Monymusk Rum Tasting at Oakland’s Kon-Tiki

Seemed like old times in downtown Oakland for some rum tasting and special cocktails at The Kon-Tiki. Michael Goldman was on hand to share the new lineup of Monymusk rums from Jamaica, including two aged expressions and a very interesting Overproof blend.

Michael Goldman

The Monymusk Classic Gold aged for five years is a wonderful rum that’s perfect for cocktails, with the 10 year Special Reserve being affordable enough for cocktails but better suited as a sipper. There’s plenty of traditional Jamican flavor in these two expressions, but as a 40% ABV blend of pot and column-still distillates are perhaps more approachable than some of the overly funky Jamaica rums. Compare to Appleton, not Smith & Cross.

Meanwhile, Monymusk’s Overproof is definitely within the range of White Jamaican Overproof rums you’ve seen before but leaning a little lighter due to a pot/column blend. The funky flavor is there, just a bit rounded out.

Park Lane Special

Kon-Tiki had a special menu of cocktails and I was completely blown away by the grapefruit forward highball cocktail called Park Lane Special. This featured Monymusk Overproof along with a dazzling Grapefruit punch cordial. Kon-Tiki’s Carlos Jimenez really has a winner with this one. I also tried the Jamaican Bee with Monymusk Gold, lemon, and honey – a nice daiquiri riff that shows how the Monymusk rums work well in cocktails.

It was really interesting to try the updated Monymusk product line and to see their new labels. Look for these to be available in California and other states very soon.

Orinda’s Boo Loo Lounge Now Serving Bar Bites

Had a great time in downtown Orinda to revisit the Boo Loo Lounge for the first time in a couple months. The strong bar program is still going strong with a menu of a dozen or so cocktails. This little bar next to the Orinda Theater is now serving a selection of fryer style bar bites, similar to Forbidden Island in Alameda. Don’t expect these to be gourmet but may hit the spot if you’re trying to stay in the venue longer. There are several nearby restaurants if like us you want to work off your buzz with a full service dining option.

Coconut Shrimp with Mai Tai in mug brought by the author

The Mai Tai’s orange liqueur has been switched to the Hamilton Petite Canne Shrubb, a Rhum Agricole-based liqueur. Along with a rum base that includes Rhum Agricole I found this to lean too far in the grassy flavor profile. Regular readers may remember that Smuggler’s Cove briefly used this liqueur in their Mai Tais, with similar not great results. Feedback was provided, with DeKuyper suggested as an alternative in a similar cost range.

Thankfully, the Hurricane I had was truly fantastic, a wild blend of Fassionola, juices, and rum. This cocktail met the high expectations I’ve grown accustomed to at the Boo Loo Lounge. Similarly, Mrs. Mai Tai’s Lady of Singapore and Saturn were excellent.


The crowd was having a great time, as we were with our friends. Boo Loo Lounge is so small they’ll really benefit from sunny skies and the use of their patio seating out front. By layering on bar bites onto the small venue with modest staffing, I wonder if they’re biting off more than they can chew but there’s nothing wrong with trying something to see how it goes. I hear there are plans for something else new to whet the appetite of guests, coming soon – so stay tuned.

Fog Cutter Friday: Leverage at Trader Vic’s Emeryville

We had a great dinner at Trader Vic’s last Saturday celebrating our friend’s birthday (the venue was her choice, but twist our arms to have dinner at Vic’s). Drinks at the bar before being seated an then a wonderful dinner. I had the Beef and Reef for the first time, a delightful bowl with shrimp and steak. We also ordered the decadent Mai Tai Crème Brûlée that was amazing.

Mrs. Mai Tai and the birthday girl ordered dueling Fog Cutters and Mrs. Mai Tai found the point of leverage on the mug. Never hurts to have a little extra to grip onto.

Midcentury Charm at West Seattle’s Three 9 Lounge

Three 9 Lounge is located in West Seattle and connected to West Seattle Bowl, offering an entrance off the street as well as from within the bowling alley. The lounge offers vintage decor and booth and lounge seating. The venue offers a variety of Polynesian inspired bar bites and a healthy number of classic and signature cocktails. The outside world is well camouflaged but this lounge does lean towards midcentury modern rather than classic dark tiki.

The Mai Tai is done a little differently, despite leading off the “Classics” menu, featuring aged rums, lime, almond, and a dash of coconut cream. The use of coconut cream is controversial, even in a small amount, though as a finished product thankfully this isn’t a Colada wannabe. The Mai Tai was pretty good, though weirdly not as bad as I expected given the use of coconut cream, but also not quite as good as I expected given the other ingredients and what I’ve heard about cocktails here.

I don’t hear tiki people talking much about Three 9 Lounge but I thought it was a nice destination and our service was pretty good even though it was Saturday night and fairly busy. The decor and seating do offer opportunities for a relaxing time with friends, and I’ll be happy to visit again the next time I’m in Seattle.

Doc Parks 2024 Encore Tour at The Kon-Tiki

I’m late in posting about the amazing event held at Oakland’s Kon-Tiki that served as the first event of Doc Parks’ 2024 Encore Tour. The former Zombie Village and Wilfred’s Lounge GM took over the Kon-Tiki with a custom menu featuring some fabulous cocktails. The Kon-Tiki was packed and it was all hands on deck including guest bartender Julio Palacios.

Doc Parks

Music was provided by DJ Woody Miller who opened the venue with a mellow set of tunes that gradually increased the tempo in advance of Oakland surf band The Greasy Gills who started their tight and groovy set a little after 6:30. The three-piece band played energetically and pulled in a number of fans who crowded the makeshift dance floor in the center of the Kon-Tiki space.

The star of the show for us were the cocktails provided. I started with the Banana Afterlife, recently featured on the Make & Drink YouTube show, including three rums, juices, banana liqueur, and Doc’s signature Passionola. This isn’t actually that banana-forward but is another killer cocktail from the good doctor, featuring an incredible lantern garnish from the Kon-Tigo Tiki Bar. Meanwhile, Mrs. Mai Tai was enthusiastic about the Unicorn Tears, a milk punch with coconut and ube that are two of her favorite flavors.

Mister, Might I…

Mister, Might I… was a great variant of our favorite cocktail including Denizen Merchant’s Reserve and Tanduay Gold as a base, with a touch of Passionola and a Worthy Park 109 float that was doctored with spices and liqueurs. In a brilliant stoke, this Mai Tai was served with a side of pineapple juice for you to choose your own adventure. Do you add it to the drink? Or do you take it as a shot? I love this idea and this will be on my year-end Mai Tai list for sure.

The Gong Show was my final cocktail and included seven rums (yes, seven), plus cinnamon, black tea, spices, lime, and grapefruit. And served on fire, because of course it was. Totally amazing cocktail and such a great night at The Kon-Tiki.

I’ve been fortunate to check out a couple of these Doc Parks tour stops and if you have the opportunity be sure to take it if you’re a fan of amazing cocktails.

My Tie, Youse Tai

Had the pleasure of being hosted by Stephen Curran  at his home bar called the Rocking Jellyfish Lounge in Gig Harbor. It’s a nicely appointed space with a double sided seating bar and some lounge seating. Stephen has traveled to Papua New Guinea and so there’s plenty of authentic and inspired-by PNG artwork. He did a presentation about his travels to Papua New Guinea at the Seattle Tiki Fest a couple weeks ago and it was a truly interesting and compelling presentation. Be sure to catch his seminars if they pop up in the future.

Stephen made me his house Mai Tai which was very good, but then presented a new version he is trying made the Ferrand Dry Curacao Yuzu, Latitude 29 orgeat, along with Appleton 15 and Appleton 21 rums. This was an extravagant and indulgent Mai Tai due to the premium rums, but the combo of curacaos from yuzu and orange really made this cocktail shine. It was absolutely fantastic and one of the best of the year so far.

The name of the cocktail should be resonate with those familiar with Joe Pesci’s 1990s filmography.

Da Tiki Hut, Tacoma’s Locals-Only Tiki Bar

Da Tiki Hut is a Hawaiian restaurant and tiki bar located in a quiet neighborhood in central Tacoma. I visited for lunch on a Saturday and enjoyed a very nice Korean chicken plate lunch with some Gyoza pot stickers and Dole Whip soft serve for desert. This was just the pick-me-up I was looking for after a night of heavy drinking at Devil’s Reef the night before.

The restaurant entrance is set up for to-go orders, but there are a few booths in the back and there’s even a sort-of speakeasy entrance to this portion of the venue. This room features Hawaiian and nautical decor, tikis, and even a nice picture window display. Music was a mellow mix of Jawaiian and other tropical tunes.

There’s also a tiki lounge all the way in the back of the venue with three booths and five stools at the bar. Cocktail service doesn’t open until 1 pm on Saturday so I missed sampling, but there’s a pretty reasonable selection of spirits on the back bar. Locals tell me the cocktails are just okay and that the venue has been working on improvements over time, though with mixed results depending on the bartender. The cocktail menu has most of your favorite tropical cocktails including a 1944 style Mai Tai, plus beer and mocktails.

If you’re doing the tiki tourist thing in Tacoma, Da Tiki Hut isn’t your highest priority but at the same time surely is a great option for locals.