Oh My! Mai Tai


I’m not a huge fan of mai tais, but I am a fan of alcohol. After being a nightlife writer for so long, and taste-testing my way through two Best Bars issues and numerous bar hops for this blog, my palate has trained itself to know what drinks are good and which ones need help. So, when I spot a new or interesting drink that I haven’t tried, then I’m guaranteed to order it.

I visited Tropics Bar and Grill a few weeks ago. It is relatively new, located at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. The design reminds me of RumFire—there’s even a fire pit—but the view cannot compete with the Sheraton’s. The Tropics’ food menu, on the other hand, offers a larger variety with some yummy surprises. I ordered the glazed chicken wings with spicy teriyaki sauce ($13) and the Tropics burger with fries ($15). The wings were very good and could probably compete with Buffalo Wild Wings across the street. The burger was large and juicy stacked with all the essentials—yes, I needed a doggy bag.

Taking a look at the drink menu, they had all the tropical drinks as expected at a hotel bar in Waikiki, the lava flow, a watermelon mojito and the blue Hawaii. At the top of the menu, the mai tais caught my eye. There were two, a mai tai($10) and a mai tai ’54 ($12). The mai tai ’54 was even highlighted on the menu in a large box and cost two dollars more.

“What is the difference between the two mai tais?” I asked the bartender.

“The mai tai ‘54 is much stronger,” he said. So, I answered, “I’ll have that one!”

I watched the bartender as he poured Myer’s platinum rum, orange curacao, some lime juice and topped it off with a float of Myer’s dark rum into a tall glass. After two sips from the straw, I realized that this is probably the strongest mai tai ever made! I couldn’t dare to finish it, being two o’clock in the afternoon, but I did enjoy the taste and my curiosity was satisfied.

Although it may not be often that I visit the Hilton Hawaiian Village’s Tropics Bar again, I’ll always remember it for that mai tai. And, when my friends are ready, one night we’ll try to tackle it again.

Tropics Bar and Grill
Hilton Hawaiian Village
Alii Tower, beachfront
Open daily 7 a.m. to 10 a.m., and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.