Trader Vic’s held a release event for the first in a series of mugs and books from Sven Kirsten in collaboration with Tiki Farm and Eve Bergeron from Trader Vic’s.
The event last night was very well run, with early arrivals given a numbered ticket for their place in line. So, rather than sit in a long line outdoors for over an hour, we got to enjoy the Trader Vic’s lounge. Much better for everyone.
I’ll be honest, when I first saw this mug I was not in love. The primitive and impressionist design for the mug was based on an early tiki that framed the entrance to the San Francisco Trader Vic’s location. The book goes into some detail about this style of artwork, and as always Kirsten puts the artwork in context of the time. Though the book is only 50 pages, there are lots of great photos and it’s a perfect size to learn more about the art that inspired the mug.
The mug was available in two glazes. I chose Sven’s glaze, but the darker Trader Vic’s glaze was very nice as well. In addition to the mug and the book, a drink ticket for a cocktail was provided. Attendees could choose Sven’s recommendation, the Tortuga, or a Mai Tai or Navy Grog. I went with Sven’s recommendation and boy that Tortuga does pack a punch.
My understanding is that Sven will be selling mugs/books at some upcoming events in Southern California. Check his Facebook for updates.
I finally picked up Trader Vic’s iconic Suffering Bastard mug, aka Mai Tai Joe. They threw this in for free on a recent promotional offer, so it pays to get onto Trader Vic’s mailing list.
Earlier this year I purchased the entire line of minified Trader Vic’s mugs, including a tiny Mai Tai Joe. In either format, this is an iconic mug.
The Trader Vic’s Suffering Bastard cocktail is different from the historical cocktail created by Joe Scialom in Cairo during WWII. It is basically a boozier version of the Mai Tai, but garnished with a cucumber peel.
Suffering Bastard (1970s) 3 oz Trader Vic’s Mai Mix 1 oz Light Puerto Rican Rum 2 oz Rhum St. James
This is from the 1972 Trader Vic’s Bartender’s Guide and the Trader Vic’s Rum Cookery and Drinkery (1974). Contemporaneous Mai Tai recipes called for 2 ounces of Mai Tai Mix with 2 ounces of Trader Vic’s Mai Tai rum. Which is to say that if you made a Suffering Bastard from scratch you’d just use more of the lime, orgeat, curaçao, and sugar, and then just use three ounces of rum rather than two.
Also noteworthy: Trader Vic specifically calling for Rhum St James, a Rhum Agricole, in a recipe that’s basically a Mai Tai.
Suffering Bastard (2005) 3 oz Trader Vic’s Mai Tai Mix ½ oz Lime Juice 2 oz Dark Rum 1 oz Silver Rum Garnish with Cucumber Peel, Mint Sprig, and spent Lime shell.
This is the recipe in the Trader Vic’s Tiki Party book. Once again you basically have a Mai Tai made one-third larger, though this time it calls for more traditional Dark and Silver rums.
I picked up this very cool Book of Tiki 20th Anniversary Mug at the Shag Store in Palm Springs. The mug is huge – 30 ounces – to remind you of the gigantic Book of Tiki that inspired it. Such a cool design from Shag and Sven Kirsten, the author of the book.
Like many folks active in the tiki scene in the 1990s, we heard about The Book of Tiki for years before the release in 2000. Still a seminal book about the history of tiki bars, art, fashion, and more.
I paid $80 for this mug, in the orange glaze that’s part of the larger run of this mug. A far lower price than you’ll see online on eBay where it goes for over $100 and sometimes over $200!
Here is how you beat the flippers:
Drive 500 miles to Palm Springs (each way)
Refill gas tank several times ($90)
Have three meals a day on the road ($60-100 pp. x2)
Stay overnight in downtown Palm Springs hotel ($160+$35 resort fee/parking)
Buy mug and then walk to local tiki bar to celebrate ($20-40 pp., plus food)
So it’s easy to see how it is easy to beat the flippers. Look how much money I saved.
Love the book, love the artist, love the mug. It’s all okay.
This is a Woody Miller mug made for a local home bar. I was lucky to score one from the bar owners and it’s perfect for “Spooky Season” (a term that somehow I’ve missed until this year). This one is truly horrific.
The liquid inside is a secret elixir, known only to the creator.
Made for a special Zoom get together with the Forbidden Island local tiki Ohana tonight.
Blue Hawai-Tai by Kevin Crossman It’s like the Blue Hawaii and the Mai Tai had a baby. 1 oz Lemon Juice 1 oz White Overproof Jamaican Rum ½ oz Aged White Rum ½ oz Orgeat ½ oz Simple Syrup ½ oz Blue Curacao
And look! The incredible Eye of the Tiki mug from Vantiki has arrived. There have been plenty of things to be bummed about in 2020, but this mug and the fine folks behind Tiki-Kon are not one of them. This two-sided mug turned out great, and Justin and Greg of Tiki-Kon have handled everything so professionally and with love, including getting these mugs out very quickly. I couldn’t be happier with the mug.
For National Pina Colada day I prepared two cocktails with Cruzan Rum as the base. Mine was a Pina Colada with a float of Pussers rum, whereas Mrs. Mai Tai enjoyed her Pina Colada in the Forbidden Island “Chamborlada” style with Chambord Liqueur. Delish.
I love the new Mai Tai glass from Brian Rechenmacher – aka B-Rex. I had to make a Mai Tai with Smith & Cross rum, which is my go-to rum when Brian is behind the bar. He always makes the Mai Tai great with this rum (including my number 7 Mai Tai of 2019)
The new Mai Tai Glass patter is available in a traditional white color (ala Trader Vic’s) but I liked this Seafoam even better. Head over to The Art of Brian Rechenmacher website to pick up the glass and other B-Rex artwork, pins, etc.
The mug is B-Rex’s incredible Keahi mug, still one of my favorites.