Sacramento’s Birds of Paradise Lounge

Great afternoon in Sacramento as invited guests for the @sac_ohana Tiki Crawl stop at @birdsofparadiselounge. We thank consummate hosts Correy and Mariela for the invite. Fantastic decor throughout the home and backyard. So many treasures and fine art.

The rum sponsor for this stop was Santa Teresa 1796, a Solera aged column still rum from Venezuela. This isn’t my favorite style but @mrs_bravo did a fantastic job incorporating this into the cocktails. I enjoyed the 1796 Old Fashioned that included a Birds of Paradise logo on the ice cube. The spicy Chicha Cooler featured Peruvian purple corn, spices, and ginger beer. My favorite was the Tropical Kingbird featuring banana and cinnamon, with a nice Santa Teresa rum accent.

Nice to see the Sacramento Ohana folks too. Their ticketed three day tiki crawl seems to be extraordinary well organized and lots of fun with DJs, food, and vendors at the various stops.

Star Trek Trivia at The Kon-Tiki Room

The Kon-Tiki Room at Palmetto has been developing its own identity as a tiki bar with a pop culture orientation, thanks in part to its locale across the street from the Fox Theater concert venue. And then with Star Trek nights on Thursdays, complete with special cocktails and episodes playing on a fairly tucked away TV screen. More recently, Fridays are devoted to X-Files and Sundays feature craft projects.

Team name: Species 69420

Last Thursday was the first bar trivia version of Star Trek Thursdays and so I thought I’d see how this worked and maybe see how much TOS and Voyager trivia I’d be able to recall. Trivia was hosted well by Allie and Andre with prizes from Soytrek.

There weren’t high stakes but I found myself on a great team with Chris, Emily, and Ramona and between the four of us we were leading after two rounds. The third round veered from Star Trek and was Batman trivia, resulting in us falling behind another team. We tied that team on the fourth round so we fell one question short of winning (Holy Cliffhangers, Batman!). Quite fun if you have any appreciation of Star Trek – even if, like me, you haven’t watched some of the series.

Allie and Andre

Jeni and Tori did a great job keeping up with orders between rounds, and I quite enjoyed the Kon-Tiki Room’s premium Stargazer cocktail. This complex grog has a swirl of flavors and also includes Kon-Tiki’s amazing private barrel rum from Worthy Park. Kon-Tiki Room continues to buck purist expectations musically, since they were playing 80’s modern rock. Regular readers know I’d prefer something more vintage, but at least the songs being played were lesser hits you don’t hear every day (e.g. “Be Good, Johnny” by Men at Work, “Love Comes Quickly” by Pet Shop Boys). The Frozen Disco Banana is still being served, which assures a great time, every time at the Kon-Tiki Room.

The World’s Worst Mai Tai

I found this recipe in the 1980 book from Michael Walker called simply The Cocktail Book. The entry says “There are several different versions of the Mai Tai, but this seems to be the most popular with bartenders and patrons alike.” Walker also says “this drink will taste deliciously innocuous, but beware! It has a habit of creeping up on you.”

Photo by Derek / Make & Drink

(World’s Worst) Mai Tai by Michael Walker
½ measure Dark Rum
1 measure Light Rum
½ measure Tequila
½ measure Triple Sec
1 measure Apricot Brandy
1 measure Orange Juice
1 dash Orgeat
1 dash Angostura Bitters
2 dashes Grenadine
Blend with ice until smooth. Decorate with slices of orange, lime, lemon, pineapple, and a maraschino cherry.

With all those ingredients and the elaborate garnish, I’m not sure which bartender would prefer to make this compared to a traditional five ingredient Mai Tai.

We shared this monstrosity with Derek from Make & Drink and he invited me over to the bar to try it! You can watch to the video to see our reactions but suffice to say while this might be an okay generic tropical drink it by no means should be called a Mai Tai. Not with tequila and apricot brandy.

Vatos Who Tiki at Kon-Tiki

The crew from the Los Angeles-based lifestyle brand Vatos Who Tiki were up in the Bay Area last weekend and did a takeover at Oakland’s Kon-Tiki after Rum Fest. Having the Kon-Tiki’s legendary cheeseburger after drinking rum all day seemed like a no-brainer. The takeover included some great tunes from DJ Oran and El Nova and a special cocktail menu.

DJ El Nova

I very much enjoyed the Oaxacan in Jamaica, the Vatos’ Mai Tai blend that includes Oaxacan and Jamican rums. I’ve loved all the Oaxacan rums I’ve tried so this one was a great combo especially when paired with my cheeseburger.

Very nice to talk to El Nova in person after years of online discussions. The Vatos Who Tiki merch lineup for this event was full of great items including glasses and stickers – and you can buy shirts in their online Etsy store. Check it out.

We great to see Doc Parks in the house and to visit with Christ from Kon-Tiki.

Sci-Fi Theme Leads Major Menu Change at Oakland’s Kon-Tiki

The Kon-Tiki Oakland today is officially launching a new 5th edition of their printed cocktail menu, the first since October 2021.

I don’t know if anyone else cares about this at all, but I’m always interested when one of my favorite places updates a menu. And since I have the older menus, it is interesting to see what’s coming, going, and staying. I’ve done this each time they’ve changed menus but as you’ll see below this time was quite a bit easier. There are 22 items on this menu, including sharables and “low/zero gravity” cocktails, compared to a total 27 on the last one.

Most notable for us is the continued presence of an ultra-premium Mai Tai on the menu. We are saying goodbye to the $44 Samaroli Mai Tai which is being replaced by the $38 Captain’s Reserve Mai Tai made with Kon-Tiki’s fantastic private barrel Worthy Park Jamaica rum. I’ve had Mai Tais with this rum and it is a big improvement.

Only four cocktails are carrying over to the new menu, all of which were on the original menu when the Kon-Tiki opened in 2017. The menu’s design and the cocktail names are leaning into a Sci-Fi theme which I find… well, unexpected. I’ve loved the graphical design of the Kon-Tiki’s menus, cocktails, and website. This is something altogether different.

Be sure to try some of the new cocktails the next time you visit.

Original Menu Holdovers
The Kon-Tiki Grog
The Kon-Tiki Zombie
Uma Uma
Virgin’s Sacrifice

New Exotic Drinks
Cadet’s Grog
Captain’s Reserve Mai Tai
Cherry Coco-Naut
Cosmo Ship Yamato
Cotopaxi Caldera
Crater of Excalibia
Event Horizon
Heyerdahl Maneuver
Lunar Camel
Nova’s Nexus
Pale Blue Dot
Pop Star
Princess of Mars
Sunset of Risa

Thanks for the memories
Blush Crush
Donnie’s Element
Golden Gong
Golden Snitch
Haitian Hi Ball
Island Old Fashioned
Ma Kua (for 2 or 4)
Mai Tai
Martinique on Fleek
Mezcal in the Banana Stand
Plantation Stiggins Fancy Pineapple Rum on Nitro Draft
Phoenix Bowl
Ring of Fire
Rum and Spice
Rum Club Cooler
Samaroli Mai Tai
Saint Lucia’s Fox
Sea Shandy
Sea Shandy Jr.
Stormy Keone
The Kon-Tiki Spritz
Virgin Painkiller

Martinique Mai Tai at Pagan Idol

Pagan Idol was a quick stop on our way to dinner, so we just shared a Mai Tai. Unlike the version at sister bar Zombie Village, this flavorful Mai Tai leaned into the Martinique rhum as the most forward flavor. Thus, more of those grassy notes that this style of rhum is famous for. Not my personal preference but it might be right for you and in either case it is nice to see each place doing their thing.

One thing that’s a lot better at Pagan Idol is that back bar is visible and you can scan the myriad bottles of rum. And what did my little eye spy? Not one, but two (!) bottles of the famed Foursquare 2004 Exceptional Cask Series rum. This is one of my all-time favorite rums and in my opinion the best of all the ECS releases. If you sometimes find Barbados rum to be mild or timid you won’t feel that way anymore after tasting the rich buttery notes in Foursquare 2004. Very rare to find on shelves in bars, so head on down to Pagan Idol to give it a try.

Zombie Village is Still a Great Time

I took Mrs. Mai Tai to Zombie Village for her first visit since 2019. We were pleased to see that that the cocktail program is still going strong including some of our all-time favorite tropical cocktails, plus a pleasant surprise.

After all these years, the cocktail menu is still largely similar to the one that opened this Tenderloin tiki bar in late 2018 – though of course the prices are higher now. Julie loves the Coco Pandan, featuring an Ube popsicle, and we both love the Disco Banana. The latter is supposed to be blended and our results weren’t perfectly smooth but at least all the flavors of banana and funky rums was present.

My Mai Tai was a pleasant surprise. While the Mai Tai here has always been perfectly reasonable, I found this one to be richer and leaning more into Jamaica rums than in the past. It was really great, one of the best I’ve had this year.

Disco Banana and Mai Tai

Our service was efficient and friendly, even with us at the bar and competing with a giant group of 14 young people who were hooting and hollering in one of the booths behind us. Music during our visit was a good mix of vintage tunes. Zombie Village’s impressive wall of decor still impresses as well.