First stop after landing in Waikiki was the Mai Tai bar at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel for a cocktail and some eye candy. We love the tables at the edge of this bar that are adjacent to the beach with great views of Diamond Head.
The Royal Hawaiian Mai Tai remains a competent island-style Mai Tai, with Pineapple and Orange Juice but also with real Orgeat and Orange Curacao. Mrs. Mai Tai enjoyed the Pink Palace, which is a Pina Colada with Grenadine added for color.
We have less positive things to say about the $40 Ali’i Mai Tai, which features Kō Hana Koho barrel aged rum, El Dorado 15, Ferrand Dry Curacao, orgeat, and fresh lime. Sounds good? There’s also “freshly muddled pineapple” which to my taste didn’t seem that fresh, along with a generous toping of Coco-Loco foam. The fruity topping tastes good on its own but doesn’t really work with the rest of the cocktail, and then completely overpowers the flavor once it gets incorporated into the cocktail. The color and notably also implies a great deal of pineapple juice, otherwise the two aged rums would turn this darker. I couldn’t really taste the rums in this, poor since it is supposed to feature them considering the price.
So, word of advice – skip the $40 Mai Tai and just go with the standard. There’s plenty of to enjoy here, including live musicians playing most days. Seating is open, so keep a look out for the tables right next to the beach.