Mai-Kai cocktail review: A Blizzard of decadence

Updated March 15, 2016
See below: Our Mai-Kai Blizzard review | Tribute recipe
Related: Chocolate Snowflake | Martinique Milk Punch | Mai-Kai cocktail guide

Cuisinart ice cream maker

Cuisinart ice cream maker

Ice cream drinks are often overlooked, especially at The Mai-Kai, where classic concoctions such as the Barrel O’ Rum, Jet Pilot and Zombie are the star attractions. Even on the small after-dinner section of the cocktail menu, the coffee drinks typically get more attention.

But in the right circumstances, particularly if you’re a fan of soft-serve, there are several adult ice cream cocktails on the Fort Lauderdale Polynesian restaurant’s menu worth sampling after a delicious meal. For cocoa-lovers, there’s the Chocolate Snowflake. For those who prefer vanilla, there’s the Mai-Kai Blizzard.

We’ve taken a stab at re-creating the Blizzard in our home bar, but this one requires much different equipment. We put our new ice-cream maker (see photo above) to good use and made a classic vanilla that worked perfect in its soft form, right out of the machine.


The official menu description
Mai-Kai Blizzard

A smoothly blended creation of Bacardi Rum, ice cream and West Indies spices.

Okole Maluna Society review and rating

The Mai-Kai Blizzard. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward, March 2011)

The Mai-Kai Blizzard. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward, March 2011)

Size: Medium

Potency: After dinner

Flavor profile: Vanilla ice cream, rum, falernum.

Review: Great texture (possibly house-made ice cream) with just a hint of rum and falernum. A cool and refreshing dessert drink.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars (see how it ranks)

Ancestry: Definitely not a “classic” cocktail in any stretch of the imagination, the Mai-Kai Blizzard was likely added to the menu at some point to expand the dessert offerings and give those who normally wouldn’t drink rum or alcohol an entry point. It could considered a very basic introduction to rum and falernum. The inclusion of the West Indian spice leads us to believe that master mixologist Mariano Licudine had something to do with its creation before his 1979 retirement.

Bilge: While The Mai-Kai Blizzard is a good basic intro for newbies to rum and falernum, the next step up is the Martinique Milk Punch. A creamy and smooth vanilla drink, it contains a heavier dose of a more flavorful rum.

Agree or disagree? Share your reviews and comments below!


Mai-Kai Blizzard tribute by The Atomic Grog, August 2011. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward)

Mai-Kai Blizzard tribute by The Atomic Grog, August 2011. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward)

Tribute to the Mai-Kai Blizzard
By The Atomic Grog

* Fresh-churned soft-serve vanilla ice cream
* A dash or two of falernum (the Fee Brothers brand works well)
* Gold rum to taste

Stir in the rum and falernum with the freshly-made ice cream. Enjoy immediately.

Notes and tips for home mixologists

* Since we have the Cuisinart to make our own ice cream, we haven’t tried blending a store-bought variety to make this drink. If you do, we recommend an all-natural variety such as Häagen-Dazs.

* Go easy on the rum. This isn’t intended to be a high-octane cocktail. We used just 1/2 ounce in our 5-ounce glass. We did, however, skip the Bacardi and take advantage of one of the more smooth yet flavorful gold rums in our bar – 7-year-old Havana Club Añejo. Cuban rum was a favorite of both Don the Beachcomber and The Mai-Kai before the U.S. trade embargo. Hopefully we’ll see an end to that in our lifetime.

* Also go easy on the falernum. It should be a very subtle background flavor. Falernum is a classic ingredient that appears in many Mai-Kai drinks and was also a favorite of tropical drink pioneer Don the Beachcomber. Its flavor is a complex combination of almond, vanilla, lime, allspice, clove and ginger.

Okole maluna!

About Hurricane Hayward

A professional journalist and Florida resident for more than 30 years, Jim "Hurricane" Hayward shares his obsession with Polynesian Pop and other retro styles on his blog, The Atomic Grog. Jim's roots in mid-century and reto culture go back to his childhood in the 1960s, when he tagged along with his parents to Tiki restaurants and his father's custom car shows. His experience in journalism, mixology, and more than 20 years as an independent concert promoter make him a jack-of-all-trades in the South Florida scene. A graduate of the University of Florida's College of Journalism and Communications, Jim is a longtime web producer for The Palm Beach Post. In his spare time, he has promoted hundreds of rock, punk, and indie concerts under the Slammie Productions name since the early 1990s. In 2011, he launched The Atomic Grog to extensively cover events, music, art, cocktails, and culture with a retro slant. Jim earned his nickname by virtue of both his dangerous exotic drinks and his longtime position producing The Post's tropical weather website.
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