It was such a pleasure to talk to Will and John, and we had a great Mai Tai discussion on the latest episode of the Rumcast.
The episode covers the history of the Mai Tai, tips for the home bartender, and how to get an awesome Mai Tai at your local watering hole. And of course lots of talk about rum for your Mai Tai. We played a game of “Mai Tai or Not a Mai Tai” and the episode ended with the Rumcast’s signature Rapid Fire round of questions.
The episode begins with a discussion of KōHana Rum from Hawaii, appropriate since Hawaii plays a seminal role in the popularity of the Mai Tai.
Today is the day for the official unveiling of the new Search for the Ultimate Mai Tai logo designed by B-Rex . I have been thinking about logos for some time and landed on B-Rex for a couple reasons. I’ve been a fan of his stylized Mai Tai pins and his art designs for some time. Plus, he is the only illustrator and artist who’ve served me an amazing Mai Tai many times as part of his other gig as a craft cocktail bartender. Brian was very easy to work with so if you are looking for something custom then I provide my highest recommendation.
In addition to the logo/social media icon, Brian also did the new header gracing UltimateMaiTai.com. Depending on which device you’re on you might not see the full header, but in any case it perfectly captures the fun of the search for the ultimate Mai Tai. It’s rum, it’s fresh lime, and there’s plenty of tiki elements, just like the real search.
Be sure to check out the B-Rex store for apparel, prints, pins, stickers, glassware and barware, masks, and more. www.brianrechenmacher.com
I love the Mai Tai design that B-Rex has used with stickers and pins, and now there’s a large holiday ornament for sale. It’s gorgeous, and even features the design from B-Rex’s current run of Mai Tai glasses (still available in white or coral). So clever!
Mrs. Mai Tai has been binge watching Cheers and I’ve tuned in to a few myself. I used to love that show when it first aired and finally after 35 years I now often enter a bar where at least some of the people know my name (or at least my Instagram handle).
Cheers, Season 3, Episode 1: The Rebound
In the cold open, Cliff Clavin returns from a vacation in Florida and wants to tell people about his experience. He finds Coach who is very focused on making a cocktail in a blender, but the noise from the blender interrupts Cliff’s story. Finally, Cliff takes matters into his own hands before Coach asks “Anyone want a Mai Tai?”
When you’re drinking a Mai Tai, the stuff in the glass is the most important part. But the place where you drink the Mai Tai is also key. Do you want to hear loud hair metal while drinking a Mai Tai? No, you want relaxing exotic music that helps transport you to a different place or at least to forget the cares of the world. We call this music Exotica.
The most prominent Exotica band currently performing and putting out new music is the Tikiyaki Orchestra. The group was formed by Jim Bacchi and to date they’ve issued several well regarded albums with tracks that are frequently played in tiki bars worldwide and also in places like Adventureland at Disneyland. Tikiyaki plays live as a seven-piece group at several tiki-related events each year. In the last couple years, a four-person combo has been producing surf-oriented recordings and playing live under the moniker Tikiyaki 5-0.
The first Tikiyaki Orchestra album featured a song called “Mai Tais on the Mood” and is representative of the group’s signature sound. It’s a mix of classic exotic percussion, vibraphone, slack key, and surf guitar. This was actually the first song Bacchi recorded as Tikiyaki Orchestra.
Wait, there’s more!
As I was preparing this post, we learned there is new Tikiyaki music being made available as of today! In fact, it has only been recently conceived and recorded.
Sketches with Guitar and Bongos is being issued under the moniker “Tikiyaki minus orchestra” because it’s a stripped-down arrangement featuring percussion and guitars. The songs are right in line with previous Tikiyaki recordings in that they’ll fit in just fine at the tiki bar. This is great stuff and maybe the first positive thing to come out of the COVID-19 social shutdown.
This is track number 6 (closing Side A) from Les Baxter’s 1963 album Soul of the Drums. This albums was one of Baxter’s last in the exotica genre and is pretty good overall.
Unfortunately, “Mai Tai” is maybe the least exotic song on the album, and was described by Ambient Exotica (reprinted in The Les Baxter Companion, 2018) as a “stupefying silkened string panorama.” Since this album was Baxter’s first on Reprise it also means that none of its tracks made it onto the otherwise excellent Capitol Records compilations from the 1990s.