Nuclear Daiquiri

There were some discussions of this cocktail online this week and so I took at run at it. I tweaked the original recipe by lowering the Green Chartreuse a little and definitely going for a heavy pour of John D. Taylor Falernnum that is not as bold as the Falernum syrup used in the original version of the cocktail.

¾ oz Lime Juice
¾ oz John D. Taylor Falernum (heavy pour)
½ oz Green Chartreuse
1 oz Wray & Nephew Overproof Jamaica Rum
Shake with ice cubes and strain

This was just right for me. Enough of the Chartreuse to taste, but not enough to overwhelm. But it works very nicely with the bold Wray & Nephew rum.

Planters Punch with Orgeat

A little remix that I gave half a thought to and tried. I subbed half the simple syrup for Ogreat in a Planters Punch to … okay results. It tasted like a Planters Punch, and the funky Jamaican rums at 45-46% ABV gave this a nice punch. But it needs something else or maybe different proportions to be excellent.

Planters Punch
1 oz Lime Juice
½ oz Simple Syrup
½ oz Orgeat (Latitude 29)
1½ oz Hampden Estate Single Jamaican Rum
1½ oz Worthy Park Single Estate Reserve
2 dashes Angostura Bitters

Trader Vic’s Mai Tai Shootout

I’d been thinking of doing a comparison test anyway, but was inspired by this week’s episode of the Tiki with Ray show on YouTube featuring the topic of “My Favorite Mai Tai” and a discussion of Menehune Juice.

Menehune Juice is a Mai Tai variant developed by Trader Vic’s in the early 1970s and is essentially a replacement of the aged Jamaican-forward rum with a Light Puerto Rican Rum. Other variants from this time period include the Pinky Gonzales (sub Tequila) and Honi Honi (sub Bourbon). The Menehune craze of the 1960s allowed Vic to put the Menehune Juice on the menu and you even got to take one home with you.

For this test, I compared the 1944 Mai Tai, Trader Vic’s Mai Tai, and Menehune Juice as they are prepared by Trader Vic’s restaurants today. Notably, the latter two use Trader Vic’s Mai Tai Concentrate as a substitute for the Orgeat, Rock Candy, and Orange Curacao. That Concentrate is used in Trader Vic’s restaurants and is occasionally sold off the Trader Vic’s website (I bought mine as part of the Trader’s Treasures membership). For the 1944 I’m using the present day recipe that calls for ¾ oz of Orange Curacao (I used DeKuyper).

I was surprised how much I liked the Menehune Juice, which I found light and refreshing but still “rummy” in a good way. I do enjoy the Mai Tais made with the Concentrate. But, no surprise that my personal preference was for the more complex body and taste of the 1944. Mrs. Mai Tai said she preferred the Trader Vic’s Mai Tai and then the Menehune Juice, so it seems true that there’s a cocktail for everyone at Trader Vic’s.

1944 Mai Tai (Trader Vic’s present day)
¾ oz Lime Juice
¼ oz Rock Candy Syrup
½ oz Orgeat
¾ oz Orange Curacao
2 oz Trader Vic’s Royal Amber Rum
Shake with crushed ice and pour into Mai Tai glass
Squeeze ¼ of a lime, then garnish with spent lime shell and mint sprig

Trader Vic’s Mai Tai
Typically labeled “Our signature Mai Tai has been modified to perfection” on menus.
½ oz Lemon Juice
¾ oz Mai Tai Concentrate
2 oz Trader Vic’s Royal Amber Rum
Shake with crushed ice and pour into Mai Tai glass
Squeeze ¼ of a lime, then garnish with spent lime shell, fruit stick, and mint sprig

Menehune Juice
Same as Trader Vic’s Mai Tai but sub 2 oz Trader Vic’s Light Rum in place of the Royal Amber.

I used Trader Vic’s products throughout, except subbed Latitude 29 orgeat and Liber Demerara for the Rock Candy in the 1944 recipe.

The Ultimate Mai Tai at Tiki Tom’s

The new menu debuted last night for Tiki Tom’s mug release event, so the Ultimate Mai Tai is now available as a premium Mai Tai option. We thank Darrin, Rick, and Steffani from Tiki Tom’s for the honor and also for sourcing the four Ultimate Mai Tai rums that are not always easy to procure.

We went to Tiki Tom’s for a quick visit last night and the place was packed and it sure seemed like they were selling a lot of mugs. We were able to get a seat at the bar after a short wait and I can say they’re making the Ultimate Mai Tai the right way. The cocktail features Jamaica rums Appleton 12, Smith & Cross, and Plantation Xaymaca, along with Plantation OFTD overproof rum. Over 50% ABV and a rich and funky taste that cuts through the cocktail. At $20, it is totally worth the $5 upcharge over their regular Mai Tai and $10 less than what they’re charging at Royal Tot in South Carolina for the same cocktail.

The new menu features a lot more options and also includes the BenZombie named for Bamboo Ben who led the interior decor refresh in 2021. There’s also a Release the Kraken, a bowl drink featuring some premium rums (no actual Kraken rum!). There are even a few cocktails from Jeff “Beachbum” Berry on the menu, along with Tiki Tom’s faves such as the Blowfish Intoxica and the Ohana Punch (Mrs. Mai Tai’s favorite). No more Carmen Miranda cocktail, though.

Tiki Tom’s doesn’t do reservations on Fridays and Saturdays, so plan accordingly if you’d like to visit.

Tiki Tom’s owner Darrin DeRita


Jamaican Highball at Dr. Funk

Dropped by Dr. Funk on Monday before the Surfrajettes show for dinner and some cocktails. Aside from continued “product testing” of Dr. Funk’s still awesome Mai Tai, I tried the Jamaican Highball this time.

More than just a “Wray and Ting”, the Jamaican Highball features Wray & Nephew White Overproof Rum, lime, turbinado, grapefruit soda, and Bitter Truth Grapefruit Bitters. Those additional ingredients and flavors help to enhance the the rum and soda base. I was looking for a slightly lower ABV and asked for Rum-Bar Silver to sub for the Wray. This still provided that classic unaged Jamaican rum flavor and worked great in this cocktail.

Ultimate Mai Tai at Royal Tot in Charlotte

Was pleasantly surprised to hear about the new menu release at Charlotte’s Royal Tot tiki bar, where they’ve added the Ultimate Mai Tai to their menu. This is the first bar to feature my Ultimate Mai Tai blend on the regular menu, beating Tiki Tom’s which announced it was coming but hasn’t yet released their new menu.

Sharp eyes will note a subtle sub from my published recipe. Royal Tot is subbing Clement Creole Shrubb for Ferrand Dry Curacao, a swap I do all the time at home. I should probably indicate that either orange liqueur is preferred. But otherwise, they’re using my Ultimate Mai Tai Rum Blend, Plantation Xaymaca, Plantation OFTD, Appleton (12) Rare Casks, and Smith & Cross.

And we were thrilled to see on Reddit that it impressed cocktail expert JenTiki who said “I can honestly say the only better Mai Tai I’ve ever had was at Smugglers Cove (and I’ve had a lot of Mai Tais).” That is some very high praise for the cocktail quality at Royal Tot, and Jen praised the Navy Grog as well.

I’d be interested to see how well this sells. Given the limited supply of all three Jamaican rums in this blend, the $30 price doesn’t seem so bad. If you’re in the area, give it a try and let us know how it tastes.

Step 2 and Step 3 Cocktail

Inspired by the video this week from @rumrevival where Arminder reviewed Worthy Park 109 and then paired it with a lager.

Step one is to pour the rum and then try it. And then step two is to drink some lager. And then step three is some more of the Worthy Park 109. And then step four is to repeat steps two and three.

Its fantastic. Worthy Park 109 is such s flavorful and approachable rum, even at 54.5 ABV. And if it is a little extra boozy, there doesn’t seem to be a downside.

The Kon-Tiki was rocking pretty great tonight thanks to Arminder himself, many of the Oakhana regulars, great food and drinks, and an outstanding surf playlist.

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A post shared by Arminder Randhawa (@rumrevival)

Mai Tai Mike Completes Kon-Tiki Expedition

Congrats to @coldbrew429 for completing the rum list at The Kon-Tiki. Mike says it took less than a year which is quite an achievement. As is the tradition, there was a special cocktail list tonight in Mike’s honor.

The Kon-Tiki was in fine form tonight and Mrs. Mai Tai and I decided Friday Eve was a perfect time for cocktails and the world famous Kon-Tiki Burger. Just outstanding, and a great eclectic mix of music that spanned Yacht Rock but also 1970s funk, David Bowie deep cuts, and even a little vintage Gary Human. When that vintage music is playing, there aren’t better places than The Kon-Tiki.

I also decided to start a new Expedition rum list. We’ll see how long it takes to complete 100 rums; I’m certainly not going to push too hard to complete it in less than a year like I did last time – but you never know. The Kon-Tiki has a pretty nice selection of rum, so there are plenty that I haven’t had the pleasure of tasting.

The rums tonight were good spirts to start the exploration; the Saint Benevolence Aged Rum Clairin that I raved about the other day was absolutely fabulous as a Mai Tai at Kon-Tiki. The Worthy Park Port Cask expression was less of a hit for me, and you could absolutely taste the port cask influence even in a Mai Tai. It muted the Worthy Park taste that I love, without adding something that elevated the spirt. I’m glad I tried it but probably won’t revisit.

Cadillac Daiquiri

So many times we end up at a bar or restaurant that has a pretty good selection of cocktails but nothing really using rum. Such was the case on our San Diego trip where we ate at the hotel’s restaurant a couple times. The food was nominally Mexican, so of course they had a pretty nice selection of tequila and a variety of Margaritas on the menu.

The problem, of course, is that I don’t always love tequila. And I’ve learned that even if they have lime juice, simple syrup, and rum that asking for a Daiquiri will usually lead to disappointment. So, I asked for a rum-riff on one of the cocktails on their menu.

I ordered a Cadillac Margarita with the tequila replaced with their best rum, Myers’s Dark Jamaican Rum. This “Cadillac Daiquiri” was actually pretty good. The added complexity with Grand Mariner being used did make this into a pretty reasonable tropical cocktail.

Keep this in your back pocket when needed.

Appleton Hearts 1995 and 1999 Jamaica Rum

I had picked up the Appleton Hearts 1995 early this year and found it to be amazing, aged 25 years in Jamaica and 100% pot still with 1400 g/100 LAA congeners. Simply fantastic, but all the bottles have long since been sold out locally.

I went on the hunt and found a 1999 still for sale online. I’d heard it was lighter than the ’95 and it certainly is so, though 855 g/100 LAA congeners is still far higher than most rums. I’m glad I picked it up, as it does impart a little more of the traditional Appleton flavor than ’95’s flavor bomb.

But, needless to say those 585 extra congeners are put to good use in the ’95, which remains one of my favorite rums ever.

And the story ends with a bit of a surprise. I was scanning local retailers for former “daily drinker” pick Appleton 12 (impossible to believe it is in short supply, but here we are in 2022). And while searching for “Appleton” at local chain K&L Wine Merchants I found a bottle of Appleton Hearts 1995 for sale! And for a price lower than when these were new last year. So, I could not resist snapping it up. These vintage pot still Appleton rums aren’t coming back.