Updated June 2019
A new cocktail menu made its debut on May 17 in The Molokai bar at The Mai-Kai, marking first update to the classic tropical drink lineup since 2014.
Related: The Okole Maluna Society: The Mai-Kai Cocktail Guide | See all 100+ recipes
The front and back covers are now blue, replacing the previous yellow. The centerspread featuring the classic tropical drinks remains the same color, and the entire menu has a matte finish (instead of the old laminated, shiny menu).
The rum and wine lists are also updated …
There’s one major addition on the list of 47 tropical classics: An old-school standard based on a secret Mariano Licudine recipe that was never on the standard menu before …
The Suffering Bastard has been featured on several “lost cocktail” menus, most recently during the 61st anniversary party in December. [Click here for an updated tribute recipe]
It replaces the Tiki Swizzle, a more recent creation that was added during the last menu update in 2014.
Owner Dave Levy shows off the new menu. (Facebook photo)
There’s one other menu change if you look hard enough. The Mai-Kai Cappuccino has returned from the dessert menu, replacing the Wahine Delight. Both remain on the dining room dessert menu.
Also, note that all of the cocktails that feature signature mugs (Mara-Amu, Shrunken Skull, Kona Coffee Grog, Tahitian Coffee, Hot Buttered Rum and Mystery Drink) can be purchased in the bar and dining room with or without the mug (a recent enhancement). You can still buy the mugs separately in The Mai-Kai Trading Post, both in person and online:
* Click here to order
The Mai-Kai’s cocktails (and menu) have gone through periodic changes during the more than 61 years since the restaurant launched in December 1956 in Fort Lauderdale. But the longevity and historic nature of the bar’s iconic exotic libations have made the menus a subject of study for Tiki historicans including Jeff “Beachbum” Berry and Tim “Swanky” Glazner.
For more in-depth stories on the restaurant and its fascinating history, pick up Glazner’s 2016 book, Mai-Kai: History and Mystery of the Iconic Tiki Restaurant. In February, Beachbum Berry’s Sippin’ Safari, the groundbreaking 2007 book that includes a chapter on The Mai-Kai and master mixologist Mariano Licudine, was reissued as a greatly enhanced 10th anniversary hardcover edition featuring newly uncovered historic recipes (including some by Licudine). Both books are essential reading and key components of any Tiki enthusiast’s library.
At The Hukilau 2017, guests enjoyed the symposium and slideshow Menus of The Mai-Kai: 60 years of Tiki cocktail history, which included all the menu updates over the years, along with the origins of the many classic tropical drinks originated by Don the Beachcomber in the 1930s and still served at The Mai-Kai today. We’ll soon be posting an online version of this presentation, bringing the history up to date with the latest changes.
June 2019 update: Here’s a recent scan of the new menu. Okole maluna!
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.
* Official site | Trading Post | Twitter
* Facebook: Official page | Friends of The Mai-Kai group
* Instagram: Restaurant | The Molokai bar | Trading Post
* Mai-Kai history: Book and official website | Facebook page
* Google Maps: Explore The Mai-Kai in 3-D
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