And the challenges continues…just a quick post on the last one, which is my all time favorite tiki drink, the good old Mai Tai……
And perfect for this challenge I happened to have a very special rum mix just waiting to be used…it`s a mix of six rums that was barrel aged for six months in an oak barrel and was made by Oriol Elías over at Three of Strong as an experiment, and with that I made a 1944 Trader Vic´s Mai Tai.
And the taste? well, I put it among the best Mai Tais I ever had….and I have had very many!! and the rums? Lemon Hart 151 and Lemon Hart overproof Jamaican…St James Royal Ambre Rhum Agricole…Appleton 8, Plantation 3 Stars and Myer`s Jamaican…
The result is nothing but spectacular in this Mai Tai…
If you want to get the ratios for making this rum blend head over to Three of Strong and write him a message. It`s his blend of barrel aged rums that made this Mai Tai to taste so amazingly good!
The fun thing with these challenges is that it´s not that serious, it´s all for the fun and you are free to experiment and come up with any kind of wild creations 🙂
So this is 2 oz of the Mai Tai rum blend, 0.5 oz Ferrand Dry Curacao, 0.25 oz each of orgeat and sugarcane syrup, juice of 1 lime, shaken and served with crushed ice.
The other Mai Tai I made was also Trader Vic`s recipe, a double, with 1 oz Denizen Rum Merchant`s Reserve, 1 oz Blackwell Rum and 2 oz Rum Nation Caroni with a float of Cruzan Blackstrap and then I decided to give it a wild garnish….. (pic on top of this post)
I`d suggest you head over to Instagram to #maitaichallenge2015 for inspiration…at least I get inspired by looking at how other people makes their drinks 🙂 and don`t forget to follow @el_nova_1
Here are only a few of the mouth watering Mai Tais that were submitted for the challenge, for your inspiration:
Picture credit to the owners of the pics in the Mai Tai parade….! Cheers!
Recipe from Jeff Berry`s Tiki app – Total Tiki! (for Iphone and Ipad) get it here.
And so i went to the Tiki Oasis in San Diego, it was my first trip there and as a lover of all things tiki it was of course a blast! i headed over from New Orleans and went on a road trip with Mark Holt and Bryan & Joanne from the Lost Spirits Rum.
Tiki Oasis is probably the biggest tiki event in the world and is essentially one giant rum/tiki and booze party! – filled with elaborately “garnished” people because not only the tiki drinks are garnished but the people also 🙂
Hawaiian shirts, tropical muu muus and dresses, hats and fezzes. There were vintage cat’s eye glasses, beehive hair, coconut purses, flower leis and pineapple tiaras.
Held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in San Diego, this is a annual weekender event, starting on the thursday at the Bali Hai Restaurant and then friday to sunday at the Crowne Plaza.
I liked the hotel, it has beautiful surroundings and the food and service was great and reasonably priced and it had a very tropical tiki-ish vibe.
During the day there´s a whole lot of activities, a lot of them around the pool and stage area with live bands, contests, marketplaces, hula courses, arts and crafts, book signings, symposiums, fashion shows, Miss Tiki Oasis, burlesque dancers, surf guitar classes and the list goes on, there was a LOT to do! and the marketplace is really fun! so filled with fantastic creations of all sorts.
I was especially happy about that you could get fresh flower leis, which is something i been dreaming about for years!!
Tiki Oasis 13 included:
One Miss Tiki Oasis
One helicopter fly-over
16 Disc Jockeys
18 Burlesque stars
25 artists in art show
30+ Cars in car show
450+ hotel rooms
At night, there was live music and entertainment on the stage and then there was the room parties…
At least 10 parties going on at the same time in rooms and suites which all had their own themes from “Hula Hut” to “Tiki Hell” – the latter an “anti-tiki” type of thing…and all about all having fun, which we had indeed…that room was crazy fun! and i laughed when i saw the man sized paper figure of Ron Jeremy beside the stage..
The rooms and parties had some funny names too or how about “Booze and Brews Blowout Room” or “Jane Bond – The Spy Who Loved Tiki Party Room” or “Munster Monster Mash Party” or “RUM-ble in the Jungle Room”?
Ron Jeremy is watching you…
And so judging the room parties and the cocktails you`re supposed to pick the best cocktail, the best room and suite parties and the best room and suite decors. The cocktail i had no problem in the world to pick…Kahuna Kevin´s Headless Zombie in the Pixie’s Hula Hut swept them all…some came closer than others but none close enough…but the rest was a little bit more tricky because there were many rooms and suites that was great!
I was happy to see that his cocktail also won and you can find the recipe for the Headless Zombie in Kahuna Kevin`s first book “Why is the Rum Gone?”, you can find it here.
Picture by Kahuna Kevin
So the result of the contest after all the judges cast their votes is this:
Best Cocktail – Pixie’s Hula Hut
Best Decorated Suite – Deadhead Rum
Best Decorated Room – Ballast Point
Best Suite Party – Casba’sh Molikai’s Room
Best Room Party – Temptress Fashion
I made it to only two symposiums this time…but they were good!
The Bitter Side of Tiki – with Ram Udwin and sponsored by Ballast Point
Bitters and tinctures aid home and professional bartenders in bringing balance and zest to their cocktails – adding perhaps the perfect final element to a well-crafted tiki libation. In this class, you will get an introduction to cocktail bitters, their history and how they are made. The class will culminate with a discussion on the how and why of using bitters in creating complex and delicious tiki drinks.
Ram Udwin is a bitters maker, a booze blogger and a cocktail man, dedicated to the study and better enjoyment of spirited libations.
I have been a fan of Ram Udwin`s Serrano Cocktail Spice since he made them and i looked forward to his symposium on bitters in tiki drinks. He took us through the history, purpose and use of bitters in general, how they were used as medicine at first and then how they added spice and character to cocktails and also became the backbone to many tiki drinks.
He brought his grapefruit bitters and serrano cocktail spice to try plus his new soon upcoming passionfruit bitters which i really like a lot. If you wanna read more on his cocktail spice and bitters and maybe purchase them too here´s where to go.
The serrano cocktail spice is really amazing, a few drops of it can change a cocktail entirely adding a lively vibrant kick and I love it, especially in cocktails with citrus juices like lime and grapefruit and it’s fantastic in tequila and rum drinks.
No rum related event without Martin Cate right? from New Orleans, Stockholm, London and San Diego…i see Martin everywhere and his seminars/symposiums are ALWAYS great and have a high entertaining factor.
When you sit down at one of his symposiums you just KNOW it gonna be a good time and great learning and no matter how much you know about rums….there is always more to learn.
Can you spy yourself in this picture? (i see me, Joanne and Bryan 🙂 thanks Baby-Doe von Stroheim for this magnificient picture of the crowd at Martin`s Rum Revolution symposium!
The rums featured that we tasted were these: Angostura No. 1, Denizen Merchant Reserve, Privateer Rum, Penny Blue XO, Owney`s NYC Rum, Rhum Clement Select Barrel, Real Mc Coy 5 yo and Lost Spirits Navy Style Rum.
Co-Sponsored by Lost Spirits, Owney’s, The Real McCoy, Penny Blue and Rhum Clement.
Martin took us through the tasting and the rums, the history of McCoy, the theory about the Martinique rum part in Trader Vic`s Mai Tai being molasses based rum rather than agricole based as believed before in an entertaining symposium.
This was my first experience of a great Tiki Oasis! and i met quite a few other first timers too! plus others that i have known from before. BIG Mahalo to Otto and Baby doe, and EVERY ONE who made this event happening, it was a blast!
Countdown to TO 15 is starting…
Here is a picture parade of the Tiki Oasis and from our road trip:
The Crowne Plaza and the pool area, full with music, people, food, drinks and vendors…we loved to sit down there at night for a while with a cocktail after the room crawls.
Room Crawl in the Hula Hut, picture by Crystal Lee
Tiki Hell Room Party, picture by Mark Holt, this room party was WILD!!
The Headless Zombie, picture by Kahuna Kevin
Beautiful lovely fresh flower leis…it´s a special feeling wearing one.
I bought a ti-leaf lei and took it home…because they can be dried and last forever..so it now adorns my home tiki bar. The fresh lei i also got i brought with me back to New Orleans and gave to a good friend 🙂
I should of bought one of those hibiscus signs, they are beautiful..
I also met my friends Scott Taylor and Rob Hawes for the first time, i have been buying mugs from them before and i just love their beautiful intricate and detailed tiki mugs! Scott have a shop on Maui called Beachbumz and Rob operates Maui Tiki Tours.
They shared booth with Christine Benjamin and Woody Miller who makes awesome tiki art and Jason Shelfow who makes the beautiful tiki lamps. Later i heard their booth won the prize for best vendor booth, congrats!
All these mugs…waiting to be filled with goodness and rum…
And look at those beautiful paintings..you gotta come here the next year y`all…so much fun! so much to see!
People really had a good time!
What did i say about beautifully garnished people? see it there!
When the sky look like this and the air is warm you want a tiki drink….by the pool…and that we had, sometimes life is really good…
Yes, Tiki Oasis was a blast! i can warmly recommend anyone who loves rums, fun and tiki to go there next year!
And here are a few pics from our 3 day road trip which started at Mark Holt`s amazing tiki house…then went to LA and a whole bunch of bars…to finally end up in San Diego.
This is a pretty cool pool area me thinks…
The pirate guards the outdoor tiki bar…
There`s a LOT to see in this house…the bitters and stuff hanging upside down on magnets is a brilliant invention by our friend Cheryl Charming used in the Bourbon O Bar in New Orleans.
See that bowl? that bowl is not just any bowl…it`s the worlds second most powerful volcano bowl, the one Martin Cate used at Tiki Oasis in 2009, and it was in there that he first created and served one of Smuggler’s Cove’s most popular drinks: The Top Notch Volcano! Only rivaled by the bigger bowl he used for the 2010 Oasis Seminar…
And from Mark`s house we embarked on the road trip to Tiki Oasis after a very late rum party involving plenty of great rums, barrel aged negronis and JWray`s under the stars in the outdoor jacuzzi, and first stop was LA where two days of bar hopping awaited.
And one of the stop by bars was of course Tiki Ti...where else?
The lovely Nui Nui, picture by Mark Holt
And another Nui Nui…with Lost Spirits 151 Cuban Style Rum! made after suggestion by our friend Matt over at Cocktailwonk, if you haven`t checked out that outstanding blog you need to do it! pic by Mark Holt
I love this place! it has such a homely feeling, and since this was the first time i got there i just had to start with a Ray`s Mistake, which i been reading so much about for so long! it was good…and even better was the Nui Nuis, 151 swizzle and Rum Barrel. I need to go back for more drinks, i haven`t tried enough!!!!!
A taaasty Rum Barrel, pic by Mark Holt
We also passed by Cliff`s Edge to have cocktails made by Matthew Biancaniello who creates his outer wordly farm fresh cocktails every Wednesday through June, July and August with his Pop-Up Bar on the patio.
I dunno how to praise his creations enough…what can i say? i think they are the best cocktails in ever had, as far as cocktails go, i´m not comparing with tiki drinks here because they are a different thing.
Cocktails by Matt Biancaniello…artworks…and out of this world.
Arugula gimlet, grapefruit mint cocktail, ant beer cocktail, (yes ants!) etc don`t ask what was in all of these…one had bergamot infused 123 Tequila Blanco, yellow nectarine, home made ant beer and flowering oregano.. The passionfruit one had foraged white fir infused calisaya, passionfruit and Italian cayenne and was totally amazing…but they all were, every single one of them.
The thick but light airy foam you see on the cocktail on the upper right was just amazing…like a caress on your lips covering a cool somewhat mellow and incredible experience of a cocktail…wooow
If i was anywhere near Cliff`s Edge until end of august i would not miss this for anything…you heard me?! just go there…
The beautiful patio at Cliff`s edge, pic by Mark Holt
Another great bar and restaurant we stopped by was Rivera, finally i could get to try the Barbacoa!! and that legendary cocktail was AMAZING….it contains mezcal, chipotle, ginger, lime and beef jerky. I also very much liked “Constantino`s Revenge” with Diplomatico reserva exclusiva, pineapple, fresh lemon and angostura.
The lovely Barbacoa, pic by Mark Holt
We also went to Honeycut where i asked for a Mai Tai with demerara rum which they perfectly made…and then to Cana Rumbar, where i had a rum filled coconut followed by another Mai Tai with Appleton White and a Cruzan Black Strap float. It`s an unusual rum combo for a Mai Tai i know…but i have had it in New Orleans at SoBou and it´s very tasty!
Mai Tai with Cruzan Black Strap float over Appleton White rum…
At the Spare Room there was a tiki drink pop up by Paul McGee from Three Dots and a Dash in Chicago with the bars namesake drink of course on the menu plus Pieces of Eight, Poipu Beach Boogie Board, Bunny`s Banana Daiquiri and then the lovely tasty Painkiller. Great drinks and fun evening of Tiki!
The Spare Room is situated on the mezzanine level of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, and while you`re there you might as well look down on the street right outside because that´s where all the stars of the Hollywood stars are in a long row.
Here´s a link to Three Dots and a Dash website, their cocktail menu looks great!! and if i ever have my ways through Chicago…i know where to go.
They were all tasty…and beautiful.
Another interesting bar….the Noble Experiment with it´s “Paris catacomb” like wall of bronze skulls…inside the Neighbourhood restaurant (which btw have great food!) hidden speakeasy behind a stack of false kegs by the restroom…and their Laphroaig tiki style drink is just amazing!
Wall of skulls, blinking eyes in a deer painting and a timeless chandelier…dark and intimate, a place for craft cocktails and conversation.
In between Los Angeles and San Diego we passed Trader Sam`s…which i think was a funny and goofy place…you cannot but smile when they start to do the krakatoa show and the “rain” is water they spray on us…and i enjoyed both the food and the drinks a lot! Trader Sam`s Enchanted Tiki Bar is located at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, California.
Trader Sam`s Uh Oa Bowl…great pic, by Bryan Davis (Lost Spirits Distillery)
The Shrunken Zombie Head and the Uh Oa Bowl ready to be set on fire.
Krakatoa is soon ready to erupt…you better go and grab a drink!!
I think that was all….we went to more bars than these but i cannot add them all…i hope to do this again next year!
These babies were with us everywhere we went…
Aloha! and until next year…okolemaluna!
Thanks to Mark Holt for letting me use his awesome picture of the pool area as cover photo for this post! i just wish my readers could also hear all the great music we know was in that pic as well….
The fifth rum bottled by Rum Swedes is a 16 year old Caroni, ABV 61.3% or 122.6 proof. This is the sister cask of the 15 year old Caroni 97 that they released a year ago and which i wrote about here. This Caroni is heavier and have a stronger character than the first one.
It`s a strong oaky, woody rum laced with tropical fruits.
It was distilled in 1997 by the Caroni distillery, then aged in a bourbon barrel and bottled in 2013, there are 249 bottles.
I just love Caroni rums – and it´s the heavy ones i love the most – and i think it´s such a shame they are no more produced, so make sure to try them and grab a few bottles before they are gone.
They are pricey yes – but the content in those bottles is really also something very special, and they are rum history.
Nose – I find the nose brimming with notes of tropical fruits and wood, apricot, mature banana, molasses, orange peel, toffee. It`s a very pleasant nose which invites you to have a sip.
In the mouth – The tropical fruits come clearly to the surface and there´s a pronounced tropical exotic fruit taste with a strong woody backbone. It`s easy to sip even though this is a strong rum and there´s a slight burn on the tongue which quickly fades and gives way to rich hints of wood and toast.
A few drops of water brings out a more woody character but at the same time it gets smoother.
This is a real nice Caroni – strong, rich, flavorful and does have a lot of character. I give it a 4 out of 5.
With such a nice rum i really feel like making a Mai Tai because i know it`s gonna be good…
Recently Rum Ambassador Ian Burrell made a VERY tasty Mai Tai for me at Koko-Mo, when he was guest bartending after his Rum Masterclass seminar and i used his recipe for this Mai Tai (just switching out the rums) which is a bit different from the usual Trader Vic`s and it´s not the Don Beachcomber Mai Tai either.
The flavor in this Mai Tai was pleasant, rummy and strong, giving a nice buzz…and a flavor with much character and personality, not on the too sweet side, just the way i like it! in other words – it`s a full flavored Mai Tai!
Rum Ambassador´s Mai Tai
2 oz Caroni-97
0.5 oz Don`s mix (a 2:1 mix of freshly squeezed grapefruit juice to cinnamon syrup used by Donn “Don the Beachcomber” Beach in his seminal 1934 Zombie Punch.
0.25 oz orgeat
0.25 oz rich demerara syrup
0.75 oz fresh lime juice
Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a double old fashioned glass filled with crushed ice, garnish with a mint sprig, add a short straw near the mint.
This Caroni is available for purchase online at the Master of Malt website and in Sweden, here.
The first time encountered Denizen rum i was very pleased with it`s flavor, it was their white rum i tried and reviewed. Denizen rums are blends of rum from the Caribbean selected by master blenders in Amsterdam who have been handcrafting small-batch Caribbean style rums dating back to the early 1700s, when the Netherlands colonized much of the Caribbean.
Now Citizen Spirits have followed up with an aged rum that is a blend of aged plummer style pot still rum from Jamaica and also are component of Rhum Grande Arome from the Le Galion S.A.E.M distillery in Martinique.
60% of this rum has been aged 8 years in small used American oak bourbon barrels. The Jamaican rums used in this blend come from Worthy Park, Hampden, New Yarmouth, and Clarendon. Most of the aged rum comes from Worthy Park Distillery.
The rums used in the blend were fermented using slow working yeasts in order to extend the fermentation time and allow the high ester flavor compounds to fully develop – a very important step in the rum making process.
One of the reasons they chosed to include the molasses based rhum grande arome in the blend and not the more traditional rhum agricole from Martinique is because when they checked in with rum cocktail historians during the development process – they were told that Trader Vic likely blended this type of rum from Martinique with the 17 year Wray and Nephew in his original Mai Tai formula because it was cheapest rum available from Martinique at the time.
Having learned this, they tried to come up with a historically accurate classic amber rum that is unapologetically funky and would have made Trader Vic proud. The fact that it has been aged 8 years also makes it a fine sipping rum despite it being slightly higher proof at 43% ABV.
Denizen Merchant’s Reserve should be available in the US early April. Citizen Spirits will launch it in New York City and San Francisco initially and then expand to additional markets.
So i go straight to the Mai Tai eh?
This is a rum which obviously is partly designed for making great Mai Tais but of course not only – but also to be sipped neat and make other cocktails with – and flavorless cocktails you won`t get with it.
What a shame i haven`t had any chance to try the old JWray 17 year….which is a long time dream of mine, so therefore i cannot compare with it, but i can compare with other Mai Tais i`ve had with great rums and see how this rum stand up in comparison and i have a feeling it will do very well.
Also the Denizen Merchant’s Reserve earned a score of 94 at the 2014 Ultimate Spirits Challenge and was recognized as a finalist. Scoring 94 points is equivalent to “Excellent and highly recommended”
Let´s taste it.
Nose – It`s a fruity nose with a bit of citrus and apricot, a hint of wood, very fresh.
Mouth – The same fruitness is there and it has a warm spicy finish. A hint of sugarcane, warm caramel, ripe tropical fruit, dried banana, apricot, wood.
My impression – This is a warm, funky and flavorful rum, not much alcohol burn, it´s smooth enough to sip and flavorful enough to mix tiki drinks with, at the same time it`s great for classic rum drinks as well. Fruity and spicy!
I bet it`s good to drizzle over ice cream too…or use in baked papaya with butter, vanilla and demerara sugar.
The first drink i wanted to make with this rum is the PYT swizzle from Rumba Seattle, (a bar and Caribbean restaurant in Seattle) and a place where they make some extraordinary cocktails, actually everything they make at that place looks tasty, i hope i can visit some day.
The PYT swizzle first catched my attention on instagram where i saw pictures of it after it won the Island Imbibe competition in august 2013. I thought it looked so tasty….so here`s a version of it with Denizen Merchant`s Reserve and again, i regret not having any mint!
Top with a heavy doze of angostura and peychaud`s bitters
But mint or not, with this rum the swizzle turned out nice and spicy!
The next drink is the quintessential test cocktail when you wanna evaluate a rum in cocktails, due to it`s simplicity and way of letting the rum shine through in such a way that you cannot make a good one with a bad rum – the classic daiquiri.
And yes, it pass the test! this rum makes a very nice and somewhat spicy daiquiri!
And finally…the Queen of Tiki Drinks…(and the Zombie is the King:-)
2 oz Denizen Merchant`s Reserve rum
1 oz fresh lime juice (add the spent lime shell to shaker and later, in the glass)
0.5 oz orgeat
0.25 oz Combier triple sec
Shake all ingredients and garnish with mint – or if you don`t have mint, add the spent lime shell and a sherry into the glass.
Serve in rocks glass with crushed ice.
Yep, it definitely makes a great Mai Tai, the kind that gives that extra yummy after taste, provided you use good quality mixing products throughout. Of course i did the Trader Vic´s Mai tai. The only thing i regret is that i was out of mint but instead i just used the spent lime shell and a sherry.
To wrap it up – Denizen Merchant`s Reserve is very good, flavorful and i warmly recommend anyone to try this rum!
This fall came with four new rums in the “Rum Swedes” series from the Swedish independent bottler Swedish Firewater (www.eldvatten.se) with full proof single cask rums from Jamaica, Guyana and Barbados. I wrote a review of their Caroni 1997 Single Barrel Rum earlier this year.
From Guyana i have two samples, one from 2002 and one 2003 and then Barbados 2000 and Jamaica 2000.
From Diamond distillery and aged 9 years, (60.9%/121.5 proof) it´s a heavy rum with hints of smoke. The color is dark mahogany.
Nose – Oh lovely demerara….it´s smoky, heavy, woody, dried tropical fruit, leather, banana peel, burnt molasses. A kick of strong alcohol if you come too close with the nose but a bit away from the glass a whole orchestra of flavors hits you.
Mouth – I added some ice to the glass and it opened up the rum a bit and made it easier to drink. It`s typical dark demerara flavors, same as the nose and slightly smoky. The mouth feel is a bit viscous and slightly oily, just as it should be with this kind of heavy rum. Neat it´s all these flavors concentrated and the aftertaste stays with you for quite some time. It`s lovely!
Distilled at the Port Morant Double Pot Still (61%/122 proof) the color is golden. It`s a more elegant and fruitier rum than the first one.
Nose – it has a lovely nose of both dried and ripe tropical fruits, banana, vanilla, mango, sugarcane.
Mouth – a bit of wood, same tropical fruits as in the nose, sugarcane but not very sweet though, just fine. Neat you feel the wood more and then the fruits step in. A great rum!
This rum is from Hampden Distillery which is famous for their high ester rums which are the result of very long fermentation of the molasses.They are doing their rums in an old fashioned way producing very distinctive but expensive rums.
The Hampden distillery dates back to 1743 and uses three copper pot stills. The distillery was closed in 2003 and re-opened with new owners sometimes around 2009. So this rum is from before the closure which makes it even more valuable. This rum is (58.4%/116.8 proof)
Very “creamy”, fruity, ripe tropical fruit, banana, sugarcane, very pleasant nose!
So tasty! tropical fruit again, banana, banana peel, overripe mango, brown sugar..some wood, burnt molasses. A rich rum with an elegant aftertaste that lingers in the mouth for a while.
And the last one, from the island of Barbados where they say rum was first made in the Caribbean. This rum is distilled by the West India Rum Distillers which are located at Brighton, Black Rock in the southern parish of St. Michael on the island of Barbados.
The distillery dates back to 1893 and was established by two German brothers (the Stades brothers) who wanted to produce rum to be shipped to Germany. It returned into the hands of Barbados again in 1903. They are using two old pot stills and four column continuous stills. The famous Cockspur rum is distilled there.
The nose is a little fruity and sugary with something more, maybe toffee?
Fruity, a little wood, toffee, pralin, sugarcane, hint of chocolate. It`s not a heavy rum but rather elegant. Neat it has some more punch of course, after all it´s 116.8 proof.
They are all very good rums, i`d say the Guyana 2003 and Jamaica 2000 are my favorites of the four. They fetch the same high price as the privately bottled Caroni and Demerara rums in Italy and is about 120 euros a bottle and can as far as i know only be purchased in Sweden. There´s only 215 bottles of the Barbados 2000, 245 bottles of Guyana 2000, 185 bottles of Jamaica 2000 and 230 bottles of Guyana 2003.
The one cocktail i feel really eager to try with these excellent rums is a Mai Tai…it´s the idea of trying a combo of the 2003 Guyana and the 2000 Jamaica that intrigues me…
MAI TAI (Guyana and Jamaica)
1 oz Guyana 2003 and Jamaica 2000 combo (0.5 oz of each)
1 oz Appleton Extra
0.5 oz Ferrand Dry Curacao
0.25 oz orgeat
0.25 oz sugarcane syrup
1 oz fresh lime
half spent lime shell in the shaker
Shake with plenty of crushed ice and pour into a double old fashioned. Top up with more crushed ice if needed. Garnish with a mint sprig.
I think the mint is an important part of the Mai Tai, it adds that fragrance and you should spank it before adding it to the glass and then add a short straw placed near the mint.
The spent lime shell adds some of that lovely lime oil to the drink.
These two rums made an excellent Mai Tai, the drink was strong, flavorful and refreshing. They paired very well with Appleton Extra but if they had been of lower strength, say 55 % i would have used one oz of each.
Either way you can`t go wrong with these good rums.
Shake together the ingredients with the a spent lime shell in the shaker and strain into a huge glass or two glasses filled with freshly crushed ice. Garnish with fresh mint, the spent lime shell and if you like, a sherry to add some color.
You don´t need to have the exact rums i`m using, try use 2 different good quality dark rums, one overproof dark rum and one aged rhum agricole.
Moving on to the topic of Mai Tai twists from the last post about how to do the original Mai Tai right…
So it´s time to play! the goal here is to stay somewhat true to the Trader Vic´s recipe with only some slight changes because i don´t wanna loose too much of the Mai Tai formula..but true Mai Tais it ain´t anymore…
The garnish is changed all the way out though, not a mint to be seen…,not that i don´t like mint and i`m a purist when it comes to the original Mai Tai but it´s refreshing to play with something else. I was going to try to find hibiscus buds but alas no hibiscus anywhere…I did find a red bromeliad flower though and some green dracaena leaves.
I really enjoy walking around in the fruit and plant/flower markets looking for interesting stuff for garnish and to go in the drinks!
Mai Tai twists – i`m all for it and what is tasty or not is so personal. Some find for example the Bitter Mai Tai gross and even an abomination – i find it tasty but then again i`m a Campari geek. In fact i like it so much i even made a twist of it..
BITTER CHOCOLATE MAI TAI
1½ oz Campari
¾ oz Smith & Cross Jamaican rum
1 oz lime juice (save the spent lime shell to go in the shaker)
¾ oz orgeat
½ oz orange Curaçao
3 dashes Mozart Chocolate bitters
Shake and strain into a double old fashioned or other glass and sink the spent lime shell into the drink. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint, or something tropical.
What is done here? well, one of the rums is switched for Campari and chocolate bitters are added. Not a Mai Tai anymore… and that´s why it has “Bitter Chocolate” in the name.
A lot of what i write here is obvious for many of us, so all of you who already know these things please bear with me…there are many out there who wanna learn.
The addition of Campari for one of the rums is not my invention, the Bitter Mai Tai was created by Jeremy Oertel at Dram in Brooklyn, NYC. I only added the chocolate bitters to the party. There´s also a bitter Mai Tai variation with Cynar instead of Campari. I bet it is good..
I like it bitter – but i also like it sweet and so i`m moving on to a sweet variation in a while.
Way too many bars serves twists on the original recipe that changes the drink very much but they still call those drinks just Mai Tai – like the original Mai Tai and that`s just WRONG.
So here´s the sweet one, using homemade hibiscus grenadine instead of orange curacao and rhum agricole blanc.
1 oz rhum agricole blanc
1 oz Smith & Cross Jamaican rum
1 oz lime juice (save the spent lime shell to go in the shaker)
¾ oz orgeat
0.5 oz hibiscus grenadine
A couple dashes hibiscus tincture (steep dried hibiscus flowers in highproof vodka for 1-2 weeks) on top of the ice. Or by all means, use peychauds.
Shake it up and strain into a tall glass or a hurricane glass (double the recipe) with crushed ice and top the ice with hibiscus tincture (or peychauds) garnish with a red hibiscus flower bud and stick a straw through it.
So by just adding hibiscus grenadine and switching the aged agricole for a blanc it turns out a different drink. Often you only need small changes to transform the drink into something entirely different.
But other times there´s bigger changes…here is another quite interesting variation called Stormy Mai Tai that uses lots of angostura bitters that i found over at Cocktail Quest.
Now on to another very interesting twist, this one was created by my friend Tony Harion from Mixing Bar in Brazil. He uses Brazil nut orgeat and cachaca. Since i can´t get the cachaca he used since it´s not available outside of Brazil i used another VERY good cachaca – Abelha Gold.
UAI TAI – (pronounce it “woai tai”)
1 oz dark Jamaican rum
1 oz oak aged cachaça
0,5 oz Cointreau
0,5 – 0,75 oz lime muddled
0,5 – 0,75 oz Orgeat do Pará or Brazil Nut Orgeat
Muddle lime in the base of a shaker, add other ingredients and proceed like you would in a regular Mai Tai. Garnish with a mint sprig and a lot of love.
For the Orgeat do Pará, use Rick’s (Kaiserpenguin) Orgeat recipe but sub the almonds for Brazil nuts. The orange flower water can be left out.
Switching out the almonds and adding the cachaça brings a whole new character to the drink. The aromatic oils on the Brazil Nuts float to the top and transport you straight to the mountains of Minas Gerais in one snif.
Uai (pronounced jus like “why”) is a very popular slang in Minas and could mean pretty much anything. After three of these I’m sure you’ll understand what it means.
I really like the Ua Tai…it has an exotic flavor..and earthiness from the cachaca.
So what do you think about the original Mai Tai and in doing variations? where is the thin line? when does it become a bastardization?