Atahi A Kai Mug by Reesenik for Trader Vic’s

Fun time at Trader Vic’s last night for a little informal discussion with Matt Reese (Reesenik) and Chris Shima who recently designed mugs for Trader Vic’s. There was a little panel discussion with the artists and you could purchase a mug. Trader Vic’s has been partnering with artists for a few years now and while some of the previous products were hand-crafted, limited edition, and expensive, these were more affordable but still very nice for the price/scale of production. The Kia’i mug from Shima is in the Trader Vic’s online store and I’d expect the Reesenik mug to be there any day.

I was really interested in this unusual design of Atahi A Kai mug that’s so easy to hold in the hand and is so thin it’s only about 15 oz, which means you can fill with a normal drink and not have five times more ice than you normally would. I picked one up and you can see Matt posing with his work.

We also got to see a sneak preview of the movie Cabali & the Tiki Mug Obsession with the director Josh Dragotta and the subject of the movie Doug “Fini” Finical (co-owner of the new Cabali tiki bar in Tuscon). This documentary includes interviews with numerous mug makers and tiki bar owners and is on track for a release later in 2024.

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

The Warehouse Barrel Mug

We had a nice lunch at the world famous Warehouse in Marina Del Rey. We enjoy the grand spectacle of this elaborately themed restaurant. We keep hearing this place will close sometime soon, so we made sure to have at least one more visit.

The waterfront views weren’t stellar thanks to overcast skies, though a few brave souls did eat out on the patio.

There was a mixup from the cocktail menu, where if you order the Barrel of Rum you keep the mug, and the Loaded Cargo where you keep a mug too. I ordered the latter but it came without a mug, since they’re out. The waiter apologized for not mentioning it after I asked about the mug, but noted the price is lower. It was just okay on a sliding scale.

As I left the venue I noticed they had a bunch of the barrel mugs, which of course I would have ordered had I known the situation. But I did walk away with a mug, thanks to the waiter and understanding bar staff.

We went outside to feed the fish and turtles, and review the tropical ambiance outside. Sure wish this place would continue to stay in business.

Trader Vic’s Mugs

For Tiki Mug Monday, we’re looking at mugs Trader Vic’s, the home of the Mai Tai. They’ve had so many iconic mugs over the years, but these are our favorites.

  • Maori Haka, based off the totem in Trader Vic’s Emeryville. I also like the white variant.

  • Seahorse – the drink they serve the Seyhorse cocktail in, not sure which spelling is preferred

  • Marquesan Drum – great on top of the bar to store mint, garnishes, straws

  • Coconut Cup – fine for any drink

  • The Modernist – produced in 2021 in conjunction with a book from Sven Kirsten

And my personal fave? The Seyhorse with handy spines to grip the mug!

Which is your favorite?

Woody Miller Mug Release at Wilfred’s Lounge

Fantastic new mug from Woody Miller made in the likeness of his huge carving at Wilfred’s Lounge in Napa.



We didn’t do the signature cocktail but it seemed like it was well received by those in attendance. Wilfred’s made it easy to buy a mug with lunch and Woody signed the mug and posed for photos with good cheer. Another fantastic mug release for Wilfred’s in Napa.

I always feel great when I get a woody.

The Kon-Tiki Mug by Woody Miller

Finally made it out to Oaktown to pickup one of these beautiful Kon-Tiki mugs by Woody Miller. These are available at The Kon-Tiki Room in a green glaze but I was more than happy to pick up this wood glaze at the original Kon-Tiki on Webster street.

I really like this design, including the Kon-Tiki logo on the back. I’m a fan of wood glazes and though my personal preference probably lies towards glossy glazes, I never mind when this matte style is used to mimic wood. Cheers to Woody for another excellent mug.

You can also purchase the mug in combo with Kon-Tiki’s very fine Worthy Park Special Barrel rum release. In fact, the Kon-Tiki has a plethora of merchandise options including glasses, shirts, and even bottles of rum to take home. Vintage LPs are barter only.

Groovy Greg by Tiki Maniacs

Had to splurge a little on this fun mug from Tiki Maniacs and designed by Dave “Squid” Cohen. The mug comes with a surfboard and a small poster print that features an original cocktail recipe from Kelly Merrell of Trader Sam’s.

The mug celebrates the central dramatic figure of the best three part miniseries in television history. Believe it or not, it is the 50th Anniversary of this epic event – the Brady Bunch goes to Hawaii. The mug even has Greg Brady’s signature stolen tabu tiki.

The mug is really big, so large that it actually dwarfs Greg Brady himself.

Groovy Greg from Tiki Maniacs