The Third Annual Bacardi Mai Tai Festival was held at the Royal Kona Resort on August 12 and 13th where thirty contenders from Maui, Oahu, Hawaii, Slovakia, Las Vegas, and Seattle vied for the $10,000 cash prize to create the best Mai Tai. The components of the drink are fourfold: 1. rum based in spirits, 2. juice used as a binder, 3. there is a flavoring component such as orgeat or falernum, 4. finally there is a float, a layer of liquid usually spirit based, most commonly seen in the Mai Tai as a dark rum.There were 6 judges, Mick Fleetwood, Fleetwood on Front Street Restaurant; Sam Choy, Sam Choy Restaurants; Juan Coronado, Bacardi Brand Master; Beach Bum Berry, Rumologist; Manny Hinojosa, Corzo Brand Ambassador; and Chris Teves, Hawaii Beverage Magazine. Judging was determined by presentation, nose, palate, finish, balance, creativity, and true to form, with a total high score of 70 points available.
“It was great seeing all the bartenders representing different regions of the earth, it was an international competition with Hawaii, the mainland states, and Slovakia. The competitors really made it a great competition.” Said Manny Hinojosa.
1st Place Judges Choice: Christina Maffei from Trump International Waikiki created the Ilikea’s Mai Tai
1st Place Peoples Choice: Brice Ginardi from Okolemaluna created the No Ka Oi Mai Tai
Christina Maffei’s mai tai incorporated Bacardi 8, DiSarono Amaretto, Domain de Canton, roasted pineapple puree, and kaffir lime orange syrup into a highball glass topped with a Bacardi pineaple sorbet. Maffei has been with Trump International for 4 years starting in Chicago with 2 years in Waikiki. She says the emphasis in her beverages in Waikiki are liquid artistry, “all fresh ingredients, homemade items such as syrups and mixers, nothing pre made. We create each and every experience in a glass.”
“Christina’s presentation was beautiful, it made me fall in love with it,” said Coronado, “The cocktail had synergy, as the ice dilutes the sorbet adds to the chill. The aroma on the sorbet was incredible. This cocktail will start a conversation with the consumer.”
Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac will be opening his new restaurant Fleetwood on Front Street Restaurant in a few months, and was at the festival to be a Mai Tai judge. He treated attendees to a few guest stage appearances with Henry Kapono and the Spin Doctors. “The highlight for me was being invited by Gary Hogan and being around such a wonderful social event at The Royal Kona Resort. I loved seeing so many people enjoying themselves. And as such, really, the whole event was enjoyable. It was my pleasure to be part of it. I felt a sentimental connection to the the Wendy Agustin from Beverly Gannon’s Haliimaile General Store. I liked her presentation of her Mai Tai in a pineapple.”