Beachbum Berry’s Latitude 29 Wiki Wiki Mai Tai Mix Market Analysis

Beachbum Berry’s Latitude 29 Wiki Wiki Mai Tai Mix is now available, and the product it most closely resembles is the Trader Vic’s Mai Tai Concentrate. Rarely available for sale at retail, the Mai Tai Concentrate has been available for a few months from the Trader Vic’s website as a result of new market opportunities in the time of COVID.

As with the Wiki Wiki mix, you bring Lime juice and Rum to the party, though Trader Vic’s does recommend 1 oz. of Gold Rum and 1 oz. of Dark Rum rather than light rum recommended by Latitude 29. The Trader Vic’s Mai Tai Concentrate has been in heavy use at Trader Vic’s restaurants for years, so it’s familiar to many customers.

There are three main points of comparison between the Trader Vic’s and Latitude 29 Mai Tai mixes.

Ingredients favor Latitude 29

The Latitude 29 Mai Tai Mix contains Water, Pure Cane Sugar, Almonds, Curacao Orange Peel, Carmel Sugar Syrup, Orange Blossom Water, Organic Almond Essence, and Rose Water. There are no preservatives.

The Trader Vic’s Concentrate contains High Fructose Corn Syrup, Water, Natural Flavor, Carmel Color, and Potassium Sorbate (a preservative).

Without question, Latitude 29 contains higher quality, more natural ingredients.

Price favors Trader Vic’s

The Mai Tai Concentrate is just $10 for 1 liter bottle, while the Latitude 29 is $18 for a smaller 375 ml bottle. Both Trader Vic’s and Orgeat Works are pricey on shipping.

Taste is Close

One of our local reviewers compared the two mixes with Real McCoy 3, a lightly aged Barbados Rum. They said that Trader Vic’s taste popped a bit more than the more subtle Latitude 29 flavor, so a slight edge to the Concentrate.

My own comparison test found that both products taste similar. There’s more of an orange flavor from Latitude 29, and more of an almond sweetness to Trader Vic’s. Basically a draw.

 

What’s the Market?

One of our local reviewers expressed confusion over the market for the Wiki Wiki Mai Tai Mix, noting that if you were able to order it you’d be able to order some excellent Orgeat varieties from Orgeat Works — which would seem to render the idea of a Mai Tai Mix useless. This reviewer noted that the problem most “lazy” home bartenders have is obtaining and using Orgeat and Fresh Lime. On this point I tend to agree, though Orgeat Works’ Adam Kolesar noted that vacation scenarios might provide a suitable use for this product.

If you’re bringing Rum and fresh Lime to the party, it’s not too hard to get Orgeat and Orange Curacao. A Mai Tai Mix that can include the Lime component would be even more suitable to vacations and “lazy bartender” scenarios, but none of the “just add rum” Mai Tai mixes are particularly good.

Still, Beachbum Berry’s Latitude 29 Wiki Wiki Mai Tai Mix is a strong entrant into the market. We wish the distribution for the Orgeat Works products was more widely available, as we’ve enjoyed their Latitude 29 Falernum and Latitude 29 Orgeat in the past. Having the Latitude 29 Mai Tai Mix in beverage warehouse-style retail locations would present an opportunity for cocktail newbies to have a good experience making Mai Tais at home.

Order the Wiki Wiki Mai Tai Mix on the Orgeatworks website.

A review sample of Beachbum Berry’s Latitude 29 Wiki Wiki Mai Tai Mix was provided by Orgeat Works. Thanks to Julio, Alex, Sean, Brent, and Melissa for comments and contributions to this series of articles.

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Beachbum Berry’s Latitude 29 Wiki Wiki Mai Tai Mix Experimentation

Orgeat Works provided a review sample of the Wiki Wiki Mai Tai mix, and we thought we shouldn’t have all the fun so I put out the word about providing some samples to others to try. Like Johnny Appleseed, I drove samples to Campbell, San Jose, Fremont, and San Mateo. Soon, Mai Tais were sprouting!

In addition, I made a bunch of Mai Tais with different rums. The results were a little surprising.

#4: Wiki Wiki Mai Tai with Cruzan Light Rum
This cocktail was the least satisfying. The light rum did not provide the requisite “heft” for a cocktail that is best experienced with a bold, heavy rum. Still, not bad.

#3: Wiki Wiki Mai Tai with Appleton 12 Rum
Shockingly, my favorite Mai Tai rum wasn’t nearly as good as I expected. Something about the flavor profile of the aged Jamaican rum just didn’t mesh with the mix.

#2: Wiki Wiki Mai Tai with Real McCoy 5 / Bacardi 4
Much better was this half/half blend of two medium aged rums, Real McCoy from Barbados and Bacardi from Puerto Rico. Just enough age and flavor from the rum to compliment the Mai Tai mix.

#1: Wiki Wiki Mai Tai with Trader Vic’s Royal Amber Rum
Royal Amber is the rum that Trader Vic’s uses in the restaurants to pair with their Mai Tai Concentrate, and the results were equally solid with the Latitude 29 mix. The rum is from Puerto Rico and lightly aged, but colored. So in a way it is not too far off from the product’s intended rum pairing. This one had a great mouthfeel and best overall flavor balance.

Feedback from the locals matched my own view: this is a quality mix but white rum is probably not the winning formula. Everyone did praise this as ending up with a good cocktail, though nothing close to scratch. But, as one of our reviewers noted it seems like this is a product designed for more casual cocktail drinkers and not hard care craft cocktail junkies.

Order the Wiki Wiki Mai Tai Mix on the Orgeatworks website.

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Beachbum Berry’s Latitude 29 Wiki Wiki Mai Tai Mix

Big News for Mai Tai fans: there’s a new Mai Tai Mix now available.

The product is Beachbum Berry’s Latitude 29 Wiki Wiki Mai Tai Mix and comes from the same folks behind our favorite Orgeat.

Press Release from Orgeat Works:

Very exciting news at Orgeat Works HQ! After two years of exhaustive formulation and collaboration with the Bum. We are proud to introduce Beach Bum Berry’s Latitude 29 Wiki Wiki Mai Tai Mix!!!! The mission brief: To imbue your run of the mill dry white rum with the qualities of the classic aged rums used in our beloved Mai Tai. Like the name says, Wiki means Quick!

2 oz. rum, ¾ oz. Wiki Wiki Mai Tai Mix and and ounce of fresh lime and you’re good to go!

We spoke with Orgeat Works founder Adam Kolesar about the product. The thing that every craft cocktail aficionado is likely to notice first is that this Mai Tai Mix doesn’t say “add your favorite aged rum” but instead specifies an unaged light rum. Kolesar gave us a breakdown of the product positioning.

“The reason for specifying an unremarkable “easily obtained” dry white rum was to reflect the primary mission of the Wiki Wiki aspect of the Mai Tai mix. The Bum and I thought it would be great to have a flavorful syrup that would imbue a pedestrian rum with the flavor profile of something more complex. An example might be coming home from work, thinking a Mai Tai would be a great soother, and discovering you’re out of Ferrand Dry Curacao or your favorite Martinique rhum.

The product certainly doesn’t purport to be the ultimate Mai Tai as everyone we know has a carefully curated spec. It is meant to be a quality hack when you’re short handed, on vacation (where you can typically find a dry white rum and a lime), or when you want a hassle free cocktail.

Another goal of the product is to allow folks to make a decent “Mock Tai” if that’s their groove.”

Orgeat Works provided a sample bottle for review purposes and so we gave the Mix a spin with Cruzan Light Rum. The mix does a good job imbuing the cocktail with bright orange notes that compliment the lime juice and make for a satisfying cocktail. Not as good as we’d make from scratch of course, but that’s besides the point. These guys know what a good Mai Tai is supposed to taste like, so the Wiki Wiki Mai Tai Mix does a good job getting you there even with light rum.

Kolesar closed by noting that “the end user is certainly free to experiment with more complex rums and strike a more elaborate balance. It was important to the Bum and I to build a product that would work decently with the likes of the ubiquitous Bacardi Light as our baseline.” The Wiki Wiki Mai Tai Mix is quite good for travel scenarios where you can bring this and get some lime and rum at your destination.

Order the Wiki Wiki Mai Tai Mix on the Orgeatworks website.

Next: Beachbum Berry’s Latitude 29 Wiki Wiki Mai Tai Mix Experimentation

Next: Beachbum Berry’s Latitude 29 Wiki Wiki Mai Tai Mix Market Analysis

1934 Zombie

The original is the best. That’s the conclusion at Ultimate Mai Tai Headquarters after trying out three other Zombies this month and then trying the 1934 recipe.

The subtle Cinnamon flavor and heavier rums make this a much more palatable cocktail. It’s like Jeff “Beachbum” Berry says, it’s really a magnified Planters Punch with a blend of rums and other kinds of sweeteners and spices.

1934 Zombie
¾ oz Lime juice
½ oz Don’s Mix
½ oz Falernum
¼ oz Grenadine
1½ oz Jamaican rum
1½ oz Puerto Rican rum
1 oz Demerara 151 proof rum
2 dashes absinthe
1 dash Angostura bitters
6 oz crushed ice
Flash blend for 5 seconds
Don’s Mix: 2 parts White Grapefruit juice and 1 part Cinnamon Syrup.



Glassware and coasters from last year’s Kickstarter by Will Penny.

Buy Sippin’ Safari by Jeff “Beachbum” Berry for the full story about the rediscovery of the 1934 Zombie recipe.

1950 and 1956 Zombie

Continuing our theme for the week, I made the 1950 and 1956 Zombie cocktails. We can thank @official_beachbumberry for unearthing these old recipes, and if you haven’t memorized the Zombie chapter from The Bum’s seminal book Sippin’ Safari then you need to order that book right away (get the 10th anniversary edition). These lovely Beachbum Berry Zombie glasses make pairing these two cocktails a delight.

1950 Zombie
1 oz Lime juice
1 oz Lemon juice
1 oz Pineapple juice
1 oz Passion Fruit Syrup
1 oz White Puerto Rican rum
1 oz Gold Puerto Rican rum
1 oz Demerara 151 proof rum
1 tsp brown sugar
1 Dash Angostura bitters
Shake with ice

1956 Zombie
¾ oz Lime juice
½ oz Grapefruit juice
1½ oz Unsweetened Pineapple juice
¼ oz Falernum
¾ oz Maraschino Liqueur (only used ⅓ oz)
¼ tsp Grenadine
1¼ oz Gold Puerto Rican rum
1 oz Dark Jamaican rum
1 oz Lemon Hart 151 Demerara rum
⅛ tsp Pernod/Absinthe
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
6 oz (¾ cup) crushed ice
Flash blend



You can see which rums and ingredients I used. Overall I thought that the 1956 Zombie tasted too much like the Maraschino Liqueur, even after I used only half the listed amount. I might drop it down to a teaspoon next time.

The 1950 Zombie was better received both by me and also by Mrs. Mai Tai, as we both felt it was easier to drink. But neither of us felt like either cocktail was something we’d go out of our way to order at a bar.

Tomorrow’s post… the 1934 Zombie.

New Site Feature: Q. B. Cooler

Let’s talk about the Q. B. Cooler. It’s the drink that inspired the Mai Tai. Or so the story goes.

Donn Beach claimed that Trader Vic used the Q. B. Cooler as a template or precursor to the Mai Tai, something noted in Jeff “Beachbum” Berry’s book Sippin’ Safari.

We have a new feature at ultimatemaitai.com about the Q.B. Cooler, including the origin story, recipe, and whether or not the cocktail is the Mai Tai’s daddy. Includes some historical details and new quotes from The Bum himself. Check it out.

Q. B. Cooler by Don the Beachcomber
½ oz Lime juice
1 oz Orange juice
1 oz Club soda
½ oz Honey mix
¼ oz Falernum
½ tsp Ginger syrup
½ oz Demerara rum
1 oz Jamaican rum
1 oz Puerto Rican rum
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
Blend with 4 oz crushed ice for 5 seconds; top up with more crushed ice and garnish with mint.

View the Page: Q. B. Cooler at UltimateMaiTai.com

Q. B. Cooler

Saturn

Most tikiphiles are familiar with the classic cocktails that Jeff “Beachbum” Berry brought back from the dead, finding their original recipes and sharing them with the world. The 1934 Zombie is the holy grail but there’s also Three Dots and a Dash, the Q.B. Cooler, and others. But an overlooked recipe that deserves just as much praise is the Saturn.

The Saturn was originally prepared by J. “Popo” Galsini in 1967 for the IBA World Cocktail Championship – and Popo won the darn thing. You’d think that thereafter this drink would have been world famous, but nobody was drinking these until Berry discovered it and published the recipe in his book Beachbum Berry’s Taboo Table in 2005.

Saturn
½ oz Lemon Juice
½ oz Passion Fruit Syrup
¼ oz Falernum
¼ oz Orgeat
1¼ oz Dry Gin
8 oz Crushed Ice

Blend and pour into a Pilsner or other tall glass.

The cocktail is surprisingly refreshing. Popo was said to have tended bar in several tiki bars, so he would have been familiar with Orgeat and Falernum that were already starting to lose favor along with the rest of the classic exotic cocktail ingredients in 1967.

I personally prefer up the Orgeat to ½ ounce and then to prepare shaken with crushed ice and served up in a coupe glass.

The Hurricane

Invented in New Orleans at Pat O’Briens bar, the actual recipe is a closely held secret. But everyone who has had one knows that it is fruity and that it has tons of rum. If you’ve had one from one of the cheap bars on Bourbon Street, you’re totally missing out. Those taste like garbage but when you make it at home with fresh ingredients it is delightful.

Some recipes call for Fassionola syrup, a sweetener with an equally mysterious recipe. The standard recipe used by many comes to us from Jeff “Beachbum” Berry who published this recipe in The Grog Log in 1998. The proportions make it easy to batch, which I did for a neighborhood block party (remember those) celebrating Mardis Gras a couple years ago.

Hurricane
2 oz Lemon Juice
2 oz Passion Fruit Syrup
4 oz Dark Jamaican Rum

Shake with crushed ice and fill in a Hurricane glass. Depending on the sweetness of your Passion Fruit Syrup, you might consider adding a little extra sugar syrup.

This cocktail is not particularly rum-forward, so you don’t need to go high-end for the Jamaican rum. Coruba, Myers’s, or Blackwell are all affordable and will do just fine.

Royal Hawaiian Mai Tai

May 2022 Update

Since this post was original written in 2020, we’ve done some extensive research into the Royal Hawaiian Mai Tai, and much of what we wrote below is incorrect or at least not fully contextual. So, we urge you to read the article to fully understand how the cocktail evolved, or some might say devolved.

The (De)Evolution of the Hawaiian Mai Tai

The article originally appeared in Exotica Moderne, issue 15.

Original Post from 2020

Though the exact recipe may not be known, it does seem clear that the Mai Tai’s rise to fame in Hawaii started at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel on Waikiki Beach. In 1953, Trader Vic Bergeron contracted with Matson to provide menus for their passenger ships and their hotel properties that included the Royal Hawaiian. The Mai Tai became a big hit with tourists in Hawaii and by the end of the decade had supplanted the Zombie as the most famous tropical cocktail in the world.

Royal Hawaiian Mai Tai (Classic Recipe)
½ oz Lime Juice
¼ oz Lemon Juice
1 oz Orange Juice
1 oz unsweetened Pineapple Juice
¼ oz Sugar Syrup
¼ oz Orgeat
¼ oz Orange Curacao
1 oz Demerara Rum
1 oz Dark Jamaican Rum
1 oz Light Rum

Garnish with a Pineapple finger, Sugar Cane stick, Orchid, and Mint Sprig.

This recipe dates to 1971 according to the entry in Beachbum Berry Remixed (page 72).

Note that the recipe for this Mai Tai does not have the dark rum float most typically associated with Island Mai Tais. Though, I suppose, you could hold back the Dark Jamaican rum and float it. 

Today, the Royal Hawaiian provides the “secret recipe” for their “Original” Royal Hawaiian Mai Tai, and it differs considerably from the older recipe provided by Beachbum Berry. Purists will note the use of Amaretto rather than Orgeat, and a mere 1½ ounces of rum.

The photo above is the Royal Hawaiian Mai Tai sampled in 2019.

Royal Hawaiian Mai Tai (Modern Recipe)
Build in shaker with ice:
1 oz Bacardi Rum
1 tsp Cherry Vanilla Puree
½ oz Amaretto di Saronno
½ oz Cointreau
1 oz Fresh Govinda Orange Juice
2 oz Fresh Govinda Pineapple Juice
½ oz Whaler’s Dark Rum Float

Roll the shaker, pour in a large “bucket” glass. Float with Whaler’s Dark Rum, garnish with a parasol with cherry, pineapple and lime wedge.

Compare to the 1956 Mai Tai

Note that both recipes differ considerably from the 1956 Mai Tai recipe that Trader Vic provided to a patron of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. That recipe is much closer to a traditional 1944 Mai Tai, though it is possible that in 1956 that the Mai Tais in Hawaii were still made without Pineapple and Orange juices.

The Octopus

An old Waikiki Trader Vic’s recipe, courtesy Jeff “Beachbum” Berry  in the Total Tiki app and his Intoxica book.

The recipe calls for Passion Fruit juice or nectar but I used passion fruit syrup. It wasn’t as good as when I had this in the past with the nectar. Live and learn.

The Octopus
1½ oz Orange Juice
1½ oz Passion Fruit Nectar
1½ oz 151 Rum (I used Hamilton)
1½ oz Club Soda
1 dash Angostura bitters

Stir in the glass