8th Best Mai Tai of 2020

1944 Mai Tai with Appleton Reserve at Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar (Anaheim, CA)

The date was March 8. Less than 10 days later everything would be shut down, but on this day I wandered into Trader Sam’s after a great Sunday morning at Disney California Adventure park. Unlike the evening two days earlier, Sam’s wasn’t at capacity and I was able to relax with a cocktail. It’s to the credit of the Trader Sam’s bartenders that they are eager to accommodate, especially when things aren’t crazy inside. Skipper Will made me a traditional 1944 Mai Tai made with simple syrup rather than the Sam’s standard agave syrup, along with Appleton Reserve Jamaican rum. This was the best Mai Tai I’ve ever had a Trader Sam’s.

Kali Mai Tai

I was gifted this from some fellow tikiphiles and it’s totally cool. It pays homage to the Indiana Jones franchise including the Mara-glyphics from the Indiana Jones Adventure attraction at Disneyland. Who’s that holding the cocktail? Why that’s Mola Ram from Temple of Doom, the priest who would performs human sacrifices for the goddess Kali. In the movie people were forced to drink the Blood of Kali Ma, a potion that brainwashed people to make the devout followers. If only getting more Instagram followers was so easy.

The pin is really large and the glyphics on the front have the recipe for the 1944 Mai Tai. On the back of the card, there’s a recipe for the Kali Mai Tai, a twist on the original recipe feature Asian rum, Blood Orange Juice, and Blood Orange Cordial.

The back of the pin features a decoder wheel so you can translate the recipe and the secret message (which I won’t spoil in the post). The decoder is great, though I found that using the Disneyland App was faster: go to Adventureland and choose the Indiana Jones ride and there is a glyphics decoder.

As for the cocktail, it is wonderful. Especially if you pair it with appropriate glassware such this one from Last Rites in San Francisco. I liked the tangy blood orange twist on the Mai Tai. I used the Liber and Co. Blood Orange Cordial. Give it a try!

The pin is available from @junglecruiserusso. So well done.

Day Drinking at Trader Sam’s

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Day Drinking at Trader Sam’s is Perfect It’s been a while since I’ve visited Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar during the day. I noted the other day that when we showed up on Friday night there was no room inside, so we went to the Tangaroa Terrace patio next door. The last few visits were also during busy times. But early in the day, boy is Trader Sam’s a joy. So glad they open up at 11:30 am. Our day at Disney California Adventure ended earlier than planned (thank you MaxPass and Extra Magic Hour), and then we were done with lunch a little before noon. Mrs. Mai Tai wanted to go shopping so I had time for a quick visit to Trader Sam’s on the way back to the hotel. The bar was active but mellow enough to hear yourself think and to listen to the wonderful Exotica music playing inside. Some very friendly customers and the bartenders had a little bit of time to breathe and interact with the guests. THIS was the vibe at Trader Sam’s that I fell in love with. I asked if they have simple syrup and when it was confirmed I asked for a 1944 style Mai Tai with Appleton Reserve rum. Skipper Will immediately made me an excellent Mai Tai, probably the best I’ve ever had here. The standard Sam’s Mai Tai here uses Agave Syrup, which isn’t a flavor I’m fond of. The standard rum blend is Bacardi/Coruba so the Appleton was a big upgrade. Noteworthy: they don’t carry simple syrup at the Trader Sam’s in Florida, so it’s nice that the Sam’s at Disneyland can offer a more versatile set of ingredients. So glad I was able to squeeze in an additional visit to Sam’s on this trip. @disneyland #tiki #tikibar #tikidrinks #tikiculture #tropicaldrinks #cocktails #craftcocktails #rum #rhum #maitai #1944maitai #disneyland #jamaicanrum #tradersams #tradersamsenchantedtikibar

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Grand Mai Tai

Grand Mai Tai Indeed!

Found a hidden gem. The cocktails at the Disney Resorts don’t have great rep, apart from Trader Sam’s. The Mai Tais have generally been following the Captain’s Mai Tai formula with Captain Morgan and Amaretto. Spiced rum has its place, especially at a resort. But not in a Mai Tai.

So I was pleasantly surprised to see the Grand Mai Tai on the menu at the newish Craftsman Bar at the Grand Californian Hotel. This cocktail features Bacardi Ocho and Myers’s rum, and is made according to a 1944 recipe (no agave syrup, a Trader Sam’s staple), though with half the rum floated. Even better, this was actually a really good Mai Tai.

The poolside vibe was just fine for relaxing and the cocktails here seems much stronger than the Hearthstone Lounge on the other side of the hotel. I shall return!

The Grand Mai Tai at the GCH Craftsman Bar

Disappointment at Oga’s Cantina

Evening at Tangaroa Terrace