More than 100 Tiki explorers took a trip through time, from 1956 to the present day, via the lavish tropical drink menus of the world famous Mai-Kai restaurant in Fort Lauderdale during The Hukilau on Sunday, June 11. “The Menus of The Mai-Kai: 60 Years of Tiki Cocktail History” was an interactive slideshow presentation that examined vintage menus and traced the chronology of the legendary cocktails at this acclaimed mid-century landmark.
Rare “lost cocktails” from the early menus were served as journalist/mixologist Jim “Hurricane” Hayward of The Atomic Grog blog presented a rum-fueled history lesson on the evolution of dozens of influential cocktails still served today at The Mai-Kai using their original secret recipes.
* Hayward’s blog profile | About The Atomic Grog | Interview with Hurricane Hayward
This special event in The Mai-Kai’s main dining room will took place at 1:30 p.m. as part of The Hukilau’s final day of festivities. The party started at noon in The Molokai bar with live surf music by Skinny Jimmy Stingray and three special “lost cocktails” from The Mai-Kai’s 1956 menu. The Hukilau’s villagers enjoyed drinks and classic pu-pu appetizers all day while Skinny Jimmy performed several high-energy sets, keeping the dance floor hopping. This rare daytime event at The Mai-Kai was exclusive for attendees of The Hukilau.
MORE HUKILAU LIVE COVERAGE: Recap, news, photos and video
Attendees learned about the history of the cocktails in Hurricane Hayward’s symposium and got a chance to enjoy the historic Mai-Kai (named to the National Register of Historic Places in 2014) in a relaxed and laid-back final day of The Hukilau.
The Atomic Grog’s Mai-Kai Cocktail Guide
* More on the “lost cocktails,” plus 100 vintage and tribute recipes
The Hukilau, now in its 16th year, is the East Coast’s largest and most authentic Tiki and Polynesian Pop event. It featured five days of live music and entertainment, educational symposiums, exclusive parties in unique settings, rum and cocktail tastings, dozens of vendors selling retro-themed art and merchandise, plus pop-up bars featuring some of the world’s top Tiki mixologists. Besides The Mai-Kai, events took place at the host hotel, the Hyatt Regency Pier 66, as well as The Wreck Bar at the B Ocean Resort.
Other symposiums included “The Mai-Kai’s Untold Stories” with Tim “Swanky” Glazner on Friday and “Nautical Tiki” with Mike Skinner on Saturday at Pier 66. Swanky’s presentation included a number of Mai-Kai legends.
* Buy the book: Mai-Kai: History and Mystery of the Iconic Tiki Restaurant
The Mai-Kai is at 3599 N. Federal Highway in Fort Lauderdale, on the west side between Commercial and Oakland Park boulevards. Call (954) 563-3272 for more information or to make dinner reservations. Valet and paid self-parking.
* MaiKai.com | Facebook page | Instagram
* Friends of The Mai-Kai Facebook group
* Google Maps: Explore The Mai-Kai in 3-D
The Atomic Grog on The Mai-Kai
* The Mai-Kai is here to stay: 10 reasons why we love the historic restaurant
* The Okole Maluna Society: The Mai-Kai Cocktail Guide
* The Mai-Kai turns 60 with special history presentations, celebration
* New giant carved Tiki added to The Mai-Kai’s outdoor garden
* A hauntingly good time at historic Mai-Kai’s 8th annual Hulaween party
* ‘King Kai’ leads procession of new Tikis into The Mai-Kai
* Historic Mai-Kai celebrated, new cocktail menu unveiled at anniversary party
* Heeeeeeere’s the rich history and lost stories of The Mai-Kai
* Tour of The Mai-Kai’s mysterious bars and kitchen (with photos)
* Interview with manager Kern Mattei
* More Mai-Kai history | All Mai-Kai posts