Ma Petite Jamaica Rum Bar in Camden

We traveled up to Camden in mid-afternoon to visit the famed Camden Market, and somehow Mrs. Mai Tai spotted the Rum Bar sign down a side street, so we had a snack and some drinks inside the restaurant Ma Petite Jamaica. Indeed there are a good number of rums here, including some of Appleton’s Kingston 62 which I hadn’t tried yet and enjoyed on the rocks. We had some delicious Pumpkin Sweet Potato fritters, too.

I love a good on-the-wall cocktail menu and Ma Petite has a nice one next to the bar. The Mai Tai used Appleton rum and I believe a float of Goslings and was pretty good and so very easy to drink. Mrs. Mai Tai’s Rum Punch was a fruity flavor bomb thanks to the use of Wray & Nephew Overproof along with the fruit juices and grenadine.

Ma Petite is well worth checking out the next time you’re in Camden.

Return to Trailer Happiness

We returned to Notting Hill’s Trailer Happiness after a great visit last year. Our midweek early evening visit meant the venue was in mellow mode, but we had a great time at the bar with our cocktails.

The Mai Tai is pretty good here. They’ve updated the rum blend since our last visit, now using Chairman’s Reserve Legacy and Appleton 12. This didn’t strike me as being as flavorful as I would have expected for some reason and I really hate snow cone ice mounts, as I think a little more dilution would have helped.

Flaming Zombie

The Zombie is served flaming and Alex did a great job setting it ablaze and surviving! This Zombie has many classic ingredients including falernum and cinnamon but also Passionfruit, which yielded a cocktail with a distinct spicy peach flavor somehow. Plenty boozy.

No unusual flavors with Mrs Mai Tai’s Espresso Martiki nor the fruity and rummy Cotton Mouth Killer. The layered cocktail was floated with Blue Curaçao and tasted just as great as it looked.

We finished with the Polynesian Princess, a light vodka and Chambord cocktail topped with Champagne. Subtle watermelon flavors were present and this has a very nice finish.

There are so many quality rums here, and we even spotted a contraband bottle of Hamilton Beachbum Berry Zombie blend. Definitely a great place to try rum.

The Beachcomber is a Fab Tiki Bar in London

Mrs. Mai Tai and I landed in London after a red eye from California and walked like zombies over to Queensway to The Beachcomber for dinner. We did the same thing on our visit last year, with similar results. Totally chill vibe early in the evening, with some great Thai food and better cocktails.

The food here comes from Horapha which is a Thai restaurant on the street level next door. We really liked our dinner and it’s even better in a basement tiki bar. The decor inside Beachcomber isn’t totally high tiki but for London is not bad at all and the escapist nature of the venue is really nice.

Cocktails are pretty good here. I was really impressed by the off-menu Mai Tai that has rich flavors of Rhum Agricole, the specialty of the Beachcomber, but is fantastically done and has balanced sweetness. My only gripe was that it seems a little small! Meanwhile, Mrs. Mai Tai’s Nocholada has coconut, chocolate, and hazelnut flavors that’s a really amazing desert cocktail.

The Refresher cocktail includes peach liqueur, Yellow Chartreuse, elderflower cordial, and other flavors. As the customer you can choose the spirit to use, including gin, vodka, or agave spirits. I chose Copalli white rum for Mrs. Mai Tai while I had the Clement Blanc Rhum Agricole for mine. You definitely can taste the different, though we both felt the peach was a little too forward in the balance. Nonetheless, the name is certainly that – very refreshing.

The Refresher(s)

Our service was prompt and friendly, and there’s a nice selection of spirts of the back bar that aren’t on the menu, so if you’re a Rhum fan definitely check out the selection before ordering. Music on our visit was 1970s including multiple Fleetwood Mac and Jim Croce songs. Maybe not the best music for a tiki bar, but I know that traditional exotica is tough in this market. At least it was vintage and mellow leaning, which added to the relaxing feelings inside.

The Beachcomber can be clubby later in the evening and on the weekends (like all of London’s tiki/tropical bars) but we really enjoyed the vibe in the early evening.

Tiki Tuesday at Dr. Funk

Ran into local tikiphiles Amanda and Jill, along with their friend Megan, at Dr. Funk last night for the Traditional Tiki Tuesday with DJ Ship Rex. What a hoot of an evening, thanks to Rex’s upbeat vintage tunes and plenty of great cocktails from the good doctor. Justin and crew really did a great job with the drinks and service.

The rum pictured is The Funk, a 100 proof unaged Jamaica rum. I had this a few years back and didn’t love it but it suited me better this time. Plus a Mai Tai which is only $12 all day Tuesday. Gotta love it.

Petaluma’s Kapu Bar is a Wine Town Oasis

It has been a minute since we ventured north to Petaluma to visit their excellent tiki bar, Kapu. We really enjoyed the scene inside, including a totally fantastic music playlist that incorporated exotica (including some deep cut Don Tiki tracks), surf, 60s pop, garage, Hawaiian, and Latin. The decor remains immersive and our service was outstanding.

We went for dinner and enjoyed the food we ordered, though wish the menu was a little bit larger and had some more obvious vegetarian offerings. The Poke Bowl was very filling and can be ordered with rice, wonton chips, or both. We really liked it, as well as the Pork Lumpia that had a lot of flavor.

Being a tiki bar in a wine town, there are some cocktail nods that work well here that might turn off some purists. The presence of slushy machines could be a red flag for cocktail snobs, but Kapu’s Lava Flow was really popular during our visit. Meanwhile, the Mai Tai has plenty of flavor but since it leans a touch sweet it means it’s quite approachable. We loved the creamy Pearl Diver and spice leaning Jasper’s Punch with plenty of Jamaica rum flavor.

The staff at Kapu were super friendly and the hospitality approach was fully in view when there was a small issue with the availability of one of the menu items. They totally addressed the issue with aplomb. Kapu is a real gem and a noteworthy destination for anyone seeking a high quality tiki bar.

Mai Tai Monday: Hamilton Breezeway Blend Rum

Whenever I get a new bottle of rum, I always make a Mai Tai with it. It doesn’t matter if it’s expensive or cheap, or even if the rum isn’t really intended to be used for that cocktail. Sometimes you find things out about the rum when you taste in the Mai Tai format, along with the lime and sweeteners that serve to provide a foundation for the cocktail.

Such was the case with the new Hamilton Breezeway Blend, named in honor of Spike Marble’s Spike’s Breezeway Cocktail Hour channel on YouTube. Ed Hamilton put together this blend and it is similar to rums such as Probitas which blend a lighter style rum along with a funky rum from Jamaica. In this case, the base of the Breezeway Blend is Hamilton White Stache, an 87 proof white rum with distillate mostly from Trinidad but also some from Guyana and the Dominican Republic. That’s combined with a smaller proportion of Hamilton Pot Still Blonde from Jamaica, which is based on a couple Worthy Park distillates that are aged 1-2 years in New York. Blonde has a ton of flavor even at 45% ABV is my favorite Hamilton rum expression.

The Breezeway Blend is being positioned rightly so as a flavorful Daiquiri rum, where light leaning rum is expected. The Mai Tai traditionally wants to use heavier and bolder rums, but I’ll be damned if the 85 proof Breezeway Blend doesn’t make for a really fine Mai Tai. This leans lighter, of course, but there’s plenty of funky Jamaican flavor and sometimes you want something that’s just a little easier to drink.

In many ways, this reminds me of what Trader Vic did when he brought the Mai Tai to Hawai’i. That original Hawaiian Mai Tai wasn’t made with long aged Jamaica rum, but used inexpensive dark Jamaican rums such as Myers’s and combined it with a light Puerto Rican so that it would be easier for tourists to drink.