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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
AceExplorer
Grand Member (5 years)  

Joined: Apr 03, 2008
Posts: 1889
From: Deep in the Jacksonville Florida jungle.
Posted: 2016-06-20 08:35 am   Permalink

Kevin, I hear that's a challenge everywhere. I feel kinda guilty, just a smidge, but have admitted here before that I often don't sweat it anymore and use pink because it's so handy. Yes, there is a difference, but "how much" is the issue. Some would say I have really lowered my standards by not worrying about pink versus white, but reality is that there are often other ingredients in drinks which can sway the finished drink flavor profile a whole lot more than my choice of white versus pink. And sometimes, to me, it's all about being able to make a drink on short notice versus going to the store. I should keep some white juice frozen in the same way that I do with some other out-of-season stuff.

Good thought on the bitters to compensate. Let us know how you like it.


 
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mikehooker
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Jul 17, 2014
Posts: 701
From: Austin
Posted: 2016-06-20 12:33 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2016-06-19 20:08, Hurricane Hayward wrote:
Interesting story on Don's Mix from Punch, quoting Messrs. Berry, Cate, et al.

http://punchdrink.com/articles/diy-dons-mix-cocktails-recipe/





Thanks for sharing that article as it touches on something I've been wanting to address here. Since citrus is so finicky with flavors changing within days if not hours of squeezing, I never keep a homemade Don's Mix on hand, nor have I bought the BG Reynold's kind as it's pricey and not readily available near me. If a drink calls for 3/4 of Don's Mix, I just squeeze a half ounce of gf and and pour 1/4 oz of cinnamon syrup into my jigger before mixing with the rest of the ingredients. I don't see how that's any different than pre-making the stuff in short lived batches. So it's annoying sometimes when recipes call for Don's Mix rather than just stating the appropriate amount of grapefruit and cinnamon needed.


Quote:

On 2016-06-20 08:35, AceExplorer wrote:
I should keep some white juice frozen in the same way that I do with some other out-of-season stuff.




Per your recommendation, I squoze and froze over 20 ounces of white grapefruit juice into 1/2 ounce cubes a few months ago during the short season, which I believe was a brilliant idea. I still have about 8 cubes left but they're showing signs of freezer burn which worries me as I don't know how that will impact the flavor when I go to use them, which most assuredly will be soon. Have you run into this issue on other citrus you've frozen?


 
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AceExplorer
Grand Member (5 years)  

Joined: Apr 03, 2008
Posts: 1889
From: Deep in the Jacksonville Florida jungle.
Posted: 2016-06-21 07:34 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2016-06-20 12:33, mikehooker wrote:
Per your recommendation, I squoze and froze over 20 ounces of white grapefruit juice into 1/2 ounce cubes a few months ago during the short season, which I believe was a brilliant idea. I still have about 8 cubes left but they're showing signs of freezer burn which worries me as I don't know how that will impact the flavor when I go to use them, which most assuredly will be soon. Have you run into this issue on other citrus you've frozen?



Hey, Mike! I have no freezer burn problems here because I freeze and save each 1-ounce stick wrapped in fold-top sandwich baggies. I can fit three sticks into each baggie and I "roll" each stick so that the three sticks do not touch each other in cold storage. I assume the juice will "age" and lose freshness over time so I periodically discard and re-freeze fresh juice. I have many pounds of Persian limes each year, so no worries with limes. For other less-used juices I try not to over-squeeze and over-freeze. The life of frozen juice is surprisingly good, and it's very hard to tell when a "refresh" is prudent. I need to post some pics, will try to do so soon, I'm pretty slammed.

When I have guests to my bar, and I have advance notice, I try very hard to use fresh fruit and squeeze in front of their eyes. However one of the joys of having a home bar, and using squeeze-and-freeze, is that you find you can be a master of spur-of-the-moment cocktail making. I place a very high value on being johnny-on-the-spot since it's such a pain to run out and shop for fruit when you want a cocktail. Squeeze-and-freeze brings me closer to the speed and readiness of a commercial bar where they get regular deliveries of fruit and have juices very handy. I don't like the thought of having a couple thousand dollars invested in spirits and home bar tools/equipment without the ability to be spontaneous. Squeeze-and-freeze is the answer to those who seek spontaneity for private drinking as well as spur-of-the-moment needs with guests.

I personally have a short list of key tenets for home bartending. Both speed and showmanship are key success factors, among others.


 
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Hurricane Hayward
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 07, 2008
Posts: 1217
From: 16 miles from The Mai-Kai
Posted: 2016-06-22 8:55 pm   Permalink

A few more photos from The Hukilau's Pre-Party at The Mai-Kai ...





Full recap and more photos:
http://www.slammie.com/atomicgrog/blog/2016/06/22/the-hukilau-2016-day-1-photo-recap-pre-party-at-the-mai-kai-the-wreck-bar-mermaid-show/

Plus a bonus recipe for the Spicy Hula Girl, created by Kern Mattei and featuring featuring sponsor Rhum Barbancourt ...
http://www.slammie.com/atomicgrog/blog/2016/06/22/the-hukilau-2016-day-1-photo-recap-pre-party-at-the-mai-kai-the-wreck-bar-mermaid-show/#spicy-hula-girl



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Hurricane Hayward
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 07, 2008
Posts: 1217
From: 16 miles from The Mai-Kai
Posted: 2016-07-17 10:50 am   Permalink

Still no updates on the Kohala Bay outage. It still may come back, manager Kern Mattei confirmed last night, but in the meantime The Mai-Kai has finally been able to get Coruba dark Jamaican rum from their distributor. They hope to begin using it soon in all the cocktails that call for Kohala Bay.

 
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Hurricane Hayward
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 07, 2008
Posts: 1217
From: 16 miles from The Mai-Kai
Posted: 2016-08-12 7:19 pm   Permalink

Unfortunately, Coruba never panned out, so they've been pouring Appleton Reserve while they wait out the great Kohala Bay outage. It's definitely a higher quality rum than the earlier substitutes and works fine in some drinks. But you may notice the lack of funk in the Black Magic and some others. I had no complaints with the Zombie, however.

Meanwhile, the new Lemon Hart 151 is starting to appear on store shelves (in Austin and the Florida Panhandle) ...
http://www.tikiroom.com/tikicentral/bb/viewtopic.php?mode=viewtopic&topic=51252&forum=10&start=45

The Mai-Kai plans to reach out to the distributor, so it may not be long before we find out whether we see another return of the venerable 151 Demerara rum.
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The official blog of The Hukilau


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Hurricane Hayward
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 07, 2008
Posts: 1217
From: 16 miles from The Mai-Kai
Posted: 2016-08-12 7:51 pm   Permalink

Good to see the new swizzle sticks every time we visit ...



They were introduced during The Hukilau after a Kickstarter campaign organized by the event's organizer, Christie "Tiki Kiliki" White, and produced by Royer.



 
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Hurricane Hayward
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 07, 2008
Posts: 1217
From: 16 miles from The Mai-Kai
Posted: 26 days ago; 9:13 pm   Permalink

Available now!


See you at the release party Sept. 16-17 ...
http://www.maikaihistory.com/
https://www.facebook.com/MaiKaiHistory/

... featuring more special lost cocktails!
http://www.browardpalmbeach.com/restaurants/tim-swanky-glazner-explores-tiki-culture-and-rare-cocktails-in-mai-kai-history-and-mystery-of-the-iconic-tiki-restaurant-8045463


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Hurricane Hayward
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 07, 2008
Posts: 1217
From: 16 miles from The Mai-Kai
Posted: 15 days ago; 1:21 pm   Permalink

Lots of rum news to report, including the return of Lemon Hart 151 and a new replacement for Kohala Bay. Get the full story here ...
http://www.slammie.com/atomicgrog/blog/2012/05/08/rums-of-the-mai-kai-legendary-lemon-hart-returns-to-the-promised-land/



Plus, here are some direct links to specific features ...

The list of all the Guyana rum drinks featuring Lemon Hart 151 and Hamilton 86:
http://www.slammie.com/atomicgrog/blog/2012/05/08/rums-of-the-mai-kai-legendary-lemon-hart-returns-to-the-promised-land/#demerara_drinks

The list of cocktails now featuring Appleton instead of Kohala Bay, plus recommendations on which ones are affected the most:
http://www.slammie.com/atomicgrog/blog/2012/05/08/rums-of-the-mai-kai-legendary-lemon-hart-returns-to-the-promised-land/#dagger

Recommended Kohala Bay substitutes:
http://www.slammie.com/atomicgrog/blog/2012/05/08/rums-of-the-mai-kai-legendary-lemon-hart-returns-to-the-promised-land/#kohala-bay-substitutes

More Appleton cocktails:
http://www.slammie.com/atomicgrog/blog/2012/05/08/rums-of-the-mai-kai-legendary-lemon-hart-returns-to-the-promised-land/#appleton



Okole maluna!



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Hurricane Hayward
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 07, 2008
Posts: 1217
From: 16 miles from The Mai-Kai
Posted: 11 days ago; 12:31 am   Permalink

Many lost cocktails were consumed this weekend ...




Demerara Float, now featuring Lemon Hart 151


Hanalei Bay, aka Don the Beachcomber's Montego Bay


Dr. Fong (aka Dr. Funk) along with more Demerara Floats.

I even mixed up the Big Bamboo for a special hotel room party ...





 
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Hurricane Hayward
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 07, 2008
Posts: 1217
From: 16 miles from The Mai-Kai
Posted: 11 days ago; 10:42 am   Permalink

After a weekend of extensive tastings, we've also slightly adjusted our Appleton vs. Kohala Bay ratings, moving the Barrel down and the Special Planters and Jet Pilot up one notch each ...

No noticeable difference:
Special Planters Punch | Yeoman's Grog | Zombie

Different, but in a good way:
151 Swizzle | Bora Bora | Jet Pilot | Oh So Deadly | Tiki Swizzle

Missing the funk:
Barrel O' Rum | Black Magic | Cobra's Kiss | Mutiny

http://www.slammie.com/atomicgrog/blog/2012/05/08/rums-of-the-mai-kai-legendary-lemon-hart-returns-to-the-promised-land/#dagger


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Hurricane Hayward
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 07, 2008
Posts: 1217
From: 16 miles from The Mai-Kai
Posted: 9 days ago; 10:28 pm   Permalink

We're stoked to see Hidden Harbor in Pittsburgh featuring some of our recipes in a special event tomorrow night ...



Okole maluna!


 
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Hurricane Hayward
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 07, 2008
Posts: 1217
From: 16 miles from The Mai-Kai
Posted: 8 days ago; 3:31 pm   Permalink

Attention anyone in or near Pittsburgh: You don't want to miss this!




_________________
The Mai-Kai Cocktail Guide

The official blog of The Hukilau


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Hurricane Hayward
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 07, 2008
Posts: 1217
From: 16 miles from The Mai-Kai
Posted: 3 days ago; 12:21 pm   Permalink

Below is a major update to our guide to fresh juices at The Mai-Kai. Everything was added to the post back on the top of page 13 of this thread for easy reference:
http://www.tikiroom.com/tikicentral/bb/viewtopic.php?mode=viewtopic&topic=47293&forum=10&start=180

You'll find new recommendations for fresh orange and grapefruit juices, plus a new blend for lime juice that comes even closer to duplicating the Mai-Kai's distinctive flavor. These updates were the result of our experience mixing the Big Bamboo for Swanky's book release party last week. Mahalo to everyone who attended and sampled the drinks!

Also be sure to check out our updated Big Bamboo recipe, which contains lots of new background and history gleaned from the book and the book-release event. Mahalo Swanky for finally rewarding me with my membership card!
http://www.slammie.com/atomicgrog/blog/2012/06/02/mai-kai-cocktail-review-the-big-bamboo-features-big-flavors-unique-history/



We also updated the background and tasting notes on the Mara-Amu, Marinao Licudine's revamped version of the Big Bamboo that has become a classic in its own right: http://www.slammie.com/atomicgrog/blog/2011/07/02/mai-kai-cocktail-review-mara-amu/

So without further ado, here's the latest info on fresh juices at The Mai-Kai ...

Quote:

**************************************

SEPTEMBER 2016 UPDATE

First up, the latest update from the U.S. Department of Agriculture on the state's citrus crop, including some bits of good news. The final forecast for the 2015-2016 growing season, released in July, showed an increase of 1.5 million boxes from an October 2015 forecast, but down nearly 16 percent from the prior season’s near five-decade-low of 96.8 million boxes. "Production is nearly 70 percent lower than it was 20 years ago, and the long-term future of Florida citrus depends on a breakthrough in the search for a long-term solution to greening," Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam said in a statement. Growers have been allowed to temporarily use three antibiotics that remain under review for a "special use exemption" by the EPA but have shown signs of controlling greening. Florida Department of Citrus Executive Director Shannon Shepp also promised programs in the fall and winter to boost the state's signature crops. See the full story here:
http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/business/floridas-orange-crop-drops-16-percent/nrxqq/



Meanwhile, I finally secured a bottle of Kennesaw's 100% fresh-squeezed orange juice, which we've confirmed is the juice used by The Mai-Kai. All I can say is wow! It blows away my previous go-to OJ, Indian River Select, and is probably even better than anything I could squeeze myself. It's very pulpy, totally unprocessed and tastes like the best oranges in the crop were just squeezed into the bottle this morning.



I proceeded to make an S.O.S. using Kennesaw OJ and a revamped lime blend (see below), resulting in the best S.O.S. I've had outside of The Mai-Kai. The freshness of the juice blended perfectly with the lime and honey, creating a savory backbone for the rums and falernum. Of course, Kennesaw is not easy to come by. It's available at Restaurant Depot in South Florida, along with citrus shops at select groves. I haven't tasted it yet, but Kennesaw's seasonal pink grapefruit juice was also available. I'm hoping the white juice comes back into season soon.



Another option, as suggested by Quince_at_Dannys, are the unpasteurized orange and grapefruit juices at Trader Joe's. He says to look for the plastic jugs in the refrigerator section. "The OJ is always good and fresh-squeezed tasting, and the grapefruit is *usually* great. It's pink grapefruit juice, and it seems to change seasonally depending on the fruit that goes in it. I've had batches that are a lighter pink color, and pulpier, that work very well in certain Mai Kai drinks (see Yeoman's Grog)." At some point we'll have to compare the Kennesaw juices head-to-head vs. the Trader Joe's juices in a taste test.

Also be on the lookout for Natalie’s Orchid Island (non-pasteurized, 100% fresh-squeezed Florida juice), which has won much acclaim from online tasters:
http://www.orchidislandjuice.com/serious-eats/
http://drinks.seriouseats.com/2012/01/taste-test-best-orange-juice-with-pulp-natalies-whole-foods-simply.html
In fact, I've seen info online that seems to indicate that Natalie's provides the juice used by Trader Joe's (both OJ and grapefruit). Wrote one commenter: "Please note Trader Joe's & Wegman's are private labeled, look for Natalie's products under their label. Be assured this is the same juice, only with a different label." Beware that Natalie's also makes a pasteurized orange juice that's very good (probably the best available at stores such as Publix), but not quite as fresh and pulpy as fresh-squeezed and non-pasteurized.

******************************************

THE FINAL WORD ON OJ AND GRAPEFRUIT: My recommendation is 100% fresh Florida citrus, either by squeezing the fruit yourself or finding the rare brands that produce 100% pure, fresh-squeezed, non-pasteurized juices containing pulp. These include Kennesaw (used at The Mai-Kai), and Natalie's / Trader Joe's. The key when sourcing bottles is to look for non-pasteurized from Florida.

******************************************

Speaking of taste tests, I had the privilege on Sept. 16 of mixing up a special cocktail for guests of Tim "Swanky" Glazner at the release party for "Mai-Kai: History and Mystery of the Iconic Tiki Restaurant," the amazing new book that everyone should buy ... http://www.maikaihistory.com


Hurricane Hayward admires his handiwork after mixing up the Big Bamboo for the party in Swanky's hotel room.

The cocktail was the Big Bamboo, which I chose for several reasons. It was a rare confirmed Mariano Licudine recipe (from Beachbum Berry's Sippin' Safari), and it fit the theme of the "lost cocktails" of The Mai-Kai perfectly. It was also relatively easy to make quickly in large batches, so I could serve the thirsty hordes at Swanky's hotel and also partake in the festivities. That's me and Max Vrahimis, who helped me source ingredients and was essential in helping out in the kitchen ...



But mixing up the Big Bamboo also turned out to be a great test of The Mai-Kai's juices. I wanted to duplicate The Mai-Kai's flavor profile as closely as possible, so I secured several half gallons of Kennsaw OJ, as detailed above. I had planned to make my own lime-juice blend that I detailed back in April, but for the hell of it I asked Kern Mattei if he could donate a half gallon of The Mai-Kai's distinctive lime juice. Kern also donated a bunch of The Mai-Kai's new swizzle sticks, and director of sales and marketing Pia Dahlquist also helped secure a donation of Appleton Reserve rum.

Check out our updated Big Bamboo review, with enhanced history and mixing notes:
http://www.slammie.com/atomicgrog/blog/2012/06/02/mai-kai-cocktail-review-the-big-bamboo-features-big-flavors-unique-history/

Perhaps under the influence of too many Big Bamboos, I led a special late-night lime juice tasting. Several of us compared three different juices: The Mai-Kai's blend; my attempt to duplicate The Mai-Kai's blend (as detailed above: equal parts fresh-squeezed Persian limes and bottled key lime juice); plus some 100% Persian lime juice. As you can imagine, we weren't in the best state of mind to conduct a 100% scientific tasting since it was now nearing midnight and happy hour had started at The Mai-Kai at 4 p.m.

Luckily, I do have some sketchy notes, which praise The Mai-Kai's "very sour and rich" blend as the best of the three. My blend was close, but definitely No. 2 in the judging. The Persian juice tasted sour and fresh, but not as rich as the others and placed third.



A few days later, I put the juices to the test again, this time a bit more clear-headed in the comfort of The Atomic Grog (photo above). I compared The Mai-Kai's blend to my standard 1:1 mix of fresh Persian and bottled key lime juices, plus a more intense 1:2 mix (see photo above). I did a solo tasting, with these results:

The Mai-Kai blend remains No. 1 with its very rich and sour flavor, almost like straight key lime juice but not as tart. I suspect it's a premium brand of key lime juice, not the cheap supermarket brand that I use. Probably from a local grove or juice supplier. I'm savoring my remaining supply, but I know it won't last long.

My 1:1 blend just didn't compare. It was both tart and acidic, resulting in the most aggressive of the three but not as smooth and mixable. I plan to ditch this mix in favor of my new recommendation ...

******************************************

NEW RECOMMENDED LIME JUICE: 2 parts premium key lime juice and 1 part fresh-squeezed Persian lime juice. This new, stronger blend comes close to The Mai-Kai's flavor, especially if you can find a quality key lime juice. It's less bitter than the previously suggested 1:1 blend and almost as tart as The Mai-Kai blend.

******************************************



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The Mai-Kai Cocktail Guide

The official blog of The Hukilau


[ This Message was edited by: Hurricane Hayward 2016-09-27 16:38 ]


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Hurricane Hayward
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 07, 2008
Posts: 1217
From: 16 miles from The Mai-Kai
Posted: 3 days ago; 1:52 pm   Permalink

As suggested by mikehooker, I put another potential Kohala Bay substitute to the test recently, both neat and in the Big Bamboo ...



While a 50/50 mix of Smith & Cross and Appleton Reserve doesn't replace our long-running No. 1 choice, it comes in a close second and is worth a try. Here's the full list of recommended substitutes ...

http://www.slammie.com/atomicgrog/blog/2012/05/08/rums-of-the-mai-kai-legendary-lemon-hart-returns-to-the-promised-land/#kohala-bay-substitutes


[ This Message was edited by: Hurricane Hayward 2016-09-27 13:53 ]


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