Mr. Fogg’s Themed Bars

Mr. Fogg’s is a chain of Victorian-era themed bars and tavern pubs mostly in central London. Each location has a variant on the theme with unique cocktails. We visited the Society of Exploration and also the Apothecary.

Both were a good time, with attentive service and some quality cocktails with a great presentation. The Mechanical Mixologist at the Society location makes a Negroni and is kind of neat if that cocktail is your thing. We stuck to rum drinks and felt they were really good.

There are some small bites available in the bar locations, and we had the cheddar cheese plate that also comes with breadsticks, and found the cheese to be really rich with flavor. A full menu is available at the tavern locations.

The Apothecary location had some interesting cocktail names (Soaked in Ether / Emerald Euphoria) and isn’t quite as well themed but they do offer cocktails made with vintage spirits. I took an interest in the 1970s Bacardi that’s used in the Hemingway Daiquiri and asked if the rum was available on its own. The manger came over and offered a little pour on the house just because I think they rarely have anyone express an interest in the spirits themselves. This Bacardi was delightful,  very crisp but also with deeper fruity flavors than you see in today’s expression.

Mr. Fogg’s was a lot of fun in both locations. Some good people watching and great relaxing mood music.

Christmas Suffering Bastard

Not the most traditional Christmas cocktail, but with the new green glaze I think the Suffering Bastard Mug is a perfect vessel. In order to prepare the cocktail we need to make some decisions about the ingredients.

The Trader Vic’s Suffering Bastard is very different from Joe Scialom’s original from the World War II era, and is basically a larger and boozier Mai Tai.

This is the recipe from Trader Vic’s 1972 Bartenders Guide Revised and from 1974’s Rum Cookery and Drinkery. Noteworthy that it specifically calls for an aged Rhum Agriole. But what’s missing? The lime, for one.

Suffering Bastard (1970s)
3 oz Trader Vic’s Mai Mix
1 oz Light Puerto Rican Rum
2 oz Rhum St. James
Shake with ice and garnish with spent lime shell, mint, fruit stick, and cucumber

The same books list the Mai Tai as using 2 oz each of Mai Tai Mix and Trader Vic’s Mai Tai rum, so we must assume the lime is incorporated into the Mai Tai mix. As for the blend of Orange Curacao and Orgeat, I thought I’d try the ratio used for the 1958 Mai Tai from the Trader Vic’s in Havana, 12 parts Curacao to 7 parts Orgeat, and make 2 oz of this mix to go with the 1 oz of lime. I don’t have any Rhum St. James but substituted Clement VSOP Rhum that’s also from Martinique. Plus Trader Vic’s Light Rum from Puerto Rico.

Christmas Suffering Bastard
1 oz Lime Juice
¾ oz Orgeat (Latitude 29)
1¼ oz Orange Curacao (Ferrand)
1 oz Trader Vic’s Light Rum
2 oz Rhum St. James (sub Clement)
Shake with ice and garnish with spent lime shell, mint, fruit stick, and cucumber (if you have one)

This was very satisfying. You certainly get a bit of that aged and grassy taste from the Clement, but it is balanced well by the subtle sweetness of the Mai Tai mix blend. The use of the light rum softens the edges of the Martinique rhum and keep this as the boozy cocktail it was meant to be.

Mele Kalikimaka

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, referenced as The Original Mai Tai on menus)
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.