Mai-Kai cocktail review: Bring a friend and sink your teeth into the classic Sidewinder’s Fang

Updated September 2015
See below: Our Sidewinder’s Fang review | Ancestor recipe
Related: Mai-Kai cocktail guide

The Sidewinder's Fang, which dwarfs the potent Barrel O' Rum, is designed to be shared by two or more. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward, March 2015)
The Sidewinder’s Fang, which dwarfs the potent Barrel O’ Rum, is designed to be shared by two or more. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward, March 2015)

It may sound and look intimidating, but the whopping Sidewinder’s Fang is the perfect cocktail for a couple to share while enjoying a romantic evening at Fort Lauderdale’s landmark Mai-Kai Polynesian restaurant. Typically served in a giant snifter, it’s a fun and accessible cocktail that should appeal to newcomers and tropical drink aficionados alike.

The distinctive snifter is sometimes in short supply, so you may receive this giant cocktail in two separate glasses (see photo). But it’s been a long time since we’ve noticed a shortage of glasses, so this unique cocktail experience will live on exactly as it has for some 50 years. The Mai-Kai is one of the few restaurants in the world to use this rare 48-ounce glass.

The cocktail itself is a classic communal Tiki drink, dominated by fruit juices and similar to the Mystery Drink, just not quite as complex. Many Polynesian restaurants served a Sidewinder’s Fang when exotic drinks flourished in the mid-century, but it’s unclear who invented it.

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