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Updates to The Mai-Kai Cocktail Guide on The Atomic Grog
Hurricane Hayward
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Joined: Jun 07, 2008
Posts: 660
From: 16 miles from The Mai-Kai
Posted: 2014-05-08 3:59 pm   Permalink

Mahalo to Hale Tiki (Lucky the Painproof Man) and the crew at the Tiki Lounge in Pittsburgh for giving The Atomic Grog and The Mai-Kai some love with tonight's menu ...





https://www.facebook.com/tikiloungepgh


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lunavideogames
Grand Member (3 years)  

Joined: May 09, 2012
Posts: 1190
From: San Diego
Posted: 2014-05-09 6:27 pm   Permalink

Finally tried that Special Planters Punch recipe today. Thanks for the great recipe. Subbed out the Koala Bay for Havana Club 7 year. I hope that is an ok substitute.


 
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Hurricane Hayward
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Joined: Jun 07, 2008
Posts: 660
From: 16 miles from The Mai-Kai
Posted: 2014-05-09 11:09 pm   Permalink

I'm glad you enjoyed the recipe. A Jamaican dark rum is probably best, but Havana Club 7 is in the ballpark of Kohala Bay and won't change the taste much in this 1/2-ounce measurement.

I'm guessing that Cuban rum was common in the very early Mai-Kai cocktails. The Big Bamboo recipe in Sippin' Safari calls for it, and there was a Cuban Daiquiri on the 1956 menu. Owners Bob and Jack Thornton were known to take weekend jaunts to Cuba to enjoy the island's rum and nightlife.

Imagine how good even the most mild cocktails must have been with the original Havana Club or Cuban Bacardi as the well rum.

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[ This Message was edited by: Hurricane Hayward 2014-05-10 00:26 ]


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lunavideogames
Grand Member (3 years)  

Joined: May 09, 2012
Posts: 1190
From: San Diego
Posted: 2014-05-10 12:41 pm   Permalink

In my second one I Coruba and it tasted better. Thanks!



 
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Hurricane Hayward
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 07, 2008
Posts: 660
From: 16 miles from The Mai-Kai
Posted: 2014-05-29 01:05 am   Permalink

When the hordes of rum experts rolled into town last month for the sixth annual Miami Rum Renaissance Festival, The Mai-Kai rolled out the red carpet. There was a special event on April 22, with a complimentary cocktail sponsored by Don Q Rum:



You can click here to see my review and recipe, plus lots more on the Miami Rum Festival:
http://www.slammie.com/atomicgrog/blog/2014/05/25/cocktails-reach-new-heights-of-creativity-at-miami-rum-festival/#donq

This was a Mai-Kai creation, and it had a familiar taste ... but not something I could put my finger on. I had a feeling it was based on one of the lost cocktails from the 1956 menu, but it didn't seem familiar. As it turns out, that's because it's one of the several remaining drinks that have yet to be revived by manager Kern Mattei ... until now.

Later in the week, we were treated to a revival of the Liquid Gold, aka Beachcomber's Gold. You may remember this as the drink that confounded Beachbum Berry in "Remixed." He devotes five pages to three different recipes, and some great ice shells. I had posted a tribute recipe almost a year ago, when I got a little taste as we prepared for the Lost Cocktails Party at The Hukilau. Kern decided not to serve the Liquid Gold, and it went back into the vault. Until now.


Liquid Gold

It made a great comeback on April 26, and I was surprised by its timeless sophistication. A healthy dose of Pernod dominated the drink, which I didn't remember from my previous taste. So I've upped my rating to 3 1/2 stars and updated the review and tribute recipe:
http://www.slammie.com/atomicgrog/blog/2013/06/02/lost-cocktails-of-the-mai-kai-search-for-authentic-recipe-strikes-liquid-gold/#ancestor

With Otto von Stroheim and Tim "Swanky" Glazner in the house, Kern decided to roll out a few more lost classics. We subsequently enjoyed the Last Rites and Demerara Cocktail (pictured below).



Which brings us up to date and facing the news about a possible shortage of Lemon Hart Demerara Rum. I hope to have some more updates as this crisis plays out, and news on how The Mai-Kai hopes to deal with it. At the very least, I'm hoping they have enough supply on hand to get us through The Hukilau in two weeks.

Okole maluna!

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Hurricane Hayward
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 07, 2008
Posts: 660
From: 16 miles from The Mai-Kai
Posted: 2014-05-29 11:35 am   Permalink

For the record, here are my ratings of all the different Beachcomber's Gold cocktails and descendants:

Beachcomber's Gold (Hollywood and Palm Springs) circa 1930s to 1950s - 2.5 out of 5
Beachcomber's Gold (Chicago) circa 1970s - 1 out of 5
Beachcomber's Gold (Waikiki) circa 1980s - 3 out of 5

Liquid Gold (Mai-Kai) 2014 version - 3.5 out of 5
Don Q Cocktail (the Mai-Kai's Miami Rum Fest special) - 3 out of 5


 
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Hurricane Hayward
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 07, 2008
Posts: 660
From: 16 miles from The Mai-Kai
Posted: 2014-05-30 12:06 am   Permalink

Good news under the circumstances from Kern Mattei regarding Lemon Hart Demerara rum:

The Mai-Kai's manager says they bought out the supply from their Florida distributor, so they should be OK through The Hukilau and beyond while they look for a replacement.

For all those attending, here's the list of cocktails containing Lemon Hart:

151 Swizzle
Bora Bora
Jet Pilot
K.O. Cooler
Oh So Deadly
S.O.S.
Shrunken Skull
Sidewinder's Fang
Special Planters Punch
Yeoman's Grog
Zombie

Reviews and further info here:
http://www.slammie.com/atomicgrog/blog/2012/05/08/rums-of-the-mai-kai-legendary-lemon-hart-returns-to-the-promised-land/#LH_drinks

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Hurricane Hayward
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Joined: Jun 07, 2008
Posts: 660
From: 16 miles from The Mai-Kai
Posted: 2014-06-12 11:45 pm   Permalink

A very long time in the works, the Yeoman's Grog tribute recipe finally makes its way online:

http://www.slammie.com/atomicgrog/blog/2011/12/12/mai-kai-cocktail-review-even-landlubbers-can-appreciate-a-strong-ration-of-yeomans-grog/#tribute



Among the many reasons it took so long to post: I was waiting to finish my review of Beachbum Berry’s Navy Grog Ice Cone Kit, which features a head-to-head review of the mold vs. the old pilsner glass method (and the Yeoman's Grog facing off against Trader Vic's Navy Grog [photo above]).
http://www.slammie.com/atomicgrog/blog/2014/06/11/navy-grog-ice-cone-lost-art-is-revived-by-cocktail-enthusiasts-handy-gadget/

Worth noting: We find Don's Spices #2 again making an appearance in the Yeoman's Grog, perhaps the best combination of the Don the Beachcomber and Trader Vic's versions of the classic. And a big mahalo to Quince_at_Dannys, who actually came up with the recipe and spurred my further research into Don's Spices #2. Two more recipes are coming soon that also feature this sweeter and richer alternative to straight allspice dram.

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Hurricane Hayward
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Joined: Jun 07, 2008
Posts: 660
From: 16 miles from The Mai-Kai
Posted: 2014-06-14 09:31 am   Permalink

Breaking news: As a Hukilau exclusive, old "retired" food and drink menus as well as a small amount of the new drink menu are being sold in the gift shop at The Mai-Kai. First-come, first-served tonight and tomorrow.

 
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Hurricane Hayward
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Joined: Jun 07, 2008
Posts: 660
From: 16 miles from The Mai-Kai
Posted: 2014-06-14 11:30 pm   Permalink

Important update to the Yeoman's Grog tribute recipe. One ingredient amount was posted incorrectly:

It's been corrected to call for 1/2 teaspoon of Don's Spices #2 (instead of 1/2 ounce). Big difference. The allspice flavor should be somewhat subtle.



 
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Hurricane Hayward
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Joined: Jun 07, 2008
Posts: 660
From: 16 miles from The Mai-Kai
Posted: 2014-07-03 12:41 pm   Permalink

Has it really been three weeks since The Hukilau? Decompression complete, here's a recap of my research efforts as well as a significant new tribute recipe:

Besides all the fun and frivolity, the annual bacchanalia in my backyard gives me ample opportunity to sample many cocktails in a short period of time. My regular schedule is very unforgiving, and I typically visit The Mai-Kai only once or twice a month (yeah, I know, woe is me). So hanging out there for extended sessions (this year I squeezed in three days and four nights) was a treat. As was the privilege of meeting up with out-of-town friends, old and new, talking Tiki and otherwise "geeking out." I also took a bunch of photos, which you can find on my flickr page:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/28078283@N05/sets/72157645008150739


(Photo by Hurricane Hayward)

My favorite is this one of Crazy Al Evans and Jeff "Beachbum" Berry in The Mai-Kai gardens during Sunday's finale, obviously still in great spirits. If you haven't checked out Al's Molokai Maiden mug yet, go to http://www.tikimania.com/docs/ALmug_Maiden.html for updates. It's an amazing sculpt. I also saw Tiki Diablo amid the revelry and checked out his own Mai-Kai inspired mug while I await delivery of my order (get info at http://www.tikidiablo.com/maikai/). Here's my story on both mugs:
http://www.slammie.com/atomicgrog/blog/2014/06/06/artists-pay-tribute-to-the-mai-kai-with-one-of-a-kind-mugs/


Backstage before his symposium, Beachbum Berry and his Latitude 29 head bartender, Steve Yamada, make sure the sample drinks are up to snuff. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward)

Beachbum Berry presented another great symposium in his ninth appearance at The Hukilau: "Tiki's Dark Ages: From Fern Bars To Rebirth." We got a sneak peek and tasted a cocktail from his upcoming bar, Latitude 29 in New Orleans, and the fun-filled presentation traced all the mishaps that allowed Tiki cocktails to hit rock bottom in the '70s and '80s. His documentation of its resurrection in the '90s up through the present included many first-hand accounts and photos, offering a peek into the Bum's wacky world. I'll be posting a full recap of the symposium shortly. Here's the preview, which also covered all of his recent activities in depth:
http://www.slammie.com/atomicgrog/blog/2014/06/11/returning-to-the-hukilau-jeff-berry-proves-hes-never-too-busy-to-be-a-beachbum/

I was also privileged to conduct two extensive interviews with Jeff and Steve over cocktails, appetizers and dinner. It was Steve's first visit to the hallowed ground, and Jeff made sure he sampled a wide variety of classic drinks over the course of the week. By all accounts, he did a great job in keeping up with his mentor. I'll be posting separate stories on my blog with all the details from the interviews. One will feature an in-depth preview of Latitude 29, while the other will look at the stories behind the stories in "Potions of the Caribbean."


Hurricane Hayward receives a surprise Mystery Drink.

So as I look back at my notes from the whirlwind week, here are a few bits of info I gleaned from the many cocktails:

* I had a hunch that amaretto was being used instead of orgeat in the few drinks that call for the almond-flavored syrup. When the opportunity to sample a Mystery Drink unexpectedly presented itself (mahalo John Tremain for the treat!), I confirmed the presence of amaretto. I'm not quite ready to attempt a tribute recipe yet, but perhaps one of these days. This is one drink that I rarely get a chance to research. But I did just update my review and added the new menu photo:
http://www.slammie.com/atomicgrog/blog/2012/01/01/mai-kai-cocktail-review-the-timeless-appeal-of-this-classic-is-no-mystery/

* I also sampled the Mai-Kai Swizzle, the only other drink on the menu in which I've been able to detect orgeat. Lo and behold, you can also definitely taste the amaretto. So I've updated my tribute recipe, also adding the new menu photo:
http://www.slammie.com/atomicgrog/blog/2012/04/02/mai-kai-cocktail-review-mai-kai-swizzle-showcases-old-school-technique/
In neither of these instances is the amaretto necessarily a bad thing. In both drinks, it cuts through all the other flavors nicely and stays in balance, probably better than all but a high-end orgeat would.


Smuggler's Cove owner Martin Cate treats Pablus and Crazy Al (plus a few other folks) to a round of Rum Barrels in The Molokai during The Hukilau's main event on Saturday night. (Photo by Scott Tennant, from Facebook)

* Quite a few Kona Coffee Grogs were consumed during the week, giving us the pleasure of watching the unique flaming presentation and also giving me a chance to re-examine the flavor profile. While my posted ancestor recipe is fairly close, I may be attempting a tribute recipe at some point to include Don's Spices #2. This ingredient is popping up everywhere (see previous posts above), and the distinctive allspice flavor is clearly detectable in this classic.

* I also confirmed what I already knew about the bar's mixing techniques: Nothing is made with a shaker, even the new martinis. All the classics are made via a standard blender (for the frozen and creamy drinks), or a top-down mixer (for the flash-blended drinks). I learned that apparently the martinis are built in the glass. FYI, I've tasted a few of these, and they're quite serviceable as fruity martinis go. They serve their purpose in pulling in newbies, I suppose.

* And last but not least, I finalized two more tribute recipes, one of which was my first post-Hukilau cocktail update: http://www.slammie.com/atomicgrog/blog/2011/09/21/mai-kai-cocktail-review-legacy-of-this-classic-drink-runs-deep/



The Deep Sea Diver recipe has been in the works for a long time, and it's among the others mentioned earlier in this thread that benefit from the inclusion of Don's Spices #2 instead of straight allspice dram. I also wanted to pick the Bum's brain about his take on the drink, which I know to be among his favorites. He said he's trying to figure out a way to use a mix similar to the honey-butter combo that makes the Deep Sea Diver so distinctive. It's just such a hard ingredient to work with, he's still not sure how to handle it. It's easy to detect in the drink not only by its taste, but also by the sticky residue it leaves:


I got a few quizzical looks and comments when I was seen photographing an empty glass.

Jeff and Steve also sampled the Gardenia Lei, the other cold drink that uses the mix traditionally known as honey cream. He said one old method was to keep a supply heated behind the bar, but adding a hot mix to a cold drink is sure to cause complications. In my home bar, I just make a small amount and keep it at room temperature while I use it. It's unclear how The Mai-Kai staff handles it, but they sure have the technique down pat. My tribute recipe comes pretty darn close, and it's one I'm very happy with. I made a few other updates to the review, including the new menu photo. And since they reference each other and also mention the honey cream mix, the reviews of the Gardenia Lei and Hidden Pearl were also updated:
http://www.slammie.com/atomicgrog/blog/2011/07/26/mai-kai-cocktail-review-the-mystery-of-the-gardenia-lei/
http://www.slammie.com/atomicgrog/blog/2012/02/16/mai-kai-cocktail-review-hidden-pearl-reveals-a-long-lost-craft/

There wasn't a whole lot of news regarding Lemon Hart 151 beyond what's already been reported here:
http://www.tikiroom.com/tikicentral/bb/viewtopic.php?mode=viewtopic&topic=47455&forum=10&start=75
Everyone seems to be well-stocked and girding for the possible shortage. I'll have to follow up with The Mai-Kai to see exactly how robust their stockpile is. Among the experts, there was also some reservations about the wisdom of Lemon Hart cutting off its reliable supply lines to attempt a wider distribution effort. That seems to be the end game, but we've yet to see any reliable reports on that. Here's hoping it happens sooner rather than later, for The Mai-Kai's sake especially.



Sunday's after party included an exhibit of artifacts in the Tahiti dining room (above), including carvings, performer costumes, old scrapbooks and calendars, and the famous framed portrait of original owner Bob Thornton holding his silver Rum Barrel mug. On the table, you'll notice the mug along with an original Derby Daiquiri glass and decanter:



With The Hukilau in the books for another year, we now return you to the regularly scheduled programming ...


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Hurricane Hayward
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 07, 2008
Posts: 660
From: 16 miles from The Mai-Kai
Posted: 2014-07-19 12:47 pm   Permalink

In honor of the “official cocktail” of Tales of the Cocktail, I came up with a tribute to the iconic Hurricane using ingredients found in some of the best Mai-Kai drinks. Manager Kern Mattei was gracious enough to serve me one ...



Don't look for it on the menu. I was just a fun exercise and challenge to see if I could come up with a worthy Hurricane when Tales announced its annual contest in April. I reviewed both the winning recipe and my Mai-Kai tribute on this new blog post:
http://www.slammie.com/atomicgrog/blog/2014/07/15/tales-of-the-cocktails-signature-drink-packs-a-wallop-but-can-it-tame-a-hurricane-inspired-by-the-mai-kai/



It's a sweet and potent concoction that riffs on such classics as the Special Planters Punch and Barrel O' Rum. I hope you enjoy.

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Hurricane Hayward
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 07, 2008
Posts: 660
From: 16 miles from The Mai-Kai
Posted: 2014-07-23 12:20 am   Permalink

OK, this is interesting: I've updated the Cobra Kiss review to include another new fassionola sighting, this time in London:
http://www.slammie.com/atomicgrog/blog/2011/11/20/mai-kai-cocktail-review-cobra-kiss-is-an-exotic-taste-explosion-guaranteed-to-strike-your-fancy/#tribute

Scroll up slightly for the update, which includes links to the Portside Parlour in London and an article in The Telegraph that features a fassionola recipe from bar manager Sean Fennelly. It's similar to the earlier recipes that I posted, except that it features Monin syrups, which are more readily available in the U.K. Browsing the rum bar's site, I also notice that Sean uses fassionola in his Jet Pilot recipe, which I don't know if I've seen outside of The Mai-Kai. Sounds like a new must-do in the London Tiki bar scene.


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Hurricane Hayward
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 07, 2008
Posts: 660
From: 16 miles from The Mai-Kai
Posted: 2014-07-31 01:08 am   Permalink



While visiting The Mai-Kai on National Daiquiri Day (July 19) and enjoying Floridita and Special Reserve daiquiris, I chatted with manager Kern Mattei about old-school daiquiris and "Potions of the Caribbean." This inspired me to update all six daiquiri reviews with new menu photos and whatever else I could dig up.

Three got basic updates, including the menu photos:
Special Reserve Daiquiri (above):
http://www.slammie.com/atomicgrog/blog/2012/05/02/mai-kai-cocktail-review-this-daiquiri-is-special-in-more-ways-than-one/
Banana Daiquiri: http://www.slammie.com/atomicgrog/blog/2011/09/28/mai-kai-cocktail-review-no-monkeying-around-this-is-one-fine-banana-daiquiri/
Strawberry Daiquiri: http://www.slammie.com/atomicgrog/blog/2011/11/08/mai-kai-cocktail-review-this-daiquiri-is-the-real-deal-thank-you-berry-much/
And from the ranks for the retired cocktails, the Cuban Daiquiri got a few tweaks: http://www.slammie.com/atomicgrog/blog/2013/06/02/lost-cocktails-of-the-mai-kai-short-lived-daiquiri-disappared-when-cuba-fell/


Mariano Licudine in Puerto Rico in 1959. (From Potions of the Caribbean, courtesy of The Mai-Kai)

In updating the review of the signature Derby Daiquiri, I pondered what may have inspired Mariano Licudine to create the orange-flavored classic. Was it Florida's state fruit, or his history with Don the Beachcomber, or perhaps his frequent trips to the Caribbean on behalf of major hotel chains? Did he stop by El Floridita in Havana to taste some of Constantino Ribalaigua Vert's classics?
http://www.slammie.com/atomicgrog/blog/2011/06/30/the-derby-daiquiri-the-mai-kais-100000-drink/



Finally, the Floridita Daiquiri review allowed me to delve even deeper into Beachbum Berry's great stories in "Potions" on Constante's remarkable career at El Florida, which included 80 million limes squeezed by hand and more than 10 million daiquiris poured. Of course, you can't talk about El Florida without discussing the 800-pound gorilla in the bar. Hemingway left his mark, undoubtedly, but as the Bum points out, he was not the best judge of a well-balanced cocktail. In the end, The Mai-Kai’s Floridita Daiquiri is much more faithful to Constante’s original than Hemingway’s "boozy Frankenstein’s monster."
http://www.slammie.com/atomicgrog/blog/2012/02/24/mai-kai-cocktail-review-the-story-of-the-floridita-daiquiri-rivals-any-novel/


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Kill Devil
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Joined: Feb 16, 2011
Posts: 262
From: Chicago
Posted: 2014-07-31 07:09 am   Permalink

The Mai Kai Floridita is a staple at my home - at double the recipe per person its also a great way to get rid of some ripe grapefruits!

 
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