Peachtree Punch at Trader Vic’s

This is the signature cocktail for the Trader Vic’s in Atlanta but it tasted just fine at the Emeryville location with dinner. The cocktail contains light rum, canned peaches, orange juice, and cream of coconut, blended, and garnished with a peach slice and mint.

The good news is that in the frozen format this doesn’t come off as too sweet and also not too heavy on the peaches either. Very approachable for newbie cocktail drinkers and a good example of the variety of cocktails on the Trader Vic’s menu. Sure, some of us might like heavy and boozy drinks like a Navy Grog or a Zombie. But cocktails like this one are great options for others, and there’s even a “Peachtree No Punch” available without rum.

Sven Kirsten The Tahitian Mug Release at Trader Vic’s

The Tahitian is the second of a series of mug/book bundles from Book of Tiki author Sven Kirsten, produced in conjunction with Tiki Farm and Trader Vic’s. The previous Tiki Portraits release was The Modernist tiki (2021) but the Tahitian is a more traditional style mug. Though, as Kirsten documents in the book, the style and proportions of the Trader Vic’s Tahitian tiki was actually a modern interpretation by artist Ahlo Leon of an older style tiki. The 60 page book is a fascinating read adorned with myriad historical color photographs and images.

The hefty mug produced by Tiki Farm comes in a single glaze, perhaps to avoid the FOMO frenzy that became associated with the multiple glazes of The Modernist. It fits well in the hand and is not improperly balanced despite being top-heavy.

The event at Trader Vic’s Emeryville on Friday consisted of a mug and book signing by Kirsten and some cocktails available at the Cook Room’s bar. The Anana Mango Punch being selected by Kirsten for this event. We didn’t try but heard from others it was a delightful mango-forward cocktail.

Retail price for the book and mug bundle was $120 + tax, and I’d expect any unsold inventory to be available at future events hosted by Kirsten in Southern California and in the Trader Vic’s online store.

Kirsten says that the third in the series is expected sometime next year.

Out Of This World: A Deep Draught into the Woman Who Named the Mai Tai

David Bartell has posted a new video that’s an incredible deep dive biography of Carrie Guild, the woman who named the Mai Tai (or perhaps the wife of the person who named the Mai Tai). Bartell is a longtime contributor to the Search for the Ultimate Mai Tai, providing Mai Tai reviews back on the original site and contributing the circa-1999 essay “Famous Dirty Stinkers” which is still available.

Here’s the description of Bartell’s video essay:

“Maita’i roa ae! Out of this world, the best!” That’s the legendary phrase that gave the Mai Tai its name, according to Trader Vic. The toast was made by a friend, Carrie Guild, who with her husband Eastham were visiting from Tahiti.

Many of you already know that version of the story, but just who was this woman, and what do we know about the context of her gastronomic enthusiasm? Quite a lot!

In this video you will explore uncharted details about the circumstances surrounding the origin of the Mai Tai cocktail, while sailing around the world with the Guilds. If you read the companion article in the November 2023 issue of Exotica Moderne, get ready for an even deeper dive and a few little surprises for tiki afficionados.

You might catch a cameo of someone familiar toward the end of the video.

Orgeat Heavy Mai Tai Monday

The Mai Tai was made with Yes Cocktail Co. Orgeat and I ended up using a full ounce just to kill the bottle. I bought this a few months back and found it produced some very good Mai Tais, a little sweeter and less toasted than the more widely available Liber Orgeat and a bit milkier than brands like Latitude 29 Orgeat. This is available at craft liquor stores and is a really good option.

I didn’t use any demerara/rock candy syrup in the Mai Tai seeing how there was already plenty of sugar from the orgeat. When you go heavy on the orgeat it really produces a floral Mai Tai. Rums were Myers’s Dark and a bit of Rhum JM Blanc. Delicious.

The glass is from Trader Vic’s, celebrating the company’s founding back in 1934. We will also be celebrating the 80th anniversary of the Mai Tai this year. Look for a huge promotional push as the official Mai Tai Day in late August approaches with events at the Trader Vic’s locations. Bay Area folks should be prepared for an expanded set of Mai Tai Day festivities at the Vic’s Emeryville location this year. Stay tuned.

Fog Cutter Friday: Leverage at Trader Vic’s Emeryville

We had a great dinner at Trader Vic’s last Saturday celebrating our friend’s birthday (the venue was her choice, but twist our arms to have dinner at Vic’s). Drinks at the bar before being seated an then a wonderful dinner. I had the Beef and Reef for the first time, a delightful bowl with shrimp and steak. We also ordered the decadent Mai Tai Crème Brûlée that was amazing.

Mrs. Mai Tai and the birthday girl ordered dueling Fog Cutters and Mrs. Mai Tai found the point of leverage on the mug. Never hurts to have a little extra to grip onto.

Mai Tai Monday at Trader Vic’s Emeryville

This was the fantastic Original Mai Tai that I had at Trader Vic’s Emeryville  a couple weeks back.

Did you know that 2024 is the 80th anniversary of the creation of the Mai Tai, and the 90th of the Trader Vic’s restaurant franchise? The 90th anniversary logo on the Mai Tai glass looks really sharp.

Look for a lot of discussion about this into the spring and of course for the annual Mai Tai Day celebration in late August.

Satisfying Salmon Bowl and Cocktails at Trader Vic’s San Jose Airport

I’m traveling to Seattle for business next week and it’s always nice to fly out of San Jose to have lunch before the flight at Trader Vic’s Outpost at San Jose Airport. The Teriyaki Salmon Bowl here is really great, including mango, edamame, carrots, and avocado.

The signature cocktail for this Vic’s location is the Pilo Pilo, which is served in the mug they made just for this location. The recipe isn’t out there for this cocktail but I tried to watch them make it and it seems like it has lime juice, pineapple juice, passionfruit syrup, Vic’s grog concentrate, dark rum, gold rum, and 151 rum. It is a pretty good cocktail, though I was the only one at the bar drinking Vic’s cocktails as others were defaulting to common drinks like Margaritas or just choosing beer and wine.

Salmon Bowl and Pilo Pilo

There’s a scant amount of premium rum at this location, including things like Zaya and Brugal which are sweetened and not really my thing. But there’s a very nice Mount Gay Master Select 1703 from Barbados. This is a blend of rums aged from 10-30 years and issued at 43% ABV, so it is very easy to drink but still has a fine blend of Barbados rum flavors. The price isn’t bad, $22. Wish they had a few more premiums to go along with the bottles of bourbon and Scotch on the back bar.