In 1959, Fort Lauderdale’s Mai-Kai restaurant won a national cocktail competition with the Derby Daiquiri, which went on to become the official drink of the Gulfstream racetrack’s $100,000 Florida Derby. A special glass was created for the “$100,000 Drink,” with a golden stem in the shape of a jockey. The Mai-Kai once stocked hundreds of these glasses, but half a century later they’ve all disappeared. Not even the Mai-Kai’s current general manager, Kern Mattei, could dig one up when we asked him about the glass last year.
Enter Florida resident Rob Ripley, alias “Gator Rob,” who recently found an original Derby Daiquiri cocktail glass on eBay. Tikiphiles have been searching for the glass there for years … in the wrong category, as it turns out. “Unless they’re in the know, if someone lists one of these on eBay, they’re not really going to know what its history is,” Gator told us. “I was pretty shocked that nobody else jumped on it. It pretty much flew under the radar. I did take it to the Mai-Kai this weekend and I showed it to Kern. He was pretty surprised to see one!”
After the show-and-tell session, Gator repaired to the bar, finally fulfilling his mission to “enjoy a Derby Daiquiri at the Mai-Kai in the right glass.” (Photo of glass in situ above.)
Ho’omaka’il, Mr. Ripley!