"What better way to prevent the ice cubes in a poolside mai tai from melting? What better way to keep that blended chi chi refreshingly slushy? Just as a good Panama hat, which is nothing but intelligently woven straw, can make the hottest tropical day seem pleasant, the cocktail umbrella, a little bit of split bamboo and pretty Japanese-print paper, can fight off solar radiation for a time, ensuring that the icy integrity of a good mixologist's creation remains intact. And look: it actually opens and closes like a real umbrella!--a transcendental feat which places the cocktail umbrella beyond the realm of mere appropriate technology (however brilliant) and into the realm of art alongside Frank Lloyd Wright's louvered window panels."Which may be why they've seemed so kitsch when presented indoors.
By the way, that particular mai tai in the photo is at Kimo's in Maui. If you want to call it the best mai tai in the world, you'd be in good company, as many others have. But I don't lavish lavish praise so lavishly. Nonetheless, I'm going to admit--that's a boat drink and a half.