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Tiki Central Forums Tiki Drinks and Food The infamous Mai Tai court case
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The infamous Mai Tai court case
TikiTacky
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Nov 23, 2010
Posts: 965
From: Colorado
Posted: 2013-10-02 10:57 am   Permalink

Does anyone know anything about the infamous court case in 1970 that supposedly settled the argument of who invented Mai Tai? All I can find is people citing that it happened and that Vic won, but I can't find any details on it. It almost feels like an urban legend.
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thePorpoise
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Joined: Jan 23, 2011
Posts: 1078
From: Tampa Bay
Posted: 2013-10-02 11:22 am   Permalink

when i search "mai tai" i'm only getting links to cases involving sexual harassment, or dui...

 
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TropicDrinkBoy
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Joined: Feb 27, 2011
Posts: 270
Posted: 2013-10-02 4:49 pm   Permalink

It was settled out of court, besides, anyone who doesn't believe that Trader Vic invented the Mai Tai is a dirty stinker!

 
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TikiTacky
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Nov 23, 2010
Posts: 965
From: Colorado
Posted: 2013-10-03 10:44 am   Permalink

I couldn't find anything on an out of court settlement either. Only that Yul Brenner settled out of court in the 70s after he sued TV's for getting trichinosis from the spare ribs!
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lunavideogames
Grand Member (2 years)  

Joined: May 09, 2012
Posts: 924
From: San Diego
Posted: 2013-10-03 11:29 am   Permalink

Vic may have invented it (by stealing Donn's recipe) but Don The Beachcomber's Mai Tai tastes better.

 
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AceExplorer
Grand Member (2 years)  

Joined: Apr 03, 2008
Posts: 633
From: Deep in the Jacksonville Florida jungle.
Posted: 2013-10-03 11:54 am   Permalink

Ahhhh, fightin' words!

 
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djmont
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Joined: Aug 03, 2011
Posts: 260
From: Potomac Falls, VA
Posted: 2013-10-03 12:17 pm   Permalink

DTB served a drink at one time called a Mai Tai -- but it was nothing like the one Vic served. DTB also served a drink called the QB Cooler that tasted kinda like a Mai Tai -- but had completely different ingredients.

So although DTB liked to claim he invented it, there's really no reason to think he actually did.

The Zombie, on the other hand, was all Don's.
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TikiTacky
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Joined: Nov 23, 2010
Posts: 965
From: Colorado
Posted: 2013-10-03 1:15 pm   Permalink

Semantics, I think. Donn did invent the Mai Tai in 1933, but in name only. His claim was technically accurate.
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Sunny&Rummy
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Joined: Jun 13, 2013
Posts: 367
From: Melbourne, FL
Posted: 2013-10-03 1:50 pm   Permalink

But that early Donn Beach cocktail was no longer on the menu within a few short years. A claim that that early drink that happened to have 'Mai Tai' in the name had anything to do with the original TV Mai Tai is very tenuous.

 
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AdOrAdam
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Joined: Jun 16, 2013
Posts: 301
From: Wolverhampton, UK
Posted: 2013-10-03 2:40 pm   Permalink

My understanding (from Sippin Safari & Beachbum Berry Remixed) is:

Sun-Vac Corporation licenced the Don the Beachcomber name to put on their premixes, including a Mai Tai one. In 1970 Vic sued them & they settled out of court.

Hope that helps begin to answer your question TikiTacky!



Regarding the similarity of the Mai Tai Swizzle (1933), QB Cooler (1937) & & Mai Tai (1944):

Beachbum Berry Remixed says it best, regardless of anything else, Trader Vics recipe is the mai tai ~ it's the one that made the name famous.

It's been a while since I compared them, in order of preference, my Tiki+ app notes for the 3 say:

1 - Mai Tai - good, dependant on the rums ~ play around.
2 - Mai Tai Swizzle - Ok, like a fruitier sort of Mai Tai.
3 - QB Cooler - Ok, could be further tweaked.

IMO comparing the 3 is a bit like comparing a diaquiri / caprihna / ti punch or Pina Colada / Painkiller / Coconut - i.e. they have similarities & similar ingredients but they are different - try them all & then have what you fancy!


 
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TropicDrinkBoy
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 27, 2011
Posts: 270
Posted: 2013-10-03 2:48 pm   Permalink

Plus Donn's drink was named the Mai Tai Swizzle. Trader Vic's Mai Tai has completely different ingredients, tastes very different (and far better), is not swizzled and was born 10 years and 650 miles from Donn Beach's failed cocktail.

If anyone really thinks Trader Vic was in the habit of copying Donn's drinks make the Zombie recipe printed in the Trader Vic 1944 Life Magazine article. It tastes nothing like Donn's Zombies (any variation) and is the worst Zombie I've ever had. Besides the Zombie, do you see any other Donn the Beachcomber drinks on Trader Vic's menu?

Donn's Mai Tai Swizzle lasted only a short while on his menu and was not popular. Of the 70 plus drinks Donn created it may be that the QB Cooler tastes closest to a Trader Vic Mai Tai, just chance. If you've had any experience making hundreds of cocktail recipes you will always encounter similarities between them. There is no doubt that Trader Vic created the Mai Tai that took the world by storm. It's simpler and tastes far better than either the Mai Tai Swizzle or the QB Cooler. That Donn would try to lay claim to that Mai Tai is just sad.

[ This Message was edited by: TropicDrinkBoy 2013-10-03 14:50 ]


 
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AdOrAdam
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Joined: Jun 16, 2013
Posts: 301
From: Wolverhampton, UK
Posted: 2013-10-03 3:05 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2013-10-03 14:48, TropicDrinkBoy wrote:
Besides the Zombie, do you see any other Donn the Beachcomber drinks on Trader Vic's menu?



I've seen different Navy Grog recipes credited to Don & Vic ~ Dons version contains honey mix, Vics version contains pimento dram?
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TropicDrinkBoy
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 27, 2011
Posts: 270
Posted: 2013-10-03 4:53 pm   Permalink

Winner! That's the only other one. I was just testing you! Ha ha!

The more pertinent question is "Did Trader Vic ever claim to have created the Navy Grog?" Instead of making unfounded claims he heaped accolades on Donn Beach in his "Ode to Rum" (on the back of his vintage cocktail menus) and even wrote in his autobiography of buying some decor from him. The Trader gave credit where credit was due so you can be sure when he says he created the Mai Tai that it was his own creation.

[ This Message was edited by: TropicDrinkBoy 2013-10-03 17:13 ]


 
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Kill Devil
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 16, 2011
Posts: 222
From: Chicago
Posted: 2013-10-04 07:03 am   Permalink

Wasn't the Mai Tai lawsuit during a period where Donn was already forced out of the stateside DTBs by his ex-wife? Did the actual Donn have any involvement?

 
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djmont
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 03, 2011
Posts: 260
From: Potomac Falls, VA
Posted: 2013-10-04 07:48 am   Permalink

That's right. DTB hadn't owned the restaurants (except in Hawaii) since the 40's. Sunny was the boss.
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