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Mango Mai Tai Madness

Maui Pineapple Co.’s “Pineapple and Mango Rum Cocktail” from “The New-Wave Mai Tai” (Photo by David Croxford)

We’re beginning to see mangoes popping up at the farmers’ markets and in the grocery stores…mango season is right around the corner! And what better use for this great local fruit (besides eating them fresh and plain, of course!) than making cocktails?

The New-Wave Mai Tai features at least a dozen recipes using mango purée or mango rum. We can already hear you mai tai purists complaining, “There’s no mango in a mai tai!” Well, yes, the classic mai tai recipe—whether you believe it the creation of Don the Beachcomber or Trader Vic—doesn’t add any fancy fruit purées or flavored rums. But The New-Wave Mai Tai is about celebrating the mai tai and pays tribute to the classic cocktail, using it as a base for over 50 creative new drinks invented by bartenders across the Islands. (And both the original Don the Beachcomber and Trader Vic recipes are included.)

Here we share three mad-for-mango mai tai recipes for you, but you can get your own copy of this collection of innovative recipes at our online store. (By the way, The New-Wave Mai Tai is one of our 2-for-$25 cookbook deal selections.)

Cheers to creative cocktailing, and enjoy responsibly!

Pineapple and Mango Rum Cocktail

by the Maui Pineapple Co.

2½ small ripe mangoes, peeled and cubed (about 2 cups)
4 oz. golden rum
½ c. water
4 c. fresh pineapple juice (about the amount obtained from a 4½-lb. pineapple)

Purée mangoes, rum and water in a blender. Pour two ounces of purée into each of six 12-ounce glasses. Fill glasses with ice and top off with pineapple juice. Garnish with slices of fresh mango and star fruit. Yield: Six 12-ounce drinks.

Mai Tai Madness

by Planet Hollywood Honolulu

1½ oz. Cruzan Mango Rum
4 oz. mango purée
Splash of pineapple juice
Splash of guava juice
½ oz. DeKuyper Strawberry Passion Schnapps

Mix all ingredients, except the schnapps, with ice in a blender. Pour into a 14-ounce glass and top with schnapps. Garnish with a pineapple wedge and a maraschino cherry.

Mango’d Mai Tai Blues

Hukilau Sports Bar & Grill's “Mango’d Mai Tai Blues” from “The New-Wave Mai Tai” (Photo by David Croxford)

by Hukilau Sports Bar & Grill

1 oz. mango purée
1 oz. rum
½ oz. coconut rum
2 oz. pineapple juice
2 oz. orange juice
8 fresh blueberries
1 oz. sour mix
½ oz. dark rum

Pour the mango purée in a 12-ounce glass. Put rum, coconut rum, juices, five blueberries and sour mix in a shaker tin with ice. Shake vigorously. Gently empty contents into glass and float dark rum on top. Garnish with an orchid and remaining three blueberries.

Telling Stories on Pele’s Turf

Christine Thomas (left) and Darien Gee at Kona Stories bookstore. Photo courtesy Christine Thomas.

Christine Thomas, editor of Don’t Look Back, and  nationally best-selling author Darien Gee (aka Mia King)—one of the anthology’s contributors—presented a series of readings and signings on the Big Island of Hawai‘i last month.

The duo made stops in Kona, Hilo and Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park to read excerpts from their stories and talk to the gathered audiences about the experience of re-inventing ancient Hawaiian myths. Students at Waiakea High School in Hilo debated whether myths should be left alone or if modernizing was acceptable during a special visit to the school by the two authors. Student journalist Nicolyn Charlot reported in the Ka Leo o Waiakea:*

Some students thought that the stories should be left alone, while others approved, saying that the modern interpretation is a good thing. Gee went on to say that the stories were not necessarily rewritten, but that the old characters had merely been put into different situations. “Who they are never changes,” Gee said in response to those concerned with the alterations.

A recap of events and some thoughts from anthology editor Christine Thomas:

Being able to introduce DON’T LOOK BACK to Hawai‘i Island readers was a joy and a pleasure, and to spend time talking about writing and stories with energetic and generous contributor Darien Gee (aka Mia King). The journey started out with a great message of protection as a Pue‘o flew in front of my car three times on the day of our first event at Basically Books in Hilo. I could get lost for hours in this gem of a store, and thoroughly enjoyed reading excerpts and talking story with an intimate and engaged group who were inspired by the stories so much that I think many planned to go home and get to work on their own project.

Our next event was on the Kona side at Kona Stories—a fabulous alternative to the now defunct Borders on Henry Street. The crowd was very expressive (always great to get real time feedback to your stories) and asked many interesting questions—including one that echoed at other events: will there be a sequel? That got my gears turning!

On the last day of our tour, we had the opportunity to speak to a group of students at Hilo’s Waiakea High School—9th grade English, Hawaiian language, and a mathematics class. Since one of my goals in putting together this collection was to inspire younger generations to read myths, explore Hawaiian culture in more depth, and connect to creativity and writing, I was so happy that librarian Gloria Kobayashi invited us to read from our stories and inspire kids to write and tell their own stories from their unique perspectives.

Later that evening we headed to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park for their After Dark in the Park event in the visitors center. Talking about myth in the home of THE goddess, Pele, who is so revered and respected in the collection that she appears five times, seemed so appropriate, and almost chicken-skin inducing. It was the perfect end to our tour!

Darien Gee also sent us her take on the tour, and what she loves about storytelling and meeting the readers:

Writing can be a solitary process so being able to meet readers and talk story is one of the highlights of my profession. It was wonderful to spend time with so many enthusiastic readers who not only loved the stories in Don’t Look Back but wanted to explore what storytelling and myth were really about. For me, it’s all about connection and how we’re connected with things both seen and unseen. It’s about understanding the layers beneath the story, about the story speaking to different  people in different ways. We were blessed to have such supportive booksellers and hosts, not to mention a publisher who understands that a book is more than mere words on a page, and values and supports the writers and editors who help make it happen.

We are so grateful to Darien for all her help on the tour and her willingness to get up early and drive around that big Big Island to visit bookstores with Christine! Be sure to check out her novels: Friendship Bread, Table Manners, Sweet Life and Good Things (the latter three are published under her pen name, Mia King).

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*Note: Charlot incorrectly states in her article that Don’t Look Back is Gee’s anthology; the collection was conceived and edited by Christine Thomas.

Martin Charlot’s Aulani Mural

Native Hawaiian woman, styled after contemporary images Charlot found by artists during the time of first contact.

Artist Martin Charlot (Local Traffic Only) spent two years working on a stunning 200-foot mural for the lobby of the new Disney Aulani Resort at Ko Olina. This work of art is a tribute to Hawaiian history and culture; in keeping with Martin’s style, the mural is comprised of many tiny scenes woven together into a large masterpiece, imbued with multiple stories and layers of meaning. Martin’s work on this mural is another chapter in the Charlot family’s history with Disney: In the late 1930s, his father, muralist Jean Charlot, “wrote one of the first serious critical essays about animation as an art form, claiming that animation was a continuation of the great mural traditions of Europe and that Disney animators were the masters of this art form.” (Source: Aulani Fact Sheet)

Pacific Edge Magazine did an article on the art of Aulani and included a lovely photo that gives you a great sense of the scope of Martin’s mural.

We asked Martin to share his thoughts on the experience of working on the Aulani lobby mural:

There is always a little magic in the process of landing a mural job of any size. This was a large mural job, so it’s fitting that Disney, with all their association with magical wonder, brought it to me.

Working with the Disney team was very gratifying for me. My father, Jean Charlot, lectured to the Disney artists when he was a young man and made lifetime friends. I enjoyed meeting these artists when we would visit them in rare trips from Hawai‘i to Hollywood when I was a child. Hugging the tentacles of the octopus that battled with Capt. Nemo was the ultimate in cool to me.

Now, here was my chance to work with my generation’s Disney team. The Disney Imagineers hired me as an independent artist and, after the content of what they wanted in the mural was agreed upon, they left me alone to create.

We were in complete agreement on half the mural. I wanted the entire painting to depict the Hawaiian culture before Captain Cook discovered the islands, but Joe Rhode, who headed the project and had hired me, was set in his desire to have the makai (ocean) side of the mural reflect modern Hawai‘i.  Working with your client is what you do when you are a muralist, so I found a way to bring the past and present together in this single work.

Time was the very real pressure that ruled my artistic output. I had miniature canvases on which I had planned to design the mural composition. But when all 24 full-size stretched canvas panels were delivered to my studio, I felt a click go off in my brain. It was like a stopwatch ticking, telling me there was no time for sketches of the mural composition. Meeting the deadline meant painting every day from morning to night, no time to sketch, no time to doodle, just paint and paint again. Every day was an artist’s dream: to be free to do my thing, painting, over and over again. That meant trusting my instincts, running on automatic every day. I loved it.

Forty years of living in the Islands left me with years of images, years of memories. I knew what each tree and fern felt like.  In Fiji, I had hunted wild boar with spears; on the Big Island, I had hunted them with a camera and rifles. The first panel I painted depicted ancient Hawaiians catching birds and hunting boar.

I had a list of pre-Captain Cook Hawaiian work occupations, what men did and what women did, and as I painted them into the mural I would check each ancient responsibility off the list. There were easily enough tasks to cover a mural three times the size of the Aulani work.

My hope was always to give the viewer the sense of living in another time. I studied drawings and watercolors by artists who saw and painted Hawaiian culture from life. I stared at every little squiggle, wanting to know what it meant. One interesting thing I noticed: The Hawaiians were very fashion conscious. The women’s hair styles at the time of first contact were very short,  and bleached in the front; men were very creative with mohawks and half beards. You’ll see some of these stylish folk in the mural.

As friends from Hawai‘i would visit me at my Burbank studio, I would photograph them for the mural so I could paint their likeness in, as I did with my Local Traffic Only composition, which hangs in the Kaneohe McDonald’s. I also relied on my collection of photos from my years in Hawai‘i to populate the painting with real faces.  Image by image, I stitched together the full mural.

And that brain clock was right on: I finished the Aulani mural, after two years of work, just one week before it had to be sent to Hawai‘i for installation.

I hope you enjoy it. Look closely when you visit it; there’s always something new to notice.

With Aloha,

Martin Charlot

 

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