This is not a new topic…but If there´s a drink that fascinates me its this one, tthe QB Cooler and the reason is as many of you can guess – it tastes much like a Trader Vic´s Mai Tai – but does only have two ingredients in common, rum and lime and not even the same rums either – or proportions. Of course it doesn´t taste exactly like a Mai Tai but actually close enough to be a mystery to many.
And not only is the drink tasty and tastes like Mai Tai it also has an interesting story that dates back to the time of the Mai Tai war between Donn the Beachcomber and Trader Vic, a topic that has been discussed for over half a century now and will probably never stop being discussed..
In ca 1937 Donn the Beachcomber created the Q.B. Cooler and it is said – that Trader Vic took that recipe and reformulated it to what we know as the Trader Vic´s Mai Tai – but there`s is no proof of that though – and it is also said that it was Donn who created the Mai Tai…and also that Trader Vic created the Mai Tai… and actually both did – just not the same Mai Tai..
Donn Beach Mai Tai is entirely different from Vic`s and to me and most others, what is the real Mai Tai – is Trader Vic`s and it`s also the one that made commercial success and became a living legend. It simply is THE Mai Tai and it has a perfect balance and layers of flavors.
That said, just because Vic has won the Mai Tai war doesn´t mean Donn Beach wasn`t an awesome bartender – he was! he was Mr awesome! – and so was Vic.
Whether or not Trader Vic`s Mai Tai evolved from Donn`s Q.B.Cooler or not and which really is just speculations is really not important but nevertheless its a fascinating topic and i guess since we really never will know for sure the Mai Tai conflict will never end.
In any case what puzzles me is how these two drinks can taste so similar, even though we can see the flavor profile goes towards dark rums, lime and orange. But there`s no falernum or ginger syrup in the Mai Tai.
And i haven´t gotten to the rums yet – we know that the Mai Tai originally contained one rum, the 17 yo Wray & Nephew and later on a blend of Jamaican and Martinique rum while the Q.B. Cooler contains Jamaican and light Puerto Rican rum. And still they manage to taste quite similar.
Isn`t it fascinating? anyway, even though very close, the Mai Tai is more intense in my opinion. So go get your shakers and mix up these two drinks and taste them side by side, you´ll be surprised.
Hopefully pleasantly so..and its never wrong to have two awesomely tasty drinks on hand..
The recipe for the Mai Tai is once again as follows:
1 oz Dark Jamaican Rum
1 oz Martinique Rhum
1 oz Lime Juice
0.5 oz Orange Curacao
0.25 oz Simple Syrup
0.25 oz Orgeat
Shake with crushed ice, pour into a double old fashioned, garnish with a mint sprig
1 oz fresh orange juice
1 oz club soda
1 oz Jamaican rum
1 oz light Puerto Rican rum
0.5 oz fresh lime juice
0.5 oz honey mix (equal parts honey/water)
0.5 oz Demerara rum
0.25 oz Falernum
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
1/2 teaspoon ginger syrup
Blend with 4 ounces crushed ice for 5 seconds; top up with more crushed ice and garnish with mint (Julep style)
I really enjoy this drink, here´s a range and depth of flavors that we can thank the cocktail-genius Donn Beach for. a
Do you think these two drinks tastes the same?