Top 10 Mai Tais of 2019

This was my summary post for my Top 10 Mai Tais of 2019.

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I had a lot of great Mai Tais in 2019 and it was difficult to pick the top 10. I easily had dozens more worthy of inclusion. 10. Molasses Mai Tai at Fred & Ginger's Exotic Cocktail Bar and Lounge This is the only home tiki bar on the list. The Mai Tai was made with Molasses Syrup and the rum was Appleton Reserve. Rich and delicious. 9. 1944 Mai Tai with Appleton 12 at Trader Vic's Emeryville I like the scratch 1944 Mai Tai at Trader Vic's and it's even better when you sub a higher quality rum. Appleton 12 is my go-to single rum sub. 8. Mai Tai at Club 33 This was a good Mai Tai, but an amazing venue. It's not often you have a three Mai Tai lunch at a park where booze isn't served. 7. Mai Tai at Forbidden Island Made special by Brian Rechenmacher. It's always nice when the bartenders get to know your preferences. 6. Mai Tai at Lono A high-quality Mai Tai with Rhum JM, Appleton Signature, Smith & Cross, Coruba, and Lemon Hart 151. 5. Halekulani Mai Tai The best Mai Tai in Waikiki is a tweak to the 1944 recipe with more lime, orgeat, sugar, and Lemon Hart 151 as a float. A great Mai Tai with a simple twist. 4. Mai Tai with Appleton 12 at Skull & Crown Trading Company The S&C Mai Tai comes with rhum agricole and is very good. But this one made just with Appleton 12 was even better. My favorite Mai Tai in Hawaii. 3. National Mai Tai Day Mai Tai at Smuggler's Cove This special event featured Appleton/Wray rums, so this is 2 parts Appleton Reserve, 1 part Appleton 12, and 1 part Wray Overproof. 2. Mai Tai with Appleton 12 at Rhumba The standard Mai Tai comes with rhum from Martinique and was great, but by now you should know I preferred it just with Appleton 12. One of my top 3 Mai Tais of all time. 1. The Ultimate Mai Tai at The Kon-Tiki The Mai Tais at Kon-Tiki have gotten better over the year. But this one was the best, which isn't a surprise since it features my own rum blend: Appleton 12, Smith & Cross, Plantation Xaymaca, and Plantation OFTD. I can't thank the Kon-Tiki team enough for doing the special menu on the night I completed the rum list. This has been my best Mai Tai in a commercial bar, ever! Cheers to 2019!

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The Eastern Sour

Took another run at the Eastern Sour, a Trader Vic’s original from the 1950s. This is a tweaked version of a Whiskey Sour using Trader Vic’s signature ingredient, Orgeat. The pairing of Orange Juice alongside the Lemon Juice also adds an additional dimension, though due to the volume can be risky depending on what your Orange Juice tastes like.

When I had this last time I didn’t find it sweet enough. But I made a few adjustments. This time, I used fresh Valencia Orange juice, which I find sweeter than typical store-bought OJ. I also upped the Orgeat and used Demerara rather than Simple Syrup.

Eastern Sour (original Trader Vic’s Recipe)
¾ oz Lemon Juice
2½ oz Orange Juice
¼ oz Orgeat
¼ oz Sugar Syrup
2 oz Bourbon
Shake with crushed ice and sink spent orange and lemon shells into the drink.

Eastern Sour (modified)
¾ oz Lemon Juice
2½ oz Orange Juice (fresh Valencia Orange)
½ oz Orgeat
¼ oz Demerara Syrup
2 oz Bourbon (Maker’s Mark)
Shake with crushed ice and sink spent orange and lemon shells into the drink.

Happy Instagramiversary to Me

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Happy Instagramiversary to Me Two years ago on December 4, 2017, I relaunched The Search for the Ultimate Mai Tai here on Instagram. The goal was to share my experiences, highlight things going on in the community, and connect with others, This is the 911th post, which averages around 1.25 posts daily (lots of extra posts when I was traveling, mostly). I set a goal to post something daily and have done so with very few exceptions. Hopefully most of them have added value to the community as well. Big thank you to Mrs. Mai Tai @juliebeane for coming along for most of the travels, for being a good sport, and indulging the hobby. I visited 34 tiki bars in 2018, and incredibly I blew past that number this year. 51… and counting. And I have enjoyed most of those tiki bars, too. And have met some incredible people. Thanks to everyone. And thanks to you out in Instagram for following and commenting. To celebrate, I’m finishing the Kon-Tiki Expedition rum list tonight at @thekontikioakland in downtown Oakland. What a great place to kick off year number three, in the city where the Mai Tai was invented by Trader Vic 75 years ago, and where they make a killer Mai Tai today. Just love that bar, the staff, the food, the drinks, the music, and of course the rum. My final rum is Plantation OFTD. You might think you know what O-F-T-D means. Today it means “Oh Finally, That’s Done!" #tiki #tikibar #tikidrinks #cocktails #craftcocktails #rum #rhum #maitai #oakland @plantation.rum

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Mai Tai Rao-Ae Celebration and 75th Anniversary Toast

This was the toast to Trader Vic and the Mai Tai on the 75th anniversary of its invention in 1944 in Oakland.

The footage starts with Vic’s granddaughter Eve Bergeron handing the mic over to Michael Thanos. Thanos was the owner of the Conga Lounge, a now defunct tiki bar in Oakland, and led a group to petition the City of Oakland to name the Mai Tai the official cocktail of the city. He is presently the owner of Forbidden Island in Alameda.

Michael Thanos Toasts the Mai Tai on it’s 75th Anniversary

Applebee’s $1 Mai Tai

The 75th Anniversary of the Mai Tai is being celebrated this month, and I can’t think of a better way than to head to your local Applebee’s for this wonderful $1 drink of the month.

Applebee’s says: “Meet our $1 Mai Tai, a new tiki drink featuring rum, pineapple, passion fruit, orange, black cherry, and lime”

Now, before we get too far ahead of ourselves, this cocktail in no way shape or form should be called a Mai Tai. Because a Mai Tai should at the very least have Orgeat and some sort of Orange Liqueur in it. So, for the newbies being introduced to a “Mai Tai” this is not really representative. Even for only a dollar.

That said, this isn’t a bad drink for a place like Applebee’s. The black cherry is a really nice touch and this thing tastes great. Now, there’s probably not more than an ounce of rum in this thing, so you’re gonna need to drink at least “a couple dollars worth” to get a buzz. And, this most certainly isn’t a “craft cocktail” so if that’s your thing you can keep on moving.

Mrs. Mai Tai and I did Friday Night in the suburbs up right last night. We came into Applebee’s during their evening happy hour (after 9 pm) and had the “Mai Tai”, a Captain’s Bahama Mama, and their wonderful Brewpub Pretzels and cheese dip. All-in $14! That’s eatin’ good in the neighborhood!