Search for the Ultimate Terrible Mai Tai

I like to keep an open mind, because some days even your spider sense lets you down and what you think is terrible is actually really great.

This is not one of those days.

I had the lowest expectations for this Tropical Rum Mai Tai from Juneshine Spirits, but honestly it was even worse than I expected. This is most certainly the worst “Mai Tai” I’ve ever tried.

I like to cut ready-to-drink cocktails a whole lot of slack, but there is nothing to recommend about this pink and bubbly cocktail with an artificial cherry aftertaste. The label says “No Sugar Added” but I think it might have helped to have some.

  • 2 Shots Rum (Malahat)
  • Sparkling Water
  • Pineapple
  • Coconut
  • Orange
  • Cherry
  • Lime

Nowhere near tickling my tiki.

Small Hand Cocktails Mai Tai

Craft cocktail syrup company Small Hand Foods is entering the bottled cocktail market as Small Hand Cocktails and I gave their Mai Tai a try. The cocktail is made with Hamilton Rum, orange liqueur and of course Small Hand’s orgeat. The bottle is 25% ABV so this compares well to a freshly made cocktail.

Regular readers know that I’m not a fan of Small Hand’s orgeat, which to me has an unusually strong taste that doesn’t taste “almond-y”. Even though I know it is very popular with others and is used at cocktail programs in many bars.

Needless to say, you’ll have a better experience with this ready to drink Mai Tai if you’re a fan of their orgeat, but even I must admit this is a great bottled Mai Tai. The rum flavors do work so well with the rest of the ingredients and the mouthfeel is the same as with a freshly prepared scratch Mai Tai. Definitely worth seeking out.

This bottled Mai Tai compares well to other premium RTD Mai Tais, such as market leader On the Rocks. You could serve this to a cocktail enthusiast and they’d hardly notice the difference. These cocktails are available at Good Eggs and some Total Wine locations, plus discerning liquor stores. The 200ml bottle is around $11 and serves two-ish cocktails.

Another Use for a Canned Mai Tai: COVID Isolation

This was dinner that Mrs Mai Tai made the other night, which I ate while isolating in my office since the weekend with COVID again. Only a mild case, thankfully.

So, having the option for a Trader Vic’s canned Mai Tai was pretty nice. Add this to the reasons to get these and gave them on hand at home. Plus a reminder that among the canned Mai Tais in this price tier, the Trader Vic’s is the best we’ve tried so far. Available at BevMo and online.

More info: Ready to Drink Mai Tais

Trader Vic’s Bottled Mai Tai

These seem to only be available in Hawaii, and are significantly different than the canned Mai Tais that have been introduced in the last year or so.

But, this was actually really tasty and pleasant. It is made with rum and orange liqueur and actually resembles a Mai Tai.

Served in a Trader Vic’s mug I picked up at Bailey’s Antiques.

Bartender in a Box Mai Tai with Rum

I was pleased to sample this in the Jeff Granito suite at Arizona Tiki Oasis, since Jeff did the graphic design for the box. It is what it says: a ready to drink Mai Tai that includes rum and comes in a box. Bartender in a Box also makes available a Mai Tai and a Margarita product that comes without rum (so you can add your own). This seems like a great delivery vehicle for camping or picnic, where people can pour as much as they want rather than having to have their own can or bottle. The box including rum is available in a few SoCal Costco stores. Check www.bartenderinabox.com for details.

And the taste? Well, I’ve definitely had worse. It definitely leans in the fruity direction, and I mostly taste pineapple – though the product emphasizes there is almond flavor there too. There’s no annoying aftertaste that you get with some of these ready to drink cocktails.

And, for sure, this is the best looking packaging on any RTD Mai Tai. We love Granito’s design style.

Villager Spirits Canned Mai Tai

Based in San Diego, Villager Spirits has a line of canned cocktails including a Mai Tai.

“Made with rum, curaçao, and lime” sounds like a great place to start. But things went sideways along the way in this very artificial coconut and pineapple flavored “Mai Tai.” Sadly, we couldn’t finish the can, so we can’t recommend this.

More handcrafting is needed.

New Site Feature: Ready to Drink Mai Tais

The market for Ready to Drink (RTD) cocktails have trended upwards in recent years, offering a convenient alternative to beer and wine. RTDs are easy to prepare and consume, and are a worthwhile option for consuming cocktails away from home such as at the beach, camping, or on vacation. They also offer a convenient option at home, though their value is diminished at home since the quality is generally far less than from a freshly made cocktail.

Since the Mai Tai is a well-known cocktail, there are several Mai Tais on the RTD market.

View our recommendations on the new page: Ready to Drink Mai Tais

 

Boulevard Beverage Mai Tai Fling

Festivus was the other day and I was thinking that I didn’t really have any grievances to air. The next day I bought this terrible ready-to-drink “craft cocktail” Mai Tai, so let’s call this a late Festivus because I have a lot of problems with this cocktail.

Cans are 8% ABV, so quite a bit less than the Trader Vic’s and Cutwater canned Mai Tais that are in the same market segment. This one isn’t even all rum, since it contains both rum and “neutral spirits.” There is supposedly lime and orange, plus natural flavors and colors.

Does that color look natural?

It’s like Mountain Dew and a Midori Sour had a baby. And it got all the worse genes from each parent.

It is terrible. Like pour out the entire four-pack bad. It definitely would take “feats of strength” to finish one of these.

It doesn’t taste anything like a Mai Tai, and honestly it doesn’t taste like any “craft” cocktail I’ve ever had. Maybe it tastes like cheap Margarita mix and Vodka, so if those are your two favorite cocktail ingredients then maybe Mai Tai Fling will be your thing.

HARD PASS

Trader Vic’s Canned Mai Tai Available in 38 States

RTD is A-OK

Up an hour early today to take the dog in for surgery. Shitty week at work seeing how many colleagues are vax deniers. Then an hour wait to pick up the dog (she’s fine, but surgery wasn’t cheap). So it was a heck of a day.

So this tasty canned Mai Tai seemed like a great idea.

I purchased my canned Mai Tai at BevMo locally, but these are now available to order online and shipping to 38 states!

Order Now: drinktradervics.com