Tip Top Proper Cocktails is Possibly the Best RTD Mai Tai

There’s a new entrant in the “Ready to Drink” Mai Tai market, so I was pleased when I received a four pack for review from Tip Top Proper Cocktails. Each single-serving can runs around $5 at retail when packaged in multipacks.

Each can is 100 ml, which means this is a little smaller than the average 1944 Mai Tai. But with 26% ABV, the ratio of rum, lime, orgeat, and orange curacao is set up quite well. The cocktail comes out of the can in a bright yellow color reminiscent of orange juice, but the fragrance indeed will remind the home bartender of fresh Mai Tais you’ve made at home. It is suggested to pour over ice or even to shake with ice and then pour over crushed ice.

Tip Top is a strong contender for best RTD Mai Tai. The mouthfeel is perfect and includes pleasant almond and rum flavors, tangy lime zest, and no artificial tasting notes. When paired with lime and mint for garnish, you’d hardly be aware this came from a can. The tagline for the company is “always balanced, never too sweet” and I agree this strikes a perfect balance.

It always sucks to review a terrible canned Mai Tai, but Tip Top knew they were playing from a position of strength when sending these samples. Definitely one of the best ready to go Mai Tais I’ve ever had.

The Mai Tai appears to be a limited release, though I hope this sells and they continue to market it. If you buy at tiptopcocktails.com through the end of May, 10% of proceeds from online sales will be donated to the Kokua Restaurant & Hospitality Fund, providing assistance to workers impacted by the Maui wildfires.

Post Meridiem Canned Mai Tai

Post Meridiem bills themselves as the world’s best ready-to-drink cocktails, and their Mai Tai is offered in a variety pack. These small cans with a high 25% ABV mean they’re much more like actual cocktails than RTDs that come in 12 oz cans.

The 1944 Mai Tai is certainly comparable to a cocktail, featuring 1½ oz rum, ¾ oz lime juice, ⅔ oz orange curacao, and ½ oz orgeat. There are some pleasant flavors here, though this doesn’t have any lingering mouthfeel like a freshly made Mai Tai would. Definitely boozy, but overall still feels very light.

The Mai Tai was loads better than the flat Margarita but I was surprised I liked the gin-based Southside and the Vodka Gimlet as both were clean and refreshing. All are light leaning but do taste good and aren’t a bad value for the amount of booze and overall flavor.

Thanks to local UMT fan Sean for giving me the heads-up about this.

Flying Embers Mai Tai and Tiki Pack

Flying Embers takes a unique approach to the canned cocktail market because the alcohol is based on fermented cane sugar and lime and not on a distilled spirit. It is supposedly aged in rum barrels, though I’m not sure how much different it makes.

The Mai Tai is bubbly and tasted a lot like a wine spritzer. There are hints of orange and almonds but overall this is a very light drink. ABV is 10%, low for an RTD Mai Tai. It isn’t really comparable to a Mai Tai generally, but certainly is more refreshing than some comparable products and doesn’t have any unpleasant flavors.

We bought this in a Tiki Variety pack. The Daiquiri was even lighter and tasted even more like wine, but I thought the Island Swizzle was the best of the bunch thanks to a very nice rum punch flavor.

Flying Embers products are available at Nob Hill and Raley’s grocery stores in the Bay Area and in other California locations. Thanks to local UMT fan Sean for giving me the heads-up about this.

Small Hand Cocktails Mai Tai Revisited

I took another run at the bottled Mai Tai from the craft cocktail arm of syrup company Small Hand Foods. 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 and I assure you it is not lacking in flavor or potency. The 200ml bottle is around $11 and serves two-ish cocktails.

The rich flavors of the Small Hand Cocktails Mai Tai is similar to a Mai Tai you might get at a craft cocktail or tiki bar, with an assertive flavor profile that balances the tart citrus notes and the bold rum from Hamilton. As such this is probably best suited for seasoned craft cocktail drinkers. Serving over ice and getting some dilution in the glass is strongly recommended, but I didn’t feel the need to add lime juice or anything else like I sometimes feel the need for with other RTD Mai Tais.

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.” Nonetheless, this does provide a very satisfactory Mai Tai that’s ready to drink anytime you want it.

These Small Hand Cocktails are available at Good Eggs and some Total Wine locations, plus discerning liquor stores, though I think this Mai Tai may be not as common and some of the other expressions in their line. I bought mine at Wine on Piedmont in Oakland.

Kō Hana Lilikoi Daiquiri

I previously reviewed the Kō Hana bottled Mai Tai and found it to be quite forward with Kō Hana’s delicious Hawaiian Agricole Rum. The bottled Lilikoi Daiquiri is a little less bold and a tad less sweet, but it still a high quality bottled cocktail.

At 22% ABV, this bottled Daiquiri is plenty boozy. It tastes good on it’s own, shaken with ice or served over ice, though it was better when I added a little Demerara Syrup just to sweeten it up a bit.

I previously made a similar Daiquiri using Kō Hana Kea rum and Small Hand Food’s excellent Passion Fruit Syrup. A fresh cocktail with bright lime and Kō Hana’s rum is superb.