As time goes by….

…and we try more and more cocktails there will always be one, two or three (or more) that keeps being there, rotating and sticking with us and becoming our favorite cocktails. What is it with these cocktails that makes them last? what`s so special with them?

The Mai Tai has been with me for many years, the Sazerac a bit shorter but both are always there and if it takes too long in between – something just tells me that its time – for a Mai Tai – or a Sazerac. The Mai Tai is on my favorite list because its such a perfect cocktail. Its so balanced, yummy, refreshing, exotic – and simple. So simple that most makes it the wrong way.

Please try to understand – its dark rum(s) lime, orgeat, rock candy or simple syrup, orange curacao and mint sprig (and maybe a spent lime shell as well)  for garnish – and crushed ice in a double old fashioned glass. Anything else isn´t a Mai Tai but maybe a “Pineapple Mai Tai” or other but not “Mai Tai” – Period!

Its ok with – say Cointreau if you don`t have orange Curacao, to add a cherry for garnish as long as you stick to the original recipe. Probably the orgeat is the hardest part or that`s what i hear, but now when Trader Tiki delivers orgeat worldwide it should be available if you really want to make it right and its also easy to make. Amaretto is another topic of this discussion, yes it has also an almond flavor but it just won`t replace orgeat i think.

One last thing – a Mai Tai isn`t red, pink or brightly orange – its brownish.

As for the Sazerac, it has just like the Mai Tai an interesting history and i like it with rye – or maybe half rye half cognac – it used to have cognac at first, namely a cognac called Sazerac-du-Forge-et-fils. The problem for me is that no rye is sold here in our spirit shop, yes you heard me – NO – rye. Can you believe that? “But you can special order” some say….yes i can, they have ONE brand to choose from, and even though luckily very good (Wild Turkey Rye) – but – wow. Its really rye-desert here.

Good ryes for Sazeracs are Sazerac 6 year, Rittenhouse Bonded Straight Rye, Old Overholt rye or Wild Turkey Rye. For a luxury experience or a special occasion try Sazerac 18-Year-Old Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey – if you can.

One thing these two of my favorite cocktails has in common apart from being two tasty classical well balanced cocktails, is that they both are traditionally served in my favorite type of glass – the old fashioned. Its just something with that glass, its so homely and comfy, steady in your hand and beautyful too – and i love it.

The Mai Tai is the King of Tiki cocktails and the Sazerac is the official cocktail of New Orleans so you see – both are two steady cocktails. But to be really honest…there is a third favorite as well – Absinthe Suissesse – i love that silky smooth fluffy wonder of a cocktail but i won`t write about that one in this post as i just did that in the last MxMo where i made a little twist of it. If you like Absinthe and haven`t tried the Suissesse yet, i think you should.



1/2 teaspoon Herbsaint or Absinthe
1 teaspoon of simple syrup or 1 cube of sugar or 1 tsp of granulated sugar
4 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
Optional: 1 dash Angostura, not tradition but some say it opens up the flavors.
2 ounces rye whiskey
Strip of lemon peel

Fill a 3-1/2 ounce Old Fashioned (rocks) glass with ice. Place the sugarcube in another glass and moisten it with water until it saturates and crush it or use simple syrup. Mix with whiskey and bitters, add ice and stir to chill.

Discard the ice from the first glass and add herbsaint or absinthe and coat the sides of the glass, then discard the excess (i like to leave a drop or two in the glass) Strain the whiskey into the glass and twist a lemon peel over the glass to express the oils, then rim the glass with it as well. Discard the peel.

Some like to use the peel as garnish, i`m one of them. But be careful not to drop the entire peel back into the glass as that would give too much citrus flavor.



2 oz Wray & Nephew 17 Year Old Rum (Sub your favorite dark rums here, i would suggest Appleton Extra and St James hors d`age or Clèment VSOP or 2 oz of a good demerara is tasty too)
0.5 oz orgeat ( i used Trader Tiki`s)
0.5 oz orange curacao
0.25 oz simple syrup
Juice of one lime (approx. .75 oz lime juice)

Shake all ingredients with ice.  Strain into a double old fashioned glass over crushed ice. Garnish with lime shell and a sprig of mint. Add two short straws near the mint.

This is truly deliscious and so simple.

And now – i just couldn`t help myself…i just had to add this video of a very (in) famous and entertaining guy – well known by the cocktailsphere…showing how to NOT make a Mai Tai – How many errors can you possibly do? I found these:

1) Tall glass  2) ice cubes  3) wrong rum, and he doesn`t even show us the label 4) triple sec – well..i would rather use cointreau if there`s no orange curacao 5) amaretto 6) grenadine 7) orange juice 8) pineapple juice 9) a float – and even if floats are nice, its not in the Mai Tai recipe  10) long straws 11) the drink isn`t mixed..  12) NO MINT!


Check it out, it will bring out a smile f`sure.. its actually quite entertaining. Maybe you`ll find more errors than i did.


So what do you think? and which are your favorite cocktails?


  1. LOL, that is a Hawaiian Mai Tai, you can get that bad boy at any bar near a beach on any island in the state.

    Marie Brizzard I heard makes a good Curacao. I use Patron Citronge (I think I spelled that right) except when I slack and run out then the aforementioned Bols or Dekuyper shite.

    favorite drinkys that is a tough one.

    no fuss-wise I like a daiquiri with whatever rum I have been interested in of late. I had La Faverite Coeur Ambre that I liked so much I bought a bottle.

    I like a Sazerac, I like a fogg cutter, I like a demarara dry float, but that is one I only really make at home.

  2. My favorite cocktail?; where do we start. As many others would say it’s all about the occasion. For a rum drink; Gimme a top shelf rum and coke (Zaya , FdC 7, Pyrat), a sour drink; I’ll take a hand-squeezed daiquiri or a Sidecar. A little lighter; set me up with a nice trappist ale.

  3. Hi Mardec, your Apple-fizz looks tasty! well worth trying.

    I use Cointreau too and i think its very good, i just use a little bit less as its quite strong in flavor.I can`t get senior`s Curacao here.

  4. And that retard in that movie, god dammit what a fucking dumbass!

    But Tiare, a question.

    I use Cointreau in my Mai Tai’s because the only Orange Curacao I can find is that chemical Bols or De Kuyper shit.
    What brand do you use of recommend?

  5. Hmm did anyone here try an Apple fizz?

    1 oz Calvados (use high quality stuff, I use Château du Breuil VSOP)
    1 oz Maple Syrup (go for quality)
    1 oz Fresh lemon juice.

    With ice and strain into a old fashioned glass.
    Add icecubes and then top up with about 2 oz of soda water.

    It is pretty sweet, but it rocks balls. You really taste the apple 🙂

  6. Have to agree with you on both favourite fronts though I prefer my Sazeracs half Sazerac 6yo and half Hennessey Fine De Cognac with a dash of Fee Brothers Whisky Barrel Bitters to add to the spice edge.

    Coming in at third place would be a nice a simple Genever Old Fashioned using an oude genever.

  7. Just thought of this, to lift the “heavieness” of the Averna, i would reccomend 7.5ml Averna, 7.5ml Aperol. This should work quite admirably.

  8. Tiare, my knowledge of Amaros is very limited, im from Australia so as you can imagine its a fair journey for distributors to get a big selection all the way from Europe and keep the price reasonable. that said i would imagine Averna should work, just put less in, 10ml, or maybe 7.5ml.

    That said, Montenegro is avaliable in most booze shops worth their salt in Australia. Depending where you’re from i would’nt imagine it too hard to find. Allllllsoooo…. the stuff is amazing, beautifuly bitter-sweet, strong orange, vanilla and herbal notes, great on ice with a twist of lemon. An even better way to get on this tipple is in a long glass with gingerbeer, bitters and(i dont think you’d ever guess whats coming next)… fresh lime.(2-3 wedges squeezed).


  9. Southside Fizz..now i got thirsty;-) Love the caipirinha too. But i haven`t tried Toreador.

    All three of your choices has a very similar formula..base spirit, lime and sweetener.You are citrus-person;-) well, so am i.

    But Black Tot Day is different and looks VERY tasty to me.I have never tried amaro montenegro but i love amaris, and i love Pusser´s rum! I ned to try this one sometimes or something similar, what would you sub amaro montenegro with?

  10. 3 favs, damn tough but here’s my current ones.

    Forgotten Classic: Toreador; 45ml Herradura Blanco, 30ml fresh lime juice, 30ml Apricot Brandy. Shake all ingreidents and strain into double old fashioned, garnish with mint sprig.

    Classic: Southside Fizz; 60ml gin(i like plymouth here), lime, sugar syrup, mint and soda.

    Contempary Classic: Caipriniha. BOOM.

    And perhaps ill slip in one of my own… Black Tot Day; 60ml Pussers 15yr, 15ml Amaro Montenegro, 3 dashes almond and vanilla bitters(home made), 4 coffee beans, 10ml Bowmore 12yr.

    Chill Champagne Saucer with ice and Bowmore. In mixing glass, muddle coffee beans, add rest, stir, discard ice from saucer, double strain. Garnish with a floating coffee bean.

  11. Mine of course ! lol!! Actually, because I have been in the biz so long,I just appreciate a well made drinkie, by a bartender that smiles and likes to have a little conversation..then any drink is good! you know ?

  12. There ya go Doug! i kew you had something!

    Right now i`m sipping on a Saz with the original Herbsaint, its awesome!


  13. Thank you Randy for the recipe, ah cucumber..got to love that.

    Rowen, its a tough one to kill, the f-up Mai Tai..

    Ben, which gin do you prefer in your fav Martini?

    Doug, come on..you gotta have at least 3 you can mention..

    Yes, the anise should never be overpowering, that`s also my opinion. In my Sazs i like to leave a drop in the glass after the rinse but that`s about it. The Sazerac is a cocktail that grows upon you and hook you good.

    The classics are always enduring and there`s a reason for that and with classics i do include classic tiki cocktails as well of course.

  14. I wander about the cocktail landscape trying lots of new things, but invariably return to real mai tais, donga punch, ‘ti punch, black strap corn’N oils, and other pedigreed tiki and Caribbean classics. I just noticed Martinique rhum is a recurring theme in several of those, which doesn’t surprise me.

    Also love old-fashioned and rye Manhattans when I need to get out of the rum rut. And lately I’ve been drinking a lot of pisco sours after going probably a year after last having one. I forgot how good those are!

    I’m getting fonder of the Sazarac as well, although I have to go with just a very light rinse of Pernod/absinthe and heavier on the Peychaud’s than a lot of the licorice lovers. I’m a dedicated Donn Beach disciple when it comes to adding my 6 drops of Pernod into dark rum concoctions, but much more than that and I get overwhelmed by the anise flavor.

  15. I love this guy. Such an easy target.

    You picked two great ones; a real Mai Tai is the perfect drink for almost any time of year, particularly during the summer months, and the Sazerac is just perfect for warming up the wintertime. I think that my favorite one would be the venerable Martini. Lots of different variations, depending on how I’m feeling, but this is my favorite:

    2 oz Gin
    1 oz dry vermouth
    1-2 dashes orange bitters

    Stir, strain, garnish with lemon peel (twisted over drink)

    I just love the way that the orange bitters and lemon oils play with the gin. It adds just a hint of refreshing fruitiness, and it’s just great. I also, as you can see, like my Martini’s with a healthy dose of vermouth, but I like them as strong as 3:1.

  16. I once had dinner in a certain old-fashioned steak-and-seafood sort of restaurant that boast all sorts of classic cocktails on a little leather-covered menu with a whiff of tradition and erudition. One of them was a “Trader Vic Mai Tai.” I laughed when it came because it was some tall thing full of pineapple. Even if you’d never heard of Beachbum Berry, you could read “The New American Bartender’s Guide” and know that this drink was not a Trader Vic Mai Tai.

    Favorites? So hard to choose — especially when you don’t have to. But ones I turn to when I want comfort without having to think too much: Manhattan, Martini, Sidecar, Old-Fashioned, Margaritas on chili night.

    Favorite Manhattan: 2 oz 100 proof rye or bourbon, 3/4 oz Punt e Mes, 2 dashes aromatic bitters (chosen according to mood). Stir and strain, add cherry.

  17. I keep going back to The Violet Hour’s Juliet & Romeo:
    2 ounces Beefeater
    .75 ounce Fresh Lime Juice
    .75 ounce Simple Syrup
    3 drops Rose Water
    3 drops Angostura
    3 slices Cucumber
    3 sprigs Mint
    1 pinch salt, tiny
    Muddle cucumber, mint and pinch of salt. Add rest of ingredients. Let sit for 30 seconds (time allowing). Shake with ice. Strain. Garnish with 1 floating mint leaf and 1 drop rose water on top of leaf, and 3 more drops of Angostura on the surface of the drink.

    Glass: Coupe
    Garnish: Mint leaf and 1 drop rose water & 3 drops of Angostura Bitters.
    Ice: None

    The pinch of salt is really, really small. It should be muddled with the cuke to bring out its freshness.

    Of course, this is one of those involved recipes and you gotta have everything on hand to make it (obviously), so. . .

    My second favorite is a Manhattan. I use Woodford Reserve, and Carpano Antica, unless I swap the sweet vermouth for Noilly Prat Dry+Amaro Nonino+peach bitters. Manhattan is great because it’s all spirits=fast, easy, and quiet (stirred, not shaken).

    Oh heck, I like a Negroni pretty often too!

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