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.

Regional Differences with Trader Vic’s Ready to Drink Mai Tais

Ready to drink Mai Tais are popular in tourist locations, so there’s no surprise to see one from Trader Vic’s alongside those from Koloa, Kō Hana, Cutwater, and more. But this Trader Vic’s Mai Tai is different from the canned Mai Tai available on the mainland.

Hawai’i Mai Tai
200 ml, 9.95% ABV, “Made with rum and orange liqueur,” made by World Spirits Ltd.

Mainland Mai Tai
12 oz/355 ml, 10% ABV, “Made with aged rum, lime juice, cane sugar, and natural flavors,” made by Iguazu Company LLC.

The Hawaiian version is richer and much more syrupy, though not unpleasant. There are hints of maple syrup and fruit. The mainland version has a darker color and a significantly lighter mouthfeel, with hints of almond and rum. Neither particularly tastes like a Mai Tai, though notably neither veers off into pineapple or coconut flavors.

Quality wise, these are about the same – not as good as the more expensive craft cocktail brands such as Kō Hana, Small Hand, or Proof Cocktail Co, but way better than most canned Mai Tais especially Cutwater.

The Mai Tai in Hawaii started in an unusual way, due to territorial rights to the Trader Vic’s name. Interesting to see this regional difference still manifests itself with these two very different Trader Vic’s RTDs.

Hawaiian Airlines “Signature” Mai Tai

Looking at the menu of cocktails on our Hawaiian Airlines flight back home I could see that the Daiquiri, Aviation, and Old Fashioned were from well-known ready-to-drink cocktail suppliers. But the Mai Tai, not listed as being from either On the Rocks or from Kō Hana. You’d think the “Signature” Mai Tai would be something different, but in the back of my mind I guessed it would be from one of the brands already on the menu. That wouldn’t be a bad thing, since both On the Rocks and Kō Hana Mai Tais are pretty good RTD Mai Tais.

So, I ordered the Mai Tai and it was… On the Rocks.

Not sure why Hawaiian Airlines can’t just say this, but you could do far worse for an airplane cocktail.

Update

We were told by a reader that Hawaiian Airlines is in the process of switching from On the Rocks to Kō Hana, which explains the ambiguity as they wind down inventory.

Kō Hana Hawaiian Agricole Mai Tai

This Mai Tai is part of a line of bottled cocktails from O’ahu’s Kō Hana rum distillery. We’re fans of their rum products and this cocktail line is starting to become available outside the islands. I picked mine up at Bitters and Bottles. Retail price is around $15.

In terms of overall taste, the Kō Hana Mai Tai’s most pronounced taste and bouquet is coming from the stellar Hawaiian Rum Agricole. This rum is distilled from cane juice and has a savory and sweet taste that’s different from rums distilled from molasses. There are also tangy citrus flavors and some light fruity flavors, but I’m not getting a lot of orange or almond like you’d expect from a traditional Mai Tai. But I’m also not picking up much pineapple or coconut, so in that respect this bottled Mai Tai is already a lot better than most.

Kō Hana recommends this served over ice and I found it to be noticeably better in this format. It comes in at a hefty 22% ABV, which means that 375 bottle is best for a couple people. Throw a pineapple or umbrella in the drink and take a Hawaiian vacation.

This is one of the better bottled Mai Tais. If you love rums made from cane juice, Kō Hana’s Mai Tai is truly outstanding.

Mai Tai Crafted with Myers’s Rum / Original Cocktails by Heublein

Issued at 20% ABV and sold in this great looking flask-style bottle, I so wanted to like the Mai Tai made with Myers’s Original Dark Rum from Jamaica. But there are no other ingredients listed, which should have been the key warning sign.

Does it taste anything like a Mai Tai? Not even close.

It tastes like an artificially flavored Fuzzy Navel, with a conspicuous peach-forward taste.

I barely took two sips before pouring it out and reaching into the fridge for one of the Trader Vic’s canned Mai Tais that I have stashed there. So much better.