Planter’s Punch at Dr. Funk

Working my way through the cocktail menu at Dr. Funk. The Planter’s Punch was recommended by bartender Paul McCoun  who knows I love the Appleton 12 rum that’s used in Funk’s Planter’s Punch.

And the Planter’s Punch keeps up the winning streak of amazing cocktails at Dr. Funk. So flavorful!

I also see they’ve added a logo sign above the entrance to Dr. Funk. This place has really come a long way and for anyone close to San Jose the dream is here to stay.

Shake the Lime in the Tin?

What’s wrong with this picture?

Well, certainly not the amazing Skull & Crown Trading Co. glass designed by Robert Maurer  I love this glass that celebrates the best tiki bar within thousands of miles. If you’re in O’ahu and you skip Skull & Crown, you’re doing it wrong.

Anyway, back to Mai Tai Monday. I’ve seen conflicting advice regarding whether or not to shake the spent lime shell with the other liquid ingredients and ice in a Mai Tai. Some say it adds too much bitterness, others say it brightens up the cocktail. Well, I gave this a try and I have to say that the Ultimate Mai Tai tasted really amazing that night. You can see the lime shell down inside the cocktail.

But, I haven’t done extensive research or comparison testing. Anyone have any real-world experience on this?

Lastly, when you do shake the lime, do you fish it out to use as the garnish? Or do you use the other half of the lime to garnish?

I miss the lime shell…

New Site Feature: Ready to Drink Mai Tais

The market for Ready to Drink (RTD) cocktails have trended upwards in recent years, offering a convenient alternative to beer and wine. RTDs are easy to prepare and consume, and are a worthwhile option for consuming cocktails away from home such as at the beach, camping, or on vacation. They also offer a convenient option at home, though their value is diminished at home since the quality is generally far less than from a freshly made cocktail.

Since the Mai Tai is a well-known cocktail, there are several Mai Tais on the RTD market.

View our recommendations on the new page: Ready to Drink Mai Tais

 

Hot Mai Tai

Inspired by the Hot Mai Tai recipe developed years ago by Giuseppe González, this is something that I tried and liked more than I expected. The lack of Lime juice places additional focus on the Orgeat and Orange Curacao, and for this cocktail the ratio below seems to be optimal.

The whipped topping calls for the addition of Macadamia Nut Liqueur, though Amaretto isn’t a bad option. How much to add will be your choice, but I did at least half an ounce of liqueur to go into a ¼ cup of cream.

Some recipes of this type call for the use of an Irish Coffee glass, but I thought this iconic two-faced glass goblet would be more appropriate. This means that the volume of liquid is higher than in some recipes you might find.

Hot Mai Tai
⅔ oz Orgeat
1 oz Orange Curacao
2 oz Aged Jamaican Rum (Appleton Reserve)
Dry shake and then pour into glass mug. Top with hot water.
Top with whipped cream with Macadamia Nut Liqueur
Add a few drops of Orange Bitters on top of the cream

2021 Tiki Bar Visits

I visited 31 commercial tiki bars in 2021, a nice return to form thanks to some bars reopening for business, several new tiki bars in the Bay Area, and some looser travel restrictions within our family and society at large. Many of these visits were to support the establishment via to-go orders, hence the bars in my home county topping the list.

The highlight was visiting Max’s South Seas in Grand Rapids. Such an amazing place, it’s a must visit. And then some great excursions in Milwaukee, Chicago, Phoenix, Vegas, San Diego, Morro Bay, Palm Springs, and the greater Bay Area.

It is always a pleasure to be invited to someone’s home tiki bar, and this year we got to visit a few including ones that were new to us. Thank you all.

Cheers to all the great people I’ve met and shared librations with – especially Mrs Mai Tai @juliebeane. We’re wishing for a safer and more pleasant 2022.

2017: 25
2018: 34
2019: 52
2020: 15
2021: 31

2021 Most Visited:
17 Kon-Tiki
13 Forbidden Island
10 Trader Vic’s Emeryville
6 Smuggler’s Cove (plus two pop-up events)
6 The Kon-Tiki Room

95: times this year I’ve walked into a tiki bar, home tiki bar, or bar with tiki event.

Top 10 Mai Tais of the Year

It has been fun counting down the top 10 Mai Tais that we had the pleasure of tasting in 2021.

Summary:

Number 10: Wilfred’s Lounge (Napa, CA)

Number 9: Undertow (Phoenix, AZ)

Number 8: Foundation with Appleton 12 (Milwaukee, WI)

Number 7: Lilikoi Mai Tai at Pacific Catch (Dublin, CA)

Number 6: Premium Mai Tai by Doc Parks at Trader Vic’s Mai Tai Day (Emeryville, CA)

Number 5: The Kon-Tiki Room (Oakland, CA)

Number 4: San Francisco Mai Tai at Trader Vic’s (Emeryville, CA)

Number 3: Dr. Funk (San Jose, CA)

Number 2: Mai Tai Fighter by Smuggler’s Cove at Sessions (San Francisco, CA)

Number 1: “Fritch’s Four” Mai Tai at Smuggler’s Cove (San Francisco, CA)

Read all the details:

Top Mai Tais of 2021: Number 1, Special Mai Tai at Smuggler’s Cove

Each year we celebrate the 10 best Mai Tais that we had the pleasure of tasting in the last 12 months.

I’ll further note that the Mai Tais at Smuggler’s Cove have all been excellent this year. Not “fine” or “good”, but really excellent. They truly deserve to be on our list of Top 5 Mai Tais served anywhere.

Number 1: “Fritch’s Four” Mai Tai at Smuggler’s Cove (San Francisco, CA)

When Smuggler’s Cove reopened they had a special rum flight available to pay tribute to our friend Alex Fritch who was tragically killed in May. The rums included in the flight were the five rums Alex chose as part of our 5 Bottle Rum Challenge video recorded in January: Doorly’s 12, English Harbour Single Barrel, Plantation 3 Star, Smith & Cross, and Black Tot 50th Anniversary. The flight demonstrated Alex’s appreciation for different styles of rum, with proceeds going to Alex’s family.

After I tried the flight I asked the Cove team for Mai Tai made with four of the five rums (since four is easier to measure and omitting the really expensive Black Tot rum made this more affordable). There was still a bit of an upcharge from the standard-issue SC Mai Tai but it was totally worth it. The great Smuggler’s Cove Mai Tai base combined with rums selected by Alex himself made this one the most special Mai Tai of the year. Rest in Peace, brother.

Top Mai Tais of 2021: Number 2, Mai Tai Fighter by Smuggler’s Cove

Each year we celebrate the 10 best Mai Tais that we had the pleasure of tasting in the last 12 months.

Number 2: Mai Tai Fighter by Smuggler’s Cove at Sessions (San Francisco, CA)

Smuggler’s Cove partnered with Sessions restaurant for a Star Wars “May the Fourth” event, since Sessions is located in the Lucasfilm complex at the Presidio. The “Mai Tai Fighter” was a standard Smuggler’s Cove Mai Tai with an added float of Demerara 151 rum. This was the first freshly prepared SC Mai Tai that I’d tasted in over a year and it was so amazing.

I’m counting this as a different place the Cove because the added float was a different recipe and also neat addition for this special event away from the Cove itself.

Top Mai Tais of 2021: Number 3, Dr. Funk

Each year we celebrate the 10 best Mai Tais that we had the pleasure of tasting in the last 12 months.

Number 3: Dr. Funk (San Jose, CA)

San Jose finally got the world-class tiki bar that it deserves as being America’s 10th most populous city. Located downtown at San Pedro Square, the cocktail program at Dr. Funk has been high-quality right from launch. This includes the Mai Tai which is made with Appleton 12 and Smith & Cross rums from Jamaica. The team told me they tried Martinique rhum but liked this all-Jamaican blend the best. And I’m totally on-board with “Team Jamaican Rum” myself.

The Dr. Funk Mai Tai is great and we even added it to our list of Top 5 Mai Tais at any location.

Top Mai Tais of 2021: Number 4, SF Mai Tai at Trader Vic’s

Each year we celebrate the 10 best Mai Tais that we had the pleasure of tasting in the last 12 months.

Number 4: San Francisco Mai Tai at Trader Vic’s (Emeryville, CA)

The SF Mai Tai is a standard Vic’s Mai Tai with a float of 151 rum. I love the flavors of the Trader Vic’s Mai Tai, including the freshly squeezed lime on top, but the the 151 rum adds additional complexity and flavor to the cocktail, besides being extra boozy. So while I do enjoy the standard 1944 Mai Tai, the SF Mai Tai is now my go-to. 

We had a lot of great Mai Tais at Vic’s this year, including some specially prepared with some exotic rums from the well-stocked back bar. Bartenders are friendly and never balk at the rum substitution. 

Vic’s hosted several special events this year including merchandise partnerships with Shag and Sven Kirsten.