Margarita, Sazerac, Caesar, Manhattan, Mojito and Mai Tais are iconic cocktails that quench your thirst and epitomise the city and country from which they were created. As I am in Hawaii I feel it is my duty to sample as many of this classic cocktail as possible. You may think that every Mai Tai is created equal but you are wrong. They all contain rum, citrus juices and some contain Grenadine while others Triple Sec. The Mai Tai is a classic that can be made many ways based on your preferences. It may have been first created in California but the Mai Tai is a distinctly Polynesian inspired drink and I am on the hunt to find the best Maui Mai Tai available on Kaanapali Beach. It is a tough job but someone has to do it.
#1 My journey begins at the Westin Maui where Bartender Junior makes his award winning No Ka ‘Oi Mai Tai for me. This is without a doubt my favourite, While it has plenty of Pineapple and Orange juice and simple syrup for sweetness I find it to be incredibly balanced and could quite easily drink these all day long. Three rums also add to the flavour profile, a Cruzan Pineapple Rum, Cruzan Coconut Rum and it is topped with Old Lahaina Dark Rum. Taste aside it is absolutely gorgeous and with the crushed ice, it resembles a pineapple in my opinion. Watch Junior make me once.
#2 At a very close second and fit for a wedding is the Royal Lahaina Mai Tai made at the Royal Lahaina Resort. Garnished with a wedge of pineapple an umbrella and an Orchid this Mai Tai will have you thinking warm breezes and sunshine. My best Maui Mai Tai drinking companion actually rated this his number one pick.
#3 The Sheraton Maui offers a variety of Mai Tais for you to try. I sampled two different versions and fell in love with the one named after longtime bartender. Is there anything better than sipping on a Mai Tai while floating in the pool at the Sheraton Maui? If there is I have yet to discover it.
#4 A visit to Kaanapali isn’t complete without lunch or dinner at Leilani’s on the Beach. I have eaten here many times and it is a favourite place of mine, but the Mai Tai is a bit too sweet for me. The juices are pressed fresh each day and the rums are plentiful, but it is just a tad too sweet for my taste buds. One of these is all I can handle. I love the Tiki glass though.
#5 Dukes Beach House offers a classic Hawaiian experience. The food is great and the atmosphere fun, especially when live music is playing. However, this was my least favourite of the best Maui Mai Tais that I tasted. Way too sweet for me. Great presentation and plenty of citrus and rum, just too sweet. In fact, I couldn’t finish mine.
The one place I have left off this list I really wanted to try out was Hula Grill. They claim to have the best Maui Mai Tai, but I was unable to get a table as my timing was always a little off. I will make this my first stop on my next visit.
Do you agree with my rankings? To each, their own and the glory of having so many choices available is that you can try them all, which I highly encourage you to do! A day without a Mai Tai in Hawaii is like a day without sunshine and may the sun shine forever! Aloha.