Jeff Berry brings on the paternity test, a bit like an episode of Maury but for cocktails. In a scandalous twist, there are three potential fathers laying claim to the Mai Tai (pronounced May-tay. Yes, you’ve been saying it wrong.)
Despite his self-admittedly dated references, Mr Berry talks the audience through the suburban dominance of Tiki culture before their astonished faces, mostly at the accompanying attire.
Thanks to the Tiki obsessions of Idaho and Iowa, it became a matter of some importance to be the originator said drink. So, we have:
In the red corner: Trader Vic and his Misleading Lifestyle. The self-styled buccaneer was apparently scared of bugs and hated the heat. Nevertheless, TV took his influences seriously and fashioned a brand that still trundles on. He claimed to have invented it in 1944. In an afternoon. He was the legally-recognised originator until the 1970s. And, kind of, by the near-end of the lecture.
In the blue corner: Don the Beachcomber and his Rum Rhapsodies. Sneered at by Vic until after his death, Myer’s Planation Rum in the recipe saves the day! Kind of! But not really! Via a sitcom situation where hilarity ensues!
In not really a corner: Harry Owens and his Questionable Theft Tactics. Well, he had a big band and therefore a big band to pay, so claiming he invented the Mai Tai bought in the clams, press and, presumably, all the women he could drink. His claims to have invented it at the Surf Bar in 1954, a decidedly shaky story since the drink was already on the menu in that venue by 1953.
The upshot: it was some guy called Mick. Or Vic stole the wrong drink. Or it was Vic all along. I forget, now. We were all at least two drinks in.
Oh, and JB’s Mai Tai went to the audience member with the loudest shirt. Cheers, Rocky.