Pipeline Cocktail at Trader Vic’s

The Pipeline is a new limited time cocktail this week at Trader Vic’s Emeryville . Mrs. Mai Tai and I were planning to visit Vic’s after her COVID shot on Friday but couldn’t make it since the lines were so long. So, I got some to-go cocktails from Vic’s today and enjoyed the cool but sunny and clear Bay Area weather on the drive up to Emeryville.

I joked with Julie that the “meal” option for Trader Vic’s would be their utterly decadent peanut butter spread and crackers, but that’s exactly what I did. Three orders of peanut butter and crackers is more than a meal for some and gave us enough food to order Trader Vic’s cocktails.  (note: I dearly miss the Aloha Bowl that was a staple during the initial take-out period and if anyone is listening at Vic’s – please bring it back!). The peanut butter spread at Trader Vic’s so maybe our favorite thing there – besides Mai Tais.

Pipeline is made with Overproof and Spiced Rums, Pineapple Juice, Citrus, and a bit of Blue Curacao and is the signature cocktail at the Abu Dhabi Trader Vic’s.  The initial taste was unexpected and a little bit of a funny taste. Definitely not made for craft cocktail connoisseurs. But second and third hit? Well, I definitely enjoyed it. I also (surprise!) had a Mai Tai that was plenty good. Mrs. Mai Tai had the Banana Batida which hits the coconut and banana notes that she loves. I tasted this and it’s great.

Makai in Santa Cruz

Finally made it over to Santa Cruz’s newest tiki bar and restaurant. Mrs. Mai Tai and I took a drive and ended up in Santa Cruz. Makai is on the wharf and in addition to online orders has two dining modes in person. We chose the take-out window and the very well-spaced picnic tables nearby. Ordering is efficient and the staff member working the window was very nice, but all alcohol is only canned/bottled. So, no Makai cocktails are available.

I had the Spam Musubi and it was truly fantastic. Freshly grilled and topped with sauce, this was the best I’ve ever had. I also enjoyed the Ahi Sliders which were also very good. Julie said her Corn Chowder was very good also. I’ve heard that cocktails are not the strong-suit at this restaurant, but the food most certainly seems to be a strength.

Makai is also currently offering table service for outside seating in their covered parklet out front and also around back in the sun. I was told the full menu is available from this mode, including cocktails. It is a bummer that cocktails aren’t available from the to-go window, but we did lessen our seating time and personal interaction with this mode and so that was the right decision for us right now.

We’re looking forward to returning when infection rates go down.

To-Go Cocktail Review: The Kon-Tiki

Another cocktail review, featuring to-go cocktails from The Kon-Tiki in Oakland.

Jet Pilot: leans heavy on the Cinnamon, in a good way. This classic and boozy cocktail is delicious.

Hot Toddy: many winter spices make this a seasonal favorite. I also tried this over ice and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Day’s Next Mistake: this doesn’t taste anything like a Ray’s Mistake but I did enjoy the rum blend and overall flavor. Contained chili spices, so not my favorite, but not so much that I couldn’t drink it. If this came back onto the menu I’d recommend trying it. I do appreciate new cocktails that follow the traditional tropical cocktail template.


Loco Moco Vat at The Kon-Tiki

This cocktail was added to the Kon-Tiki’s third edition menu, and was part of a section of original cocktails that went along with a set of glasses to benefit Creative Growth, an Oakland-based non-profit serving artists with disabilities. Glasses are still for sale (glass pictured is the standard Kon-Tiki Zombie glass). The Loco Moco Vat was reintroduced last week to the Kon-Tiki’s vast list of to-go cocktails, so I thought I’d give it a try.

Loco Moco Vat:
White rum, Lime, Apricot and Banana liqueurs, Crème de Cacao, Pineapple and Bitters. This tropical drink a wonderful vacation in a glass, including some flavors I don’t often taste in cocktails. Glad I ordered.

Self-serving reason: after I completed the Kon-Tiki’s Expedition Rum list in December 2019, I thought I’d sample all the cocktails on the menu that I had missed when I was doing nothing but rum shots, Daiquris, and Mai Tais to complete the Expedition. I even printed out a nice little card with a checklist. I had gotten pretty far when the lockdown hit, but I haven’t been able to check off any for over 10 months. So, thanks Kon-Tiki for putting the Loco Moco Vat back on the menu.

All I need left is the Sunken Tugboat and the Virgin’s Downfall. Someday, maybe.

Mrs Mai Tai sampled the new Lychee Martini, a single serving tropical Martini. Featuring London Dry Gin, Lychee liqueur, and Vermouth blanc, this was a nice twist on a classic. Well done.

Weekend Specials at Kon-Tiki

Two specials this weekend continue the Kon-Tiki’s culinary tradition. Mrs Mai Tai had the Garlic Shrimp that most definitely did not skimp on the garlic, and were savory and amazing. Meanwhile I had the Sausage, Egg, Cheese Sandwich that was prepared like a breakfast sandwich but was huge and filling. Totally flavorful and not too spicy, so perfect for me. Greasy in the best possible way and a legit companion to the Kon-Tiki’s legendary Burger.

Cocktails were the Uma Uma, Mrs Mai Tai’s frozen favorite. I had the Jet Pilot that was truly outstanding.

New B-Rex Glass at Forbidden Island

I made Lemonade out of Lemons, or rather a good Mai Tai out of a “meh” Rum.

I cracked open a rum sample from my Forbidden Island Kill Devil list and tasted it neat as is my usual practice at home. This rum will remain anonymous but suffice to say I can thank of several aged expressions from Puerto Rico that I like drinking, but this rum wasn’t one of them.

So, I switched gears and made a Mai Tai with the rum instead. So much better, and it allowed me to use this FABULOUS new glass from B-Rex that is now available from Forbidden Island. What a great design! And this glass is a little smaller than the Double Old Fashioned / Mai Tai glasses that I have a million of.

Fixed It Mai Tai
1 oz Lime Juice
¼ oz Demerara Syrup
½ oz L’Orgeat almond liqueur 
½ oz Clement Creole Shrubb Orange liqueur 
2 oz Aged Puerto Rican Rum

Hot Buttered Rum

Closing out the Holidays with this winter favorite, a to-go cocktail from Forbidden Island.

Hot alcoholic drinks aren’t really my cup of tea 😉 so I made mine with lukewarm water rather than piping hot. The Forbidden Island rum batter and dark rum is quite delicious.

First Mai Tai of 2021

Yesterday was sort of nice, so time to relax on the lanai with a to-go Mai Tai from The Kon-Tiki in Oakland. A good Mai Tai (I added extra Orgeat and fresh mint) and plenty boozy too.

Even better is this cute plastic stadium cup (Kon-Tiki also sells an orange one). Love the way the blue pops. The merch from Kon-Tki has always been so great. I love the design of their Mai Tai and Zombie glasses.

What’s missing? Well, I’d love to see a Kon-Tiki Swizzle Stick.