Aloha Friday and National Pina Colada Day

And look! The incredible Eye of the Tiki mug from Vantiki has arrived. There have been plenty of things to be bummed about in 2020, but this mug and the fine folks behind Tiki-Kon are not one of them. This two-sided mug turned out great, and Justin and Greg of Tiki-Kon have handled everything so professionally and with love, including getting these mugs out very quickly. I couldn’t be happier with the mug.

For National Pina Colada day I prepared two cocktails with Cruzan Rum as the base. Mine was a Pina Colada with a float of Pussers rum, whereas Mrs. Mai Tai enjoyed her Pina Colada in the Forbidden Island “Chamborlada” style with Chambord Liqueur. Delish.

To-Go Cocktails Still Going Strong at Forbidden Island

Pleased provide another report from our to-go experience at Forbidden Island.

For takeout food we did the coconut shrimp with fries that were crispy and delicious – and Mrs. Mai Tai had the corn dogs that she loves so much. Check.

For the drinks we had an assortment. The coconut forward Monkey Pod was favored by Mrs. Mai Tai once again and she said it was really good as always.

For my drinks I went home with a Hurricane, a 1950 Zombie, and a classic Mai Tai. Of these three, the Hurricane was the standout – but a warning that it is very boozy. The sweet Fassionola in this cocktail is really great. For the Zombie and Mai Tai, these were both less sweet than is my preference. This is the downside of to-go cocktails in that you can’t tell your bartender to make it a little sweeter because that’s the way you like it. But, a little extra Demerara syrup or Orgeat is all it took to set these both to the path of delightful.

This was good timing, too. I’m working on a house Zombie recipe and wanted to try the 1950 Zombie to compare to the 1934 version.

The online ordering system at Forbidden Island is a breeze and they seem to have weekly specials. Give them a try this weekend!

Mount Gay Extra Old

I visited 52 tiki bars in 2019, so needless to say I’ve been feeling extra restless lately. Local tiki celeb Correy Bravo (aka MidCenturyTiki) turned me on to a liquor store close by with some older vintage rums, so I thought I’d start checking out these places myself to see if they hold any treasures.

Bob’s Discount Liquors seems to be the best in the southeast Bay Area. Found some older Appleton 12 and VX bottles, some late 1990s Trader Vic’s rums, plus some of the flavored Coruba releases that are no longer available.

At Mission Blvd. Market in Fremont I even found some 15 year old and 25 year old Trader Vic’s mixes (which can’t be fit for human consumption, see my earlier post). At that store I also found this bottle of Mount Gay Extra Old – circa 2007 or 2008. I have the two latest XO releases and so I took a chance on this one.

What I should have noticed was that the bottle seemed a little less than full. Once I opened it up I found that the cork was shot. Since ABC regulations say that liquor cannot be returned for refund unless it is “unfit for human consumption” I was stuck with it. Luckily, I was able to use a corkscrew to get the cork out without further deterioration.

This older Mount Gay expression is wonderful. Flavorful and a bit more spicy than the pre-2020 XO release. So, it all ended well. Additionally, I knew there was a good reason to keep a few spare bottles around the house.

Mount Gay Extra Old with Mount Gay XO (pre-2020) and XO (2020-)

Tiki Bar Directional Signs

I love these signs prepared by Dave Hansen of Lake Tiki Woodcrafts. Hand-carved and hand-painted. They look amazing.
These pay tribute to my two favorite Tiki Bars, Trader Vic’s in Emeryville and The Kon-Tiki in Oakland. Not too far away from home here in Fremont, and thankfully both are still open serving excellent take out food and cocktails.

Pusser’s Aged 15 Year Rum

Loving the Pusser’s Aged 15 Year

I recently drained my old bottle of an aged Demerara rum and wanted to replace it with one without any added sugar. Thankfully, I was reminded about this excellent expression during an Instagram Live session with Pussers and hosted by Suzanne Long.

The Pussers 15 definitely fit in alongside other Demerara rums, with a heavy nose, smoky flavor, and rich on the tongue. But is refined and so easy to drink neat (or with a ice cube). Not too smoky… just right.

Thanks Bitters and Bottles for carrying this.

Minor gripe: I expect higher quality on the orientation of the label for a bottle of rum in this price range. It is quite a bit off center.

International Mai Tai Day 2020

June 30 is a perfect time to highlight my Top 10 Mai Tais of 2020 (so far). My own homemade Mai Tais not included (with one exception). However you can celebrate, give a toast to The Trader today.

1) The last Ultimate Mai Tai from Terry Six at The Kon-Tiki
No bartender has made me a better Mai Tai than Terry.

2) Take Out 1944 Mai Tai from Trader Vic’s
It was so great to have a wonderful take-home Mai Tai. Gave me hope for lockdown.

3) 1944 Mai Tai with Appleton 12 at Trader Sam’s
Bartenders at Sam’s are always willing to go a bit off-menu.

4) Smuggler’s Cove
I landed here in February sort of by accident but it worked out perfect when I had a great Mai Tai.

5) Buz-Tai from Hula Hoops
Another take-out Mai Tai that was amazing. Bold variant.

6) Coruba / Hamilton 86 Mai Tai at Fred & Ginger’s
Home bar Mai Tai made by Terra Fritch
for a socially distant cocktail hour.

7) Trader Vic’s Mai Tai with Mai Tai Concentrate
I’ve been waiting years to try this at home. It’s finally available.

8) Grand Mai Tai
Pretty much a ’44 with the dark rum presented as a float. Good stuff from the Craftman’s hotel bar at Disneyland.

9) Blue Hawai-Tai
My own Blue Hawaii/Mai Tai riff that got press in Exotica Moderne and seemed to make fans worldwide.

10) Kai Mai Tai
Blood Orange in a Mai Tai? Yes, it’s delicious. And somewhat deadly.