Rum Club Portland

We had dinner at this very nice neighborhood restaurant and bar in Portland. Food featured Empanadas, Dumplings, and other small bites and were really good. Many vegan options.

The cocktails came recommended including their fabulous Punch offering including four Jamaican rums. Right up my alley, and very easy drinking! Mrs Mai Tai tried the Strawberry blended cocktail featuring locally grown strawberries and I have to say it was quite fruity and light. Really good. As was as her second, the Water Wings featuring Cuban rum, Apricot, Honey, and Coconut Water – topped with bitters.

Though the rum selection seemed modest, I figured this was the place to go off menu for a Mai Tai and thankfully it was fantastic. Definitely incorporating some cane juice rum, the rich Mai Tai was really savory and had a rich mouthfeel.

National Mai Tai Day at Hale Pele

Tiki Kon weekend is here, and the first event was a ticketed, private seating at Portland’s world class tiki bar Hale Pele.

Of course we started with Hale Pele’s Mai Tai, and damn that is a fantastic cocktail! This is still made according to their longtime specs with 1½ oz Cobura Dark Jamaican rum along with ½ oz of Wray & Nephew Jamaican Overproof rum. So flavorful, and one of the best Mai Tais you can buy anywhere on planet earth.

Such a great time at Hale Pele when filled with tiki people, and the Hale Pele team really put on a great show with the fire drinks. Mrs. Mai Tai started with her default cocktail the Lava Flow (yummy!) and then we shared a flaming Jet Pilot. Such a great cocktail and even more special when set on fire by Hale Pele’s team of fire experts.

We really like the food at Hale Pele. My Mahi Tacos were fantastic, as was the Kalua Pork sandwich.

We also have to thank Appleton rum for the wonderful pour of their incredible Appleton 15 rum, along with a small rocks glass. Thank you to Martin and Rebecca Cate for hosting the event, and the entire Hale Pele crew.

Hale Pele’s World Class Mai Tai

 

Trader Vic Grog in Trader Vic’s San Jose Anniversary Glass

We had the pleasure of flying out of San Jose a couple weeks ago on the 1st anniversary of Trader Vic’s SJC – the world’s best airport bar. The problem was that our flight was at 7:30 in the morning, so our visit to Vic’s was at opening at 6 am (Mai Tais at 6:15 am!). And the 1st anniversary celebration was at Noon that same day, so all the event merch was held under lock and key. The staff graciously tried to get into it, but no luck.

So we have to thank our benefactor for getting us this amazing Trader Vic’s San Jose Airport glass, and the incredible airline wing-style pin. Mahalo, friend.

To celebrate I made a Trader Vic’s Grog. This is one of the cocktails I’ll sometimes go to at the restaurant when I look for something besides the Mai Tai. It’s a pretty good cocktail in this format, and is basically a crushed-ice and double sized version of the Siboney cocktail that’s served up.

For this version, I used two flavorful Jamaican rums. Some Worthy Park 109, a dark Jamaican rum at 54.5% ABV, alongside Hamilton Jamaican Pot Still Gold. I also made a tiny tweak by adding ¼ oz of simple syrup so that the cocktail was slightly less tart.

Trader Vic Grog
1 oz Lemon Juice
1 oz Pineapple Juice
1 oz Passionfruit Syrup (Liber)
2 oz Dark Jamaican Rum
1 dash Angostura Bitters
Add simple syrup to taste
Shake with crushed ice and garnish with mint.

It is not without a great deal of irony that after being a tiki bar wasteland for decades, that we salute San Jose that now has two very good tiki bars with this Trader Vic’s location and Dr. Funk downtown.

Hawaiian Mai Tai Contest Winners and Recap

My Official Mai Tai Number is 34 Mai Tais consumed in the State of Hawaii on my 11 day trip.

We had three correct guesses in the Mai Tai Contest (I should have considered a tiebreaker). Congrats to the winners: @we.shall.tiki, @farbrorfuzz, and @wishiwastraveling84. I’ll be sending out a prize package with coasters, cocktail napkins, and stickers (bummed nobody seems to be giving out swizzle sticks or matchbooks anymore).

You can see the chart with the plot of all the guesses. Thanks again to everyone for playing along.

Top 5:

  1. Maunakea Mai Tai at Skull & Crown Trading Co.
  2. Casa de Christa Mai Tai
  3. Trader Vic’s Mai Tai at Mamahune’s
  4. Deck
  5. Dagger Mai Tai at Skull & Crown

Best Island Style Mai Tai: Tipsy Tiki
Best Bar: Skull & Crown
Best Restaurant: Duke’s Kauai
Best Beach Bar: Mai Tai Bar at Royal Hawaiian
Best Hotel Bar: Mamahune’s
Best Value: Arnold’s $10 Mai Tai
Best Vintage Location: Mai Tai Bar at Royal Hawaiian
Best New (to me) Location: Tiki Iniki

Stats:

Oahu: 19, Kauai: 14, Hawaiian air space: 1
23 different venues, some who served more than one type of Mai Tai, and others where I consumed more than one
1944 Style: 13, Island Style: 15, Original Riffs: 2, RTD: 4

Complete List

1. Aulani (Island style)
2. Monkeypod Mai Tai (Island style)
3. Splash Bar at Sheraton Princess Kaiulani (Island style)
4. Tipsy Tiki (Island style)
5. Tiki’s Grill and Bar (1944 style)
6. Deck (1944 style)
7. Mai Tai’s (1944 style)
8. Dagger Mai Tai at Skull & Crown (Original riff)
9. Maunakea Mai Tai at Skull & Crown (1944 style)
10. Vic’s ’44 at Mai Tai Bar (1944 style)
11. Casa Crista (1944 style)
12. ‘Awa’Awa Mai Tai at Skull & Crown (Original riff)
13. Halekulani (1944 style)
14. Halekulani (1944 style)
15. Trader Vic’s Bottled (RTD)
16. Koloa Bottled (RTD)
17. Arnold’s Beach Bar (Island style)
18. Arnold’s Beach Bar (Island style)
19. Royal Hawaiian Mai Tai (Island style)
20. Hawaiian Airlines / On the Rocks (RTD)
21. Bamboocha Mai Tai at Lava Lava Beach Club (Island style)
22. Hilton Garden (Island style)nn Welcome Mai Tai at Mamahune’s (Island style)
23. Trader Vic’s Mai Tai at Mamahune’s (1944 style)
24. Koloa Tasting Room (RTD)
25. Welcome Mai Tai at Mamahune’s (Island style)
26. Vic’s Top Shelf at Tiki (Island style)nikii (1944 style)
27. Vic’s Top Shelf with Denizen and heavy Orgeat at Tiki (Island style)niki (1944 style)
28. Tahiti Nui (Island style)
29. Welcome Mai Tai at Mamahune’s (Island style)
30. Trader Vic’s Mai Tai at Mamahune’s (1944 style)
31. Kalapika Mai Tai at Duke’s Kauai (Island style)
32. Classic Mai Tai at Oasis at the Beach (1944 style)
33. Welcome Mai Tai at Mamahune’s (Island style)
34. Stinger Ray’s Tiki Bar & Lounge (Island style)

 

Skull and Crown Trading Co.

During our two nights were were convinced that Skull & Crown is one of the best tiki bars on planet Earth. We already discussed the amazing Mai Tais, but the craft cocktail experience at Skull and Crown is top notch.

Mrs. Mai Tai loved the Koloa Colada, a Pina Colada riff with Spiced Rum, Coconut Rum, Pineapple, Lemon, and Coconut Cream. Topped with a flower and Toasted Shaved Coconut. This was excellent both times we visited and is a wonderful example of the care the S&C team put into the cocktails. Toasting the Coconut shavings really added another aspect to the cocktail.

I also tried the Trader Noa’s Old Fashioned, a great Hawaiian Agricole cocktail. So very flavorful.

Koloa Colada and Trader Noa’s Old Fashioned

We must salute S&C’s dynamic duo, Trader Noa Laporga and Angelina Khan. We felt so welcomed to see these special people for the first time in months. Noa play host and welcomed us and introduced us to some fellow tikiphiles. Noa shared some historical cocktail recipes he uncovered, and we liked seeing Noa behind the bar as well. And Angelina made sure that the service was prompt and totally set us up for a relaxing experiencing. Mahalo.

Trader Noa

Food is available at S&C, and we enjoyed our food. We’d have preferred forks be issued rather than just chopsticks, but that was our only gripe. During our second night we celebrated Skull & Crown’s third anniversary with some live music from Don Tiki’s Kit Ebersbach (Perry Coma) along with local favorite Starr Kalahiki on vocals. Simply fantastic.

Skull & Crown is a jewel.

Trader Vic’s Tiki Stem Coupe

Picked up a couple of these very nice Tiki Stem Coupes from the Trader Vic’s online store. The 7 ounce glass is a little larger than my current coupes, and looks fabulous as well. Vic’s also has a couple smaller glass options, while still keeping the tiki stem.

The cocktail is the Blue Caribbean, a Blue Hawaiian riff featuring Rhum Agricole.

Blue Caribbean
½ oz Lime Juice
3 oz Pineapple Juice
1½ oz Cream of Coconut
½ oz Blue Curacao
1¾ oz Clement Premiere Canne (or other unaged Rhum Agricole)
¼ oz Dark Jamaican rum
Shake with Crushed Ice

A bit of a tight fit into this particular glass.

When I first developed this cocktail I served it in a Collins glass with crushed ice and that’s probably a better format than being served up. I do like how the Rhum Agricole works with the Pineapple and Cream of Coconut, provide a more complex flavor. Adding a tiny bit of flavorful Dark Jamaican rum adds an additional bit complexity without darkening up the cocktail.

Recipe: No Pain, No Gain

Everyone loves playing with the rums in a Mai Tai, with bars competing for the best custom blend and home bartenders organizing blind taste test parties. But why stop at the Mai Tai? Why don’t we do this for the Painkiller?

Well, there is a certain reason.

Pusser’s Rum trademarked the Painkiller cocktail, which means that legally it can’t be called that unless you use Pusser’s rum. Which is kind of ridiculous. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of Pusser’s – especially their boozy Gunpowder Proof which is so flavorful and clocks in at 109 proof.

So, today’s cocktail isn’t a “Painkiller” at all. It is something else. But, you know, it kind of isn’t different.

No Pain, No Gain by Steve Perez
3 oz Pineapple Juice
1 oz Orange Juice
1 oz Cream of Coconut
1½ oz Rum Fire Jamaican Overproof Rum
1½ oz Plantation OFTD
Shake with crushed ice and garnish with nutmeg

Steve Perez was talking up this rum blend last week at Dr. Funk and after a hard day it seemed like the perfect time to try this rum made with one rum at 63% ABV and another at 69%. So, quite boozy! More importantly, quite flavorful. I do feel that Jamaican rums can add a lot to this style of coconut-forward cocktail.

Thanks for the suggestion Steve!

Glassware: Tiki Goth Club

Rum-Bar Overproof

Regular readers know I love Jamaican rum, and one of my favorite styles is the unaged white overproof. Wray & Nephew Overproof is the affordable standard bearer for this style of rum, but I do prefer when this type is 100% pot still distilled and featuring a heavier body. “Overproof” because it is issued at 63% ABV.

Rum-Bar Overproof from Worthy Park Estate is such an entrant, and I recent obtained a new replacement bottle so I’d be sure to have some on hand at home. It is an intense and fragrant rum that fills the room with a wonderful fruity scent. It also tastes great – closer to Rum Fire than Wray in flavor profile and overall mouthfeel. It is an intense flavor.

I enjoy this type of rum with grapefruit soda, especially the Ting soda from Jamaica if you can find it. I also find that Squirt works well enough and is much more available. I’ve also used this cocktails such as my Blue Hawai-Tai or even as a half or full ounce of White Overproof rum in a Mai Tai alongside something more refined.