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Tiki Central Forums Tiki Drinks and Food Updates to The Mai-Kai Cocktail Guide on The Atomic Grog
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Updates to The Mai-Kai Cocktail Guide on The Atomic Grog
AdOrAdam
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Joined: Jun 16, 2013
Posts: 630
From: Wolverhampton, UK
Posted: 2016-03-17 07:44 am   Permalink

Well... that's a surprise!

I wonder if there is a reason for this?


 
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Hurricane Hayward
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Joined: Jun 07, 2008
Posts: 1399
From: 16 miles from The Mai-Kai
Posted: 2016-03-17 09:54 am   Permalink

Adam: They seem to be fine without cinnamon syrup, so I don't think it's as big a deal to The Mai-Kai as it is to some of us :>0

The question I would like to answer is whether this has been the case since Day 1, when the Don the Beachcomber cocktails were reformulated by Mariano Licudine and Bob Thornton. Or were the recipes streamlined some years later?

From what I understand, owner Dave Levy keeps Marino's notebook containing the original recipes locked in his office. He often refers to it when making sure the cocktails are being made correctly. However, he probably has Mariano's notebook from 1979, when he retired. The recipes may have been different in 1956. And, of course, they're all in code. I've heard talk of older notebooks in possession of the Licudine family. So perhaps one day we'll have more info.

That's not to say that small changes aren't made to certain recipes. I just ran across another significant tweak that I'll be posting here soon. But a change like removing cinnamon syrup from a dozen recipes was probably done decades ago (under Mariano's watch), or maybe it was never there to begin with.

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[ This Message was edited by: Hurricane Hayward 2016-03-17 09:59 ]


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Tonga Tiki
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Joined: Nov 14, 2006
Posts: 184
From: The Tonga Lounge in Safety Harbor, FL
Posted: 2016-03-23 7:39 pm   Permalink

Hurricane,
In the research you did for the Jet Pilot Tribute you mention that Kohala Bay Rum combined with some other ingredients gives of a cinnamon type flavor. Do you still think that this maybe the mystery cinnamon syrup?

[ This Message was edited by: Tonga Tiki 2016-03-23 19:40 ]


 
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Hurricane Hayward
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Joined: Jun 07, 2008
Posts: 1399
From: 16 miles from The Mai-Kai
Posted: 2016-03-23 7:55 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2016-03-23 19:39, Tonga Tiki wrote:
Hurricane,
In the research you did for the Jet Pilot Tribute you mention that Kohala Bay Rum combined with some other ingredients gives of a cinnamon type flavor. Do you still think that this maybe the mystery cinnamon syrup?



Tonga, yes for sure. I removed cinnamon from the Jet Pilot recipe a while ago when I realized it was just an illusion. The rum/honey/bitters combination probably has a lot to do with that.


 
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heylownine
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Joined: Oct 05, 2008
Posts: 912
From: Agoura Hills, CA
Posted: 2016-03-26 2:41 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2016-03-17 09:54, Hurricane Hayward wrote:
Adam: They seem to be fine without cinnamon syrup, so I don't think it's as big a deal to The Mai-Kai as it is to some of us :>0

The question I would like to answer is whether this has been the case since Day 1, when the Don the Beachcomber cocktails were reformulated by Mariano Licudine and Bob Thornton. Or were the recipes streamlined some years later?

From what I understand, owner Dave Levy keeps Marino's notebook containing the original recipes locked in his office. He often refers to it when making sure the cocktails are being made correctly. However, he probably has Mariano's notebook from 1979, when he retired. The recipes may have been different in 1956. And, of course, they're all in code. I've heard talk of older notebooks in possession of the Licudine family. So perhaps one day we'll have more info.

That's not to say that small changes aren't made to certain recipes. I just ran across another significant tweak that I'll be posting here soon. But a change like removing cinnamon syrup from a dozen recipes was probably done decades ago (under Mariano's watch), or maybe it was never there to begin with.

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[ This Message was edited by: Hurricane Hayward 2016-03-17 09:59 ]



Yeah, I agree - while the "no cinnamon syrup is used today" is interesting, the question of whether it ever was used at the Mai Kai is arguably *more* interesting. It's well-established that these guys tweaked their recipes often. And with such a direct link to Don's original recipes, I'd love to know if Mariano left cinnamon out when he originally reformulated the recipes for use at the Mai Kai.

kevin
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mmaurice
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Joined: Feb 25, 2015
Posts: 87
Posted: 2016-03-29 6:37 pm   Permalink

What about your tribute recipe to the Zombie??

Any changes to it given the lack of cinnamon syrup?



 
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Hurricane Hayward
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Joined: Jun 07, 2008
Posts: 1399
From: 16 miles from The Mai-Kai
Posted: 2016-04-03 10:50 am   Permalink

Quote:
On 2016-03-29 18:37, mmaurice wrote:
What about your tribute recipe to the Zombie??

Any changes to it given the lack of cinnamon syrup?



Sorry about the slow pace of the updates. The plan for the Zombie tribute is to just drop the Don's Mix and add 1/2 ounce of grapefruit juice. Tastes pretty much the same since the amount of cinnamon is so small.

More updates coming soon!


 
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AdOrAdam
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Joined: Jun 16, 2013
Posts: 630
From: Wolverhampton, UK
Posted: 2016-04-03 12:37 pm   Permalink

Hi HH

Im slowly getting round to the idea of no cinnamon syrup being used at the Mai Kai... but slowly!

Here's my thoughts:

On one hand:

Why omit it?

Cinnamon syrup was such a staple of DTBs ingredients cupboard. Did Mario not know it?

I just flicked through the Tiki+ app, actually few other people used it.

How did it make it in to other drinks by tiki bartenders (eg Steve Cranes Jet Pilot)?

On the other hand:

Maybe it's Mario Luciones personal style.

Looking at it now, it seems like Mario Lucine's signature ingredients were fassionola / passionfruit / honey mix / Dons Spices #2 & cold brew coffee.

These ingredients bring to my mind Mai Kai staples like the Jet Pilot / Rum Barrel / SOS / Yeomans Grog / Black Magic...

(It's funny that I think of Dons Spices #2 as a Mai Kai ingredient but there you go).

On the third hand:

Was it a sign of the times?

Were fruitier, richer drinks in vogue in the late 50s / 60s, is the Mai Kai this done right?

What do you think?



 
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CincyTikiCraig
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Joined: Mar 31, 2009
Posts: 417
From: Cincinnati, Ohio USA
Posted: 2016-04-03 8:37 pm   Permalink

Wow, my jaw literally dropped when I read your post.

What are your thoughts about your tribute to the Mai Kai's Black Magic?


 
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arriano
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Joined: Jun 13, 2006
Posts: 1422
From: San Diego
Posted: 2016-04-04 09:14 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2016-04-03 12:37, AdOrAdam wrote:
How did it make it in to other drinks by tiki bartenders (eg Steve Cranes Jet Pilot)?




If memory serves, the Jet Pilot has the exact same ingredients as the original Don the Beachcomber Zombie, just different measurements.


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Limbo Lizard
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Joined: Aug 24, 2006
Posts: 777
From: Aboard the 'Leaky Tiki', Dallas
Posted: 2016-04-04 11:53 am   Permalink

The flavor of cinnamon is quite prominent in Angostura Aromatic Bitters (and even more so in Fee Bros. Old Fashioned Aromatic Bitters). Put a couple dashes in 2 or 3 ounces of water, and not only can you taste it, you'll feel a little cinnamon burn on your tongue. Just mentioning, in case it might account for the hint of cinnamon in some cocktails, even though no cinnamon syrup was used.
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AdOrAdam
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Joined: Jun 16, 2013
Posts: 630
From: Wolverhampton, UK
Posted: 2016-04-04 1:10 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2016-04-04 09:14, arriano wrote:
Quote:

On 2016-04-03 12:37, AdOrAdam wrote:
How did it make it in to other drinks by tiki bartenders (eg Steve Cranes Jet Pilot)?


If memory serves, the Jet Pilot has the exact same ingredients as the original Don the Beachcomber Zombie, just different measurements.


Yes (minus grenadine) but searching on the Tiki+ app for cinnamon or Dons Mix not a lot else came up!


 
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Hurricane Hayward
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Joined: Jun 07, 2008
Posts: 1399
From: 16 miles from The Mai-Kai
Posted: 2016-04-08 11:17 am   Permalink

I wouldn't fret too much about the lack of cinnamon syrup in the cocktails at The Mai-Kai. They obviously taste just fine as they are. And you're free to keep using the recipes I've posted with cinnamon, though I plan to also post updates of them all. The one I was actually worried about was the Shrunken Skull, but that's fine without cinnamon. I'll post that update next.

As for some of the comments above:

AdOrAdam: "Why omit it?" I'm sure Mariano knew about it, but there could be many reasons. It could have been an attempt to streamline the recipes, either when he created them or perhaps later when he retired. I have a hunch that it was never there, but perhaps one day we'll have a closer look at his old notebooks to know for sure. The other thing to remember is he made quite a few changes to Don's recipes, at the owner's direction.

I'm told by current owner Dave Levy that his stepfather, Bob Thornton, worked closely with Mariano in tweaking and adapting (and renaming) Don's recipes when they opened The Mai-Kai. That explains why the S.O.S. is so different from Thee Dots and a Dash, among others. As you point out, Mariano had his own personal style and if you drink at The Mai-Kai enough you'll pick up some of the same things in many of the drinks (honey, Pernod, Angostura, allspice, falernum, etc.). Perhaps he thought cinnamon was just unnecessary. He also had his own codes and names for things to differentiate the recipes from Don's. Swanky has seen a few old recipes, which contain things we've never seen before (like "#7"). I hope to go into these distinctions more in the future if we can ever crack those codes.

As for the question about "fruitier, richer drinks in vogue in the late '50s / 60s," this may be the case toward the late '60s and into the '70s, but I think The Mai-Kai operated with its own agenda and didn't follow trends. As a tourist mecca, they had to please a different palate than, say, the Don the Beachcomber in L.A. that was frequented mainly by regulars. The Mai-Kai being dependent on tourists had to have a menu that pleased everyone, and rich/fruity cocktails played into this. There were also plenty of strong options for those tastes too. But in general it seems like Mariano took Don's recipes and made them more accessible, which I've pointed out in quite a few reviews.

CincyTikiCraig: I've been working on the Black Magic. Revised recipe coming soon. Don't worry, it doesn't suffer at all :>)

Re the Jet Pilot, I haven't made it with cinnamon since the early tribute recipes. The two Test Pilot recipes I cite don't use it either, though they both feature Angostura. As Limbo Lizard points out, that can sometimes give the illusion of cinnamon, especially when combined with rich syrups.

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Hurricane Hayward
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Joined: Jun 07, 2008
Posts: 1399
From: 16 miles from The Mai-Kai
Posted: 2016-04-08 11:41 am   Permalink

Just announced: The Atomic Grog celebrates its fifth anniversary!



Skinny Jimmy will be playing three sets: 7 p.m., 8 p.m. and 9 p.m.

In between sets, Jimmy and I will be spinning our favorite instro surf, exotica and retro tunes. We'll be previewing The Hukilau with sets from the artists performing at the event in June. We'll also be giving away several four-day Aloha Passes for The Hukilau, along with perhaps some other goodies.

Drink specials: The K.O. Cooler and Tahitian Breeze are the regular Saturday specials (half-price all night). We're also adding the Yeoman's Grog, which isn't featured on any other nights. And Kern Mattei has agreed to roll out a "lost cocktail" for us, but only between 6 and 7 p.m. I chose one of my favorites: the Demerara Float. Get there early to have a taste of this classic made for the first time with Hamilton 151.

More details to come.

[ This Message was edited by: Hurricane Hayward 2016-04-09 11:31 ]


 
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AdOrAdam
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Joined: Jun 16, 2013
Posts: 630
From: Wolverhampton, UK
Posted: 2016-04-08 12:41 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2016-04-08 11:17, Hurricane Hayward wrote:

I wouldn't fret too much about the lack of cinnamon syrup in the cocktails at The Mai-Kai. They obviously taste just fine as they are...

It could have been an attempt to streamline the recipes...

But in general it seems like Mariano took Don's recipes and made them more accessible, which I've pointed out in quite a few reviews...


I've gotta say I just love it as a little 'Mai Kai qwirk' - we'll never know why cinnamon syrup is absent. I'm still keeping it in my 'home bar' Mai Kai esq recipes!

Congrats to five years creating your Atomic Grog blog - I've got to say my drinking experience has been enriched by your tribute recipes to the point I rank it up there with Beachbum Berry Remixed.

'Tiki' would be lessened without it!

If I had the airfare & time I'd be there - I'll raise a drink to you from across the pond

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