New Tiki Art

Trader Vic’s Mai Tai Concentrate

Available for the first time ever from the Trader Vic’s online store, I had to get this. Back in 1998 I had a bottle of this gifted to me, and I loved Mai Tais made with it.  Opening it today, the fragrance of this mix is the same as I remembered. The Concentrate basically replaces the Orange Curacao, Orgeat, and Rock Candy syrup in a 1944 Mai Tai. So, you supply the 1 ounce of Lime Juice and 2 ounces of Rum. Note that this is very different from the Mai Tai mix you normally find in retail stores.

In year’s past this was what made the standard “Trader Vic’s Mai Tai” at the Emeryville location, and is still used for large batches and at high volume events. It is also used in other cocktails such as the Mai Tai variants Menehune Juice and Pinky Gonzales, Tiki Grog, and the Drum of Ku.

My Mai Tai is made with Hamilton New York Blend, a blend with rums from Jamaican and Guyana. This was my last pour of this very nice rum (now known as the 1670 West Indies Blend). The Mai Tai with the Trader Vic’s Mai Tai Concentrate is pretty good. The recipe calls for ¾ oz, but I’d up it to a full ounce next time. The cocktail isn’t as good as a scratch Mai Tai, but this is an affordable value for those who don’t normally get to try Mai Tais made with this at the Trader Vic’s restaurants. It definitely would be great to use in a Mai Tai punch for a party.

Trader Vic’s is running a 20% off sale this weekend, just use promo code “MAY20” at checkout.

Thank you Trader Vic’s for making this available for purchase for the first time outside of an industry setting.

Trader Vic’s Mai Tai Concentrate Mai Tai

Tempus Fugit Creme de Banane

New Appleton 12

Appleton Estate 12 Year Old Rum has been my favored rum for a 1 rum Mai Tai for a while now. Previously known as “Rare Blend,” it’s now called “Rare Casks” as part of the new label and bottle style that is moving across all three of the mainstream Appleton rum brands (Signature, Reserve 8, and 12 Rare). While the Reserve 8 is a assuredly a new blend (the ABV goes from 40 to 43), supposedly the 12 is not changing. But I heard from some people online that it was different.

In the Mai Tai: I prepared two Mai Tais identical except for the rum. I could not taste the difference.

In the glass: tasting the two rums neat, I do taste a slight difference. The older Rare Blend has more of an oak barrel taste, whereas the Rare Casks does have a hint more of a Jamaican funk present. Very slight differences. It’s still a great rum that’s available widely for a very good price ($33 at Costco, mid-$40s at fine liquor stores). Go out and get it.

The new bottle takes up a bit less surface area in my liquor cabinet, and now features a cork (!). It still features the gold and black color scheme and now more prominently displays the signature of master blender Joy Spence. I’m totally liking this new bottle style.

Book Review: Easy Tiki by Chloe Frechette

While this book doesn’t break any new ground, it’s a quite accessible resource for people getting started. The book covers in light detail the history of tiki, basics of rum, and then presents fairly straightforward and simple recipes. No strange or unusual ingredients, like you sometimes find in these recipe books. It’s kind of like if 2019’s Minimalistic Tiki and Tiki: Modern Tropical Cocktails books got together and had a baby.

Too often when things are simplified in these books it ends up creating inaccuracies or the topics are so simplified as to be not understandable. Thankfully, Easy Tiki avoids these problems very well.

There are some good recipes here, including the Mai Sha Roa Na (from False Idol) and a very intriguing Breakfast Mai Tai. There is the Quarantine Order, Staycation, Carrot Colada, and a bunch of other interesting recipes.

The book is available now from your favorite booksellers. I bought my in Apple Books and the presentation in the app is pretty good. There are some very nice photographs too.

While this won’t replace the deep coverage you find the Smuggler’s Cove, Sippin’ Safari, or Minimalist Tiki books, Easy Tiki is a good resource and potentially helpful option for tiki newbies.

Smuggle In Place

Sea Wynde Mai Tai

No Tiki Kon in 2020

Palmetto is Opening in Oakland Next Week

Sea Wynde Rum