Lost Cocktails of The Mai-Kai: A little patience yields the resurrection of a vestal Virgin

Updated January 2017
See below: Impatient Virgin review | Ancestor recipe | Tribute recipes
Related: Mai-Kai cocktail guide | More “lost cocktails” | Tropical drink family tree

The Impatient Virgin makes its return after decades in retirement at the Lost Cocktails Party in June 2013

The Impatient Virgin makes its return after decades in retirement at the Lost Cocktails Party in June 2013. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward)

When the original review of this “lost cocktail” was posted, it was just the second in a series that I hoped would shed just a little bit of light on some classic drinks that were retired from The Mai-Kai’s menu over the years and largely forgotten. Little did I know that nine months later, the light would be shining brightly on this and two other recipes returned from the vault for a special event at the conclusion of The Hukilau 2013.

More than three years later, at The Mai Kai’s 60th anniversary party, the same three cocktails returned from the vault once again to be enjoyed by a new generation of enthusiasts who may not even have been born the last time they appeared on a menu.
* See the 60th anniversary “lost cocktails” menu

In the interim, we explored what would eventually total 11 “lost cocktails” that came out of retirement, including the Demerara Cocktail, Last Rites, Demerara Float and Suffering Bastard. The Impatient Virgin first appeared in June 2013 during The Hukilau finale.

Mai-Kai general manager Kern Mattei, who worked behind the bar back in the 1980s and is familiar with many of the drinks before they were retired, was the driving force behind the return of these vintage recipes. Along with the current menu recipes, he keeps retired recipes under lock and key in his office and ensures their quality and authenticity. When it came time to select three drinks for the 2013 party, he committed to two of the previously revealed concoctions (Last Rites and Demerara Float) plus one newly revealed tipple.

The Impatient Virgin is makes a second return appearance in December 2016 during The Mai-Kai's 60th anniversary celebration. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward)

The Impatient Virgin is makes a second return appearance in December 2016 during The Mai-Kai’s 60th anniversary celebration. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward)

Seeking a mild option, Mattei suggested the Liquid Gold or Impatient Virgin, and he prepared samples of both. We were both impressed with the flavor-packed Virgin and went with this slightly reconfigured version for the party. See the tasting notes and tribute recipe below for more info.

Like many of The Mai-Kai’s legendary tropical drinks (31 on the current menu and nine lost classics), the Impatient Virgin can be traced back to Tiki bar pioneer Donn Beach, aka Don the Beachcomber. His Vicious Virgin was a staple at his chain of restaurants in the years prior to The Mai-Kai’s birth. As has been well documented on this blog, one of Beach’s top bartenders, Mariano Licudine, was hired away to The Mai-Kai, and the rest is history.

Licudine took Beach’s classic recipes and ran with them. Many stayed virtually the same, but he also did a lot of tinkering with ingredients and flavors. He also tinkered with the names, documented by Tiki drink historian Jeff “Beachbum” Berry in his definitive book on the heyday of tropical mixology, Sippin’ Safari.

Vicious Virgin

Mariano’s son, Ron, told Berry about how the task of naming the drinks became a family affair. Before The Mai-Kai opened, the Licudine family gathered in the living room to come up with new (often better) names for the Beachcomber drinks that the master mixologist had reconfigured (and usually reinvigorated). “They changed the Vicious Virgin into the Impatient Virgin, the Cobra’s Fang into the Cobra’s Kiss, and the Never Say Die into the Oh So Deadly,” Berry wrote.

Most of the names were improved, with an obvious attempt to be more tourist-friendly at the fledgling Fort Lauderdale restaurant. The inspiration of those names remains a secret of the Licudine clan who gathered for those early brain-storming sessions.

However, one name in particular remained a favorite of Mariano’s son, Ron Licudine, who elaborated on the history of the Impatient Virgin in an interview for the PBS documentary Plastic Paradise: A Swingin’ Trip Through America’s Polynesian Obsession. Coincidentally, the film premiered at The Mai-Kai during The Hukilau 2013, just before the Lost Cocktails Party. Sadly, two weeks after The Hukilau, Ron Licudine lost a long battle with cancer at age 69.

The namesake of the drink, Licudine relates in the film with a smile, was actually a cousin in the Philippines named Virginia. We won’t speculate on the degree of her patience, but we certainly appreciate the purity and virtue of this lost-but-not-forgotten classic cocktail.

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IMPATIENT VIRGIN

Okole Maluna Society review and rating

Impatient Virgin

Size: Medium

Potency: Mild

Flavor profile: Intense sweet and sour juices, falernum, and a hint of gold rum.

Review: A tantalizing combination of juices, syrups and rum with a distinctive Mai-Kai flair.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars (see how it ranks). If this were on today’s menu, it would rank near the top of the mild drinks, just below Oh So Deadly.

Ancestry: Based on Don the Beachcomber’s Vicious Virgin, the Impatient Virgin was on the original 1956-57 Mai-Kai cocktail menu and spotted as recently as the mid-1980s. At this point, however, drinks in small cocktail glasses were quickly losing popularity, a factor that might have had something to do with the Impatient Virgin’s demise.

Bilge: The Vicious Virgin is one of a handful of Donn Beach originals available on the current menu at the Don the Beachcomber location in Huntington Beach, Calif. There was also a special mug made for the drink, designed by Crazy Al Evans, manufactured by Tiki Farm, and released in 2011.

Agree or disagree with this review? Share your comments below!

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Don the Beachcomber's Vicious Virgin by The Atomic Grog

Don the Beachcomber’s Vicious Virgin by The Atomic Grog. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward, July 2012)

ANCESTOR RECIPE
Vicious Virgin

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

* 3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
* 1/2 ounce Cointreau
* 1/4 ounce falernum
* 1/2 ounce Puerto Rican dark rum
* 1 ounce Virgin Islands light rum

Pour into blender. Add a handful of cracked ice. Blend for 15 seconds at high speed. Serve in a thin 6-ounce champagne glass that has been frozen in a deep freezer.

Don’t confuse this drink with Vicious Virgin #2, a tequila drink featured in Beachbum Berry Remixed.

Tasting notes

I went with Bacardi 8 and Cruzan Estate as my rums. My falernum choice, as usual, was Fee Brothers.

The result is quite sour and tart, with a nice kick from the aged Bacardi. The absence of a overtly sweet syrup makes for a drink that’s on the sour side. It’s similar to a classic sour frozen daiquiri, Hemingway style.

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Tribute to The Mai-Kai’s Impatient Virgin, v.2 – circa 2013-2016
By The Atomic Grog

Impatient Virgin tribute by The Atomic Grog. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward, January 2017)

Impatient Virgin tribute by The Atomic Grog. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward, January 2017)

* 3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
* 3/4 ounce fresh orange juice
* 1/4 ounce falernum (Fee Brothers)
* 1/4 ounce grenadine (Fee Brothers)
* 3/4 ounce Appleton Special gold Jamaican rum
* 3/4 ounce white Virgin Islands rum
* 1/2 teaspoon fassionola (see below)

Pulse blend with 1 cup of crushed ice for 3-5 seconds. Serve in a small rocks glass. Or strain into a small martini glass or cocktail coupe. Garnish with a optional maraschino cherry.

Notes and tips for home mixologists

The Impatient Virgin was originally served in a small cocktail glass, just like its ancestor. According to Mattei, it even had the same maraschino cherry that settled in the bottom of the glass (see Vicious Virgin artwork above). When it was first resurrected from the lost cocktails graveyard in 2013, it was served in a rocks glass with ice (see photos above and below).

But in December 2016, we were pleased to see it return to its old form as a strained cocktail, served in a small martini glass. A small detail, but much appreciated. Otherwise, the drink seemed to stay pretty much the same. It’s a rich and sweet cocktial, with hints of gold rum offsetting the juices and syrups.

Prior to its 2013 appearance, we posted this a tribute recipe that isn’t too far off the latest version above …

Tribute to The Mai-Kai’s Impatient Virgin, v.1
By The Atomic Grog

Impatient Virgin tribute

Impatient Virgin tribute, v.1. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward, September 2012)

* 3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
* 1/2 ounce fresh orange juice
* 1/4 ounce falernum (Fee Brothers)
* 1/2 ounce Appleton Estate Extra dark Jamaican rum
* 1 ounce Appleton Special gold Jamaican rum
* 1/2 teaspoon fassionola (see below)

Blend with 1/2 cup of crushed ice until smooth. Serve in a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a maraschino cherry. Wahine optional.

Notes and tips for home mixologists

In both tributes, I went with Appleton Jamaican rum, which is used in many of the restaurant’s current cocktails. It gives the drink a richer rum flavor to accent the sour notes.

The latest incarnation of the Impatient Virgin appears at The Mai-Kai's Lost Cocktails Party in June 2013

The Impatient Virgin first appeared at The Mai-Kai’s Lost Cocktails Party in June 2013. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward)

The addition of both grenadine and fassionola give the drink a pink hue and intense sweetness. The original Impatient Virgin was indeed a “girly drink,” Mattei confirmed, and it has a distinctive color. Fassionola, an obscure bar syrup from the early days of tropical mixology, is used here much the same way as the similarly colored Tahitian Breeze. Used in small doses, it adds color but doesn’t alter the flavor.

Fassionola substitute: The intense red and fruity syrup is an old-school ingredient that’s rarely used today. The Atomic Grog endorses the Jonathan English brand that we found on eBay. But an easier solution is to mix equal parts of a dark, rich grenadine (Fee Brothers does the trick) and Smucker’s Red Raspberry Syrup.

Both fassionola and grenadine are necessary to achieve the full, rich flavor – much like the Cobra’s Kiss. In fact, this could be considered a mild version of that drink with that same combination of falernum, grenadine-fassionola, OJ and lime used to great effect.

Was the Impatient Virgin too similar to those other, more popular, cocktails to survive a menu purge in the 1980s? Perhaps. We’re just grateful it returned, undefiled, from the ranks of The Mai-Kai’s long-lost cocktails.

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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2 Responses to Lost Cocktails of The Mai-Kai: A little patience yields the resurrection of a vestal Virgin

  1. Timothy Falzon says:

    What’s your preference on a grenadine brand ?

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