A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg
A lot of places slap the label “famous” onto a cocktail, but Chuck’s Famous Mai Tai is one “famous” libation that’s ready for a “legendary” label.
It’s not quite as good as a trip to Maui, but it’s pretty darn close.
Chuck’s of Hawaii (3888 State St., 805/687-4417) makes its own super special secret saucy Mai Tai mix—I don’t know what the proportions of orange, pineapple and limes are in there, but I do know that when mixed with three different rums (and always a red Maraschino cherry, lemon, green Maraschino cheery, orange skewer) this marvelous Mai Tai is guaranteed to put you in an island state of mind.
And it’s good for you too. Now that scientists have proven that Fruity Cocktails Count as Health Food, there can be no doubt that all of those post-PTA-meeting Mai Tai’s I’ve consumed at Chuck’s over the years were all in the name of Vitamin C.
Chuck’s has been our family’s celebratory place since I was a kid. It opened in 1967, and the salad bar and terra-cotta wine-jug menus still look just the same as ones in my faded 6th grade graduation photos. My mom got the Mai Tai’s back then. I still remember the warm glow on her face, and thinking how pretty her drink was when she let me steal a sip.
Little did I know that decades later I’d be the one drinking Chuck’s Famous Mai Tai’s.
Luckily the restaurant’s now walking distance from my house.
As I said before, one Mai Tai is guaranteed to put you in an island state of mind, but two guarantees you’ll be ready for a conga line, even if you have to start it yourself! Cheers!
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When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie considers herself a “goal-oriented drinker.”