Updated Jan. 30, 2019
Mahalo to everyone who turned out to our talk on Lemon Hart and Demerara rum, plus all the festivities at The Mai-Kai Takeover from the Magical Tiki Meet-Up and Retro Rekindled. The rum raffle raised $275 for the Humane Society of Broward County.
The Atomic Grog is joining forces with the Magical Tiki Meet-Up and Retro Rekindled for a special talk at The Mai-Kai on Saturday, Jan. 19: “Demerara Rum – The Mai-Kai’s Secret Weapon.” This event is sold out!
Here’s the schedule:
4 p.m. – Early entry for happy hour in The Molokai bar. Meet and greet, Demerara rum discussion and cocktails.
5 p.m. – Seating for dinner.
* Advance dinner show tickets include early entry and sample cocktails. Happy hour tickets were also offered separately.
* Facebook event
Attendees will enjoy two sample cocktails featuring sponsor Lemon Hart & Son rum, there will be a raffle to win a bottle of rum, plus an assortment of free goodies.
Everyone who bought tickets or RSVP’d will have their names listed at the door. Early entry and the sample drinks are included for those who signed up for dinner. For those attending happy hour only, there will be a $15 charge for the Demerara rum drinks, which will include a “lost cocktail” from the 1956 menu that is rarely served.
Among the topics we’ll cover:
* What is Demerara Rum?
* The History of Demerara Rum and Lemon Hart.
* Tiki arrives with Don the Beachcomber.
* The Mai-Kai, Mariano Licudine and mid-century Tiki.
* Mixology magic: Demerara Rum’s greatest hits.
* Lemon Hart at The Mai-Kai: Yesterday and today. Brand ambassador Miles Maximillian Vrahimis will also be on hand to answer questions.
If you’re not attending the dinner show, feel free to hang out for the remainder of happy hour and we’ll continue to discuss the finer points of Demerara Rum and The Mai-Kai’s historic cocktails. For a little background, check out this deep dive on the history of this distinctive rum:
* Rums from Guyana star in The Mai-Kai’s classic cocktails
Dinner guests are also invited to return to The Molokai after enjoying the The Mai-Kai’s Polynesian Islander Revue, the longest-running authentic South Seas stage show in the United States, including Hawaii. After happy hour, two cocktails remain half-priced all night: the Tahitian Breeze and K.O. Cooler.
Routinely voted the world’s No. 1 Tiki bar, The Mai-Kai features many drinks that follow the original secret recipes of tropical cocktail pioneer Don the Beachcomber, aka Donn Beach. The ground-breaking use of multiple rums, often featuring a 151 Demerara as the coup de grâce, was one of his greatest achievements.
Beach passed along this distinctive style to his top bartenders, including Mariano Licudine, The Mai-Kai’s legendary “Houdini of the Liquids.” After more than 15 years as the No. 2 bartender at Don the Beachcomber in Chicago, Licudine was tapped by owners Bob and Jack Thornton to head The Mai-Kai’s bar program when the restaurant opened in 1956.
Licudine retired in 1979 and owner Bob Thornton’s stake in The Mai-Kai was passed on to his family in 1989. Remarkably little has changed since then, however, and this is a good thing. Under the guidance of Thornton’s widow Mireille and her son, managing owner Dave Levy, the secret cocktail recipes with their distinctive rum profile remain virtually untouched.
Jim “Hurricane” Hayward has written extensively about The Mai-Kai and its historic cocktails on his blog, The Atomic Grog. The Mai-Kai Cocktail Guide features reviews and ratings of more than 60 drinks from menus past and present, plus an impressive list of more than 100 authentic, ancestor and tribute recipes. He has also presented sold-out symposiums and classes, such as “The Menus of The Mai-Kai: 60 Years of Tiki Cocktail History” at The Hukilau 2017 and “How to Mix Like The Mai-Kai” at The Hukilau 2018.
The Magical Tiki Meet-Up, led by Kari Ryan and Typhoon Tommy, hosted its first annual gathering of Tikiphiles at Disney World last April, followed by periodic events at The Mai-Kai. This year’s Disney World meetup is set for April 5-6.
* Social media links: Facebook | Instagram
Retro Rekindled is a monthly lecture series and gathering of South Florida’s vintage-loving community at The Mai-Kai, organized by Jupiter Jones with an eye toward small businesses and entrepreneurs. Jan. 19 is the second collaboration with the Magical Tiki Meet-Up.
* Social media links: Facebook | Instagram
More on The Atomic Grog
* The Mai-Kai updates bar menu, adds classic ‘lost’ cocktail
* Mai-Kai tropical drink family tree
* Tour of The Mai-Kai’s mysterious bars and kitchen (with photos)
* The Mai-Kai is here to stay: 10 reasons why we love the historic South Fla. 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.
* 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