As part of the silent auction component of the Oakhana Summer Swizzle / two home tiki bar crawl in August, one of the auction items I contributed was a private tasting event with three Mai Tais for up to 8 people and hosted by Jeff Hall at the Dragon’s Den in the Oakland hills. Nav Singh was the high bidder and we had the event this past weekend.
What a great time, thanks to Nav and some of the Sacramento Ohana she brought along for the ride. A few quality questions about the Mai Tai’s ingredients and components and some about its key ingredient (that would be rum, folks). We also had a great vibe at Jeff’s place and some tasty food provided by Jeff. I brought the rum and the cocktail ingredients.
We had three Mai Tais:
First was a Trader Vic’s Mai Tai made with either Khukri rum from Nepal or Santiago aged rum from Cuba. One of these countries has a great reputation as a rum producer, but both are unusual and have a lighter column-still production method. Either one of these produced a fine Mai Tai.
Second was a Mai Tai made with Hampden Great House 2020, a cask strength flavor bomb from Jamaica. The difference between our first Mai Tai and this was greatly evident, and even with a super boozy rum the cocktail is still very approachable. This shows how different rums produce a very different Mai Tai.
We ended with a Blue Mai Tai, made with high quality Giffard Blue Curacao and a rum blend featuring Charley’s JB Overproof rum that’s available only in Jamaica. I’ve done different variants of this over the years and it still impresses; people expect it to be sweet like a Blue Hawaii but the boozy Jamaican rum gives it a good balance.
Thanks again to Jeff for hosting and to Nav for the winning bid.
Had a nice afternoon in Alameda on the patio with friends celebrating Forbidden Island‘s 17th anniversary. The seminal third wave tiki bar opened in 2006 and is still going strong. We were glad to stay outdoors in prep for our upcoming trip to the British Isles, so we missed the live Hawaiian music and hula from Haopinaka, but it sounded great from afar.
Fun on the patio at Forbidden Island
Copalli rum was doing free tastings of their line, including a delightful cask strength expression picked by Forbidden Island. Copalli was present in one of my cocktails, the nicely balanced Copalli Chartreuse Swizzle. Gotta order those Chartreuse cocktails when the French herbal liqueur is still actually available.
Following up from my visit a few weeks back I tried the Infinite Coastline again, but this time with the robust and boozy Rum Fire Jamaica Rum. I really liked this and it remains, as they say, easy drinking.
Nice to see so many familiar faces celebrating Forbidden Island’s birthday – and there was even cake. Congrats to Michael Thanos and all the staff who keep FI going strong.
The Blue Hawaii cocktail is usually not my jam, especially when it has a ton of pineapple juice and only uses vodka.
But I thoroughly enjoyed this Infinite Coastline at Forbidden Island the other day. The Blue Curaçao liqueur was forward in the cocktail and the light rum was a very nice accent. Best Blue Hawaii I’ve had in… maybe ever.
You can also order this with Rum Fire Overproof Jamaica Rum, which is 63% ABV and totally delicious. That version is $2 more and I’m sure is the quintessential version. I would have done this except I’d already had another cocktail and was driving.
Be sure to check out the Infinite Coastline the next time you’re at Forbidden Island.
This inexpensive Blue Curacao has wide distribution and so I thought I’d give it a try and compare to the gold standard for the category, Giffard Curaçao Bleu. DeKuyper is 24% ABV and the Giffard is 25%, so an even comparison.
I made a traditional Blue Hawaii cocktail, including a split base with Vodka and Light Puerto Rican Rum (Trader Vic’s), though with only two ounces of Pineapple Juice. The Giffard has a deeper blue color, and a noticeable and pleasant orange flavor on the cocktail. The DeKuyper looked okay but didn’t elevate the cocktail at all.
Next, I made two Blue Hawai-Tais. This is a Mai Tai riff using lemon juice and featuring a flavorful light rum (Hamilton White Stache) and a Jamaican Overproof (Wray & Nephew). The orgeat used this time was Liber, hence the slightly creamy consistency. The conclusion was the same in that the Giffard improved the cocktail with a delightful orange flavor you can taste, and a deeper blue as well.
DeKuyper Blue Curaçao doesn’t impart any unpleasant flavors and is around $10 a bottle. So, it isn’t terrible at all, but not really that great either.
I’ve been mostly on the wagon for the past two weeks after coming back from Bakersfield with a pretty bad flu. But felt well enough to try a few things tonight. The Blue Curacao was being used for a comparison test we’ll cover in the upcoming days.
But I had a little bit left over, so made myself a quick and dirty unmeasured cocktail. And you know it ain’t too shabby.
National Cocktail Day Cocktail 2 glugs of Giffard Blue Curacao 2 glugs of Probitas Rum 1 scant pour of Lemon Juice 2 Dashes Orange Bitters Stir with ice
The orange bitters actually did improve this a little and there’s nothing wrong with a half-half pour of my favorite Blue Curacao and my favorite “white” rum.
Went out to dinner last night in the Bay Area suburbs. Lazy Dog Restaurant has a “Blue Hawaiian” on the menu that’s pretty close to Harry Yee’s original blue cocktail. Pineapple, Sweet & Sour, Rum, Vodka – and OJ. It came out really green but the taste was just fine.
At home I made one with a modified recipe that was even better.
Blue Hawaii (Modified) ½ oz Lemon Juice 2 oz Pineapple Juice ½ oz Simple Syrup ½ oz Blue Curacao 1½ oz White Rum Blend Shake with crushed ice.
My white rum blend is made from almost empty bottles of Denizen 3, Wray & Nephew Overproof, Myers’s White, and Three Rolls Estate. So a bit more flavorful than your standard Puerto Rican White. And way better than Vodka.
I used Giffard Blue Curacao. For this drink, I think adding another half ounce of Blue Curacao for a float would look nicer and add a bit more sweetness to the cocktail.
Note that Harry Lee celebrated his 104th birthday this week. You can read an essay about Yee from Hawaiian journalist Rick Carrol, circa late 1990s, on this website.