Drunken Monkey at Trader Vic’s Emeryville

This cocktail appeared on the menu at Trader Vic’s Emeryville a couple years ago and I decided to revisit with lunch. The drink features unaged Cachaça and Tequila, along with Banana liqueur, grapefruit and lime juice, plus Trader Vic’s favorite ingredient – Orgeat. The Whipped Cream topping with Lime Zest makes this an attractive cocktail.

The blend of Cachaça and Tequila works really well here, providing different spirit notes than what you’d get with Rum or Bourbon. Cachaça is distilled from cane juice and the light herbal qualities pair well with Tequila’s agave-based flavor. The banana is there just as a hint, and when we upped the ratio at home it still wasn’t forward in the cocktail.

At Trader Vic’s the cocktail is served in this tall glass with nugget ice, which meant it was difficult to incorporate the topping into the drink due to the chunky ice. My preference would be for this to be in an old fashioned glass with a wider brim or with shaved ice that would be easier to work with.

Trader Vic’s hasn’t published the recipe but observing the prep and trying at home this seems pretty close. Give it a try!

Drunken Monkey by Trader Vic’s
½ oz Lime Juice
½ oz Grapefruit Juice (pink)
½ oz Orgeat
½ oz Giffard Banane du Bresil
1 oz Blanco Tequila
1 oz Silver Cachaça
Shake with crushed ice and top with whipped cream and banana chips.

At home I used El Jimador Tequila and Novo Fogo Cachaça, along with Latitude 29 Orgeat, and I felt this tasted even better than the one at Trader Vic’s. I’m a newbie to both spirits, so I couldn’t tell which brands were used at Vic’s.


I finally got around to purchasing a bottle of Cachaça, the cane spirit from Brazil. I’ve had good experiences with Novo Fogo Silver Cachaça and the price was reasonable so that’s what I went with. Not grassy at all, the savory flavors of this cane spirit are quite pleasant.

I decided to make a Caipirinha, the national drink of Brazil. This cocktail is similar to a Daiquiri or Ti Punch in that it contains a cane spirit, lime, and sugar.

2 sugar cubes
1 Small Lime, cut into quarters
2 oz Cachaça
Place lime wedges and sugar into old fashioned glass and muddle gently. Add Cachaça and crushed ice, then stir until chilled and the sugar is dissolved.

This is quite nice and more to my taste than the formula for a Ti Punch that has a smaller ratio of lime/sugar (if you prefer Martinique Rhum, your opinion may differ). I can see why the Caipirinha is popular.

Dinner at Palmetto

Mrs. Mai Tai and I finally made it to Palmetto in Oakland, after some drinks next door at The Kon-Tiki Room. The neon and art-deco style of Palmetto is best experienced indoors, and the fine food seems like the stuff that might not travel so well for a 30 minute drive back home. We’re finally doing indoor dining, so it was time.

The food here is fantastic. Truly savory, and we both loved the scallops that were available as a starter. The shrimp cocktail was also very good. For the main course, I had the chicken and Julie had the yellowtail, both were excellent. Note that the menu changes frequently, so some things may be different on your visit. The quality of the flavors were truly gourmet, justifying the mid-tier pricing. There is a focus on steaks here too, if that’s your thing, including Prime Rib on Wednesdays.

Look at the presentation of the Scallops and Shrimp

Palmetto also has an active cocktail program (and wine and beer). Julie had the Girl Goes Walking, featuring Cachaca as the main spirit, paired with Armaretto, Tamarind, Grapefruit, Lemon, and Bitters. Quite delightful.

Located across the street from the Fox Theater in Uptown, Palmetto is a great Oakland destination and an upscale treat to pair with drinks next door at the Kon-Tiki Room.

Girl Goes Walking