Mai-Kai cocktail review: Mellow out with a Tahitian Coffee

Updated May 25, 2012
See below: Our Tahitian Coffee review | Ancestor recipe
Related: Mai-Kai cocktail guide

Hot coffee cocktails provide the perfect ending to an exotic meal in one of The Mai-Kai’s many enchanting dining rooms. While they aren’t as highly rated as the drinks on the mild, medium and strong menus, these after-dinner grogs play an important role beyond their cool collectible mugs.

Tahitian Coffee is easy on the palate, not too strong or overwhelming. Your taste buds may thank you after the onslaught that most likely preceded it. If you’re craving a mellow finale or just need some caffeine for the road, this drink fits the bill nicely.


The official menu description
Tahitian Coffee

With Bacardi Rum, liqueurs and Island spices, topped with whipped cream.

Okole Maluna Society review and rating

Tahitian Coffee, November 2011. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward)

Tahitian Coffee, November 2011. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward)

Size: Medium

Potency: After dinner

Flavor profile: Coffee, fresh whipped cream, a hint of rum, cinnamon.

Review: A nice balance of coffee, cream and liqueurs with no one flavor too overbearing.

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

Ancestry: Tahitian Coffee does not appear on early Mai-Kai menus, but it’s almost certainly based on the Don the Beachcomber drink of the same name. It was most likely added at some point when the after-dinner selections were expanded.

Bilge: The drink is typically served in a shrunken head mug, the same vessel often used for the Shrunken Skull.

Agree or disagree? Share your reviews and comments below!


Tahitian Coffee

(By Don the Beachcomber, from Hawai’i – Tropical Rum Drinks & Cuisine)

Tahitian Coffee by The Atomic Grog, March 2012

Tahitian Coffee by The Atomic Grog, March 2012. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward)

* 7 ounces hot coffee
* 1/4 ounce Cointreau
* 4 dashes cognac
* Whipped cream
* Cinnamon

Pour coffee into a cup or mug and sweeten to taste. Stir in Cointreau and cognac. Top with whipped cream and dust with cinnamon.

Notes and tips for home mixologists

* Kona coffee is my favorite and works well in this recipe. Sweeten as little or as much as you like.

* The Cointreau and cognac combo is a bit different than The Mai-Kai’s version, which includes light Bacardi rum. The result is a somewhat milder though no less tasty desert drink. Feel free to add rum to this recipe for a little punch.

* I took the liberty of adding the whipped cream and cinnamon – the signature of The Mai-Kai’s Tahitian Coffee. They’re not part of the recipe in the Hawai’i book, but they add an additional layer of creaminess and flavor that greatly enhances the drink.

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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