You can’t be a bartender in Hawaii with out knowing the Mai Tai. While some may despise the drink, others are willing to turn it into a creative outlet which I bore witness to at last week’s Mai Tai Mix Off preliminary competition at the Royal Lahaina. Ten bartenders went head to head in five seven minute rounds with their own personal recipes. The top three competitors will get a place at the Second Annual Don the Beachcomber Mai Tai Festival held on August 14 at the Royal Kona Resort.
Burdened with the hard job of tasting and scoring, judges Joey Gottesman, Better Brands, who also emceed the rounds, Eric Gilliom, Barefoot Natives, Sommer Meyer, Bacardi and Chuck Bergson of Pacific Radio Group did the major lifting.
The Competitors and their drinks:
Wendy Augustine, Tai Mai, Haliimaile General Store, Makawao, HI
Blair Anderson, Kamaaina Mai Tai, Mala Ocean Tavern, Lahaina, HI
Dia Asada, Summertime Mai Tai, The Fairmont Kealani, Wailea, HI
Sasanna Babashoff, “3 Tai”, Three’s Bar and Grill, Kihei, HI
Ryan Burden, Kipona Aloha- Mai Tai, Mala Ocean Tavern, Lahaina, HI
Jeff Felice, Maita’i roa ae, Westin KOR, Lahaina, HI
Joel Flack, Full Boat, Royal Lahaina & Maui Brewing Co, Lahaina, HI
Julie Henson, Maihitotiatini, Kahele’s Beach Club, Kihei, HI
Jason Kashtan, Mai Tai Flip, Canoe’s Restaurant, Lahaina, HI
Eric Martinez, POG Tai, Four Season’s Maui, Wailea, HI
Ricky Supnet, The Peoples Mai Tai, Royal Lahaina, HI