Lost Cocktails of The Mai-Kai: Search for authentic recipe strikes Liquid Gold

Updated June 2017
See below: Ancestor recipe | Tribute recipe | Liquid Gold review
Related: Mai-Kai cocktail guide | More “lost cocktails” | Tropical drink family tree
Liquid Gold returns for Flashback Friday in June 2017

Most classic cocktails at the venerable Mai-Kai Polynesian restaurant – both existing and retired – are descendants of Prohibition-era Tiki bar pioneer Don the Beachcomber. But even when it’s clear which drink is the ancestor, it can become a challenge to pinpoint the correct version.

Beachcomber's Gold

This tendency of Don the Beachcomber namesake Donn Beach to create multiple versions of the same drink became a point of frustration for tropical drink historian and author Jeff “Beachbum” Berry as more and more historic recipes turned up. One of the most confusing cases is that of Beachcomber’s Gold. Berry devotes five pages in his 2010 book, Remixed, to this dilemma and explores three different recipes.

All three are authentic and represent different eras in Beach’s career. Our task was to find the one that was most likely known best by original Mai-Kai mixologist Mariano Licudine when he created the restaurant’s 1956-57 menu and a drink called Liquid Gold. We also sought the drink that fit The Mai-Kai’s distinctive cocktail style.

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