai Tai declared the official cocktail of Oakland. And then how the effort failed but at least the city did declare Mai Tai Day to be August 30. As he finished the story, he asked for glasses to be raised as he brought the assembled crowd to a fevered crescendo by proclaiming “Long live Trader Vic’s! Long live the Mai Tai!

See you Sunday for the 2022 Mai Tai Day event and be sure to arrive early to see my seminar on the Hawaiian Mai Tai at 2 pm.

Real Mai Tai Day 2018

This was the previous nomenclature used by Trader Vic’s Emeryville to designate the Mai Tai Day on August 30, to differentiate from “National Mai Tai Day” on June 30 (an unofficial cocktail holiday). Thankfully, many places are transitioning to the August date and this “real” name isn’t used anymore. Though I’m not sad to have two Mai Tai Days each year, if you know what I mean.


The 2018 event featured special Mai Tai glasses and DJ Otto Von Stroheim in the lounge. Practically quaint compared to the festivities since then. Similar celebrations were held at Trader Vic’s in 2016-2017, before I started doing the Mai Tai rabbit hole thing again.

See you Sunday for the 2022 Mai Tai Day event and be sure to arrive early to see my seminar on the Hawaiian Mai Tai at 2 pm.