Happy Halloween everybody, here´s a drink to wake the living dead! – or at least to make YOU become like a zombie if you make too many…
It´s a variety of the classic 1934 Don the Beachcomber’s Zombie with a blend of aged and overproof rums, plus rhum agricole and then cinnamon, grapefruit and lime..
I`ve had the zombie on here before but it´s a damn good drink! and if it wasn`t for one man namely “Jeff Beachbum Berry” we wouldn´t have this recioe today…he dug down the rabbithole of lost ingredients and recipes and un-earhted the original 1934 Zombie Punch.
Aloooha everyone! – it´s Mai Tai time…or rather – it´s Mai Tai rant time…
How many times does this need to be said??? – a Mai Tai is rum, orange curacao, lime, orgeat, simple or rock candy syrup and mint! and sometimes a spent lime shell in the shaker and glass. NOTHING MORE! really!!! PERIOD.
That said – it doesn`t mean you cannot make variations of it with say a Brazilian nut orgeat and call it a Brazilian Mai Tai – for example – but that`s the difference – a Mai Tai is a Mai Tai and a twist of it is another drink – like a cousin and a cousin needs a slightly different name. When making a twist, stick to the original recipe as your foundation and don`t change it so much that it´s not based on a Mai Tai anymore.
In my opinion you can NOT add amaretto, grenadine, pineapple or/ and orange juice and call it a Mai Tai – call them something + Mai Tai or give the drink an entirely new name. The point I try to make is, there´s for example the Sazerac, if you added pineapple juice to it, or vanilla syrup, would it still be a Sazerac?
And i`m not saying that you cannot add a piece of pineapple or cherry in the garnish either – i like cherries…But if you wanna be really a purist, it´s only mint and a spent lime shell – but NEVER go astray from the original recipe if you wanna call it a Mai Tai.
There`s the Trader Vic´s Mai Tai and there`s Donn the Beachcomber`s Mai Tai which is a quite different drink to Vic´s containing grapefruit juice, falernum, pernod and angostura bitters. I`m not gonna go into the never ending debate about Vic`s versus Donn`s and there´s an excellent article on that topic in Beachbum Berry´s Remixed. But my conclusion is that Vic´s recipe is THE Mai Tai.
It`s clear that too many bars still serves various crap they call a Mai Tai, on the upside is that over the past years there´s many good bars now that actually serves the traditional Trader Vic´s Mai Tai. But the battle is still on!
Just look at this parody on a Mai Tai…looking like strawberry lemonade fully dressed with sparkling fireworks – it´s a friend of mine, John Gibbons over at Cocktailcloister (thanks for the picture) who was served this one in Istanbul while desperatly searching for decent cocktails…
This is NOT how a Mai Tai should be…and if you read the menu you`ll see they have no clue what a Mai Tai is…
Wanna read the history of the Mai Tai? go here. Wanna read about rum combos? go here. And wanna read about even more rum combos? go here. Wanna read what Jeff says? go here. Not enough yet? well go here…:-)
THE ORIGINAL TRADER VIC`S MAI TAI (as it used to be)
2 oz. Wray & nephew 17-year-old Jamaican rum
0.25 oz. French Garnier Orgeat
0.5 oz. Holland DeKuyper orange Curacao
0.25 oz. Rock Candy Syrup
Juice from one fresh lime
Shake everything with ice and strain into a double old-fashioned glass full of crushed ice. Garnish with half the spent lime shell inside the drink and a sprig of fresh mint at the edge of the glass. Place a straw or two near the mint – short straws..we want some mint fragrance up the nose don´t we? and don´t forget to spank the mint first to release the fragrance like perfume..
We all know there´s no 17 yo Jwray available anymore so instead we use different rum combos, and one common combo is 1 oz. Appleton Extra and 1 oz. Clemént VSOP or St. James Hors d`age. Equal parts jamaican and martinique rums approximates the character and flavor of the long-gone 17-year old Wray & Nephew.
Another combo i like to use is with demerara rum, either a demerara and a jamaican or only demerara, to me that is heaven in a glass and the Silver Seal 15 yo makes the ultimate Mai Tai i think.
The goal here is not to try to get as close as you can to the 17 yo Jwray & Nephew but to punch it up a notch with that distinctive smoky and heavy demerara flavor. El Dorado 12 and 15 yo are perfect examples of good demerara rum.
Yet another perfectly tasty combo is the “made for Mai Tai`s” Jamaican rum Smith and Cross…paired with Rhum JM VSOP. Also Coruba dark works well.
As for the orange curacao i`d recommend orange curacao from curacao or if you can´t get the original curacao use cointreau and cut it just a little bit since it´s stronger and will easily mess up the Mai Tai if too much is used. It`s not an original Mai Tai with cointreau though so try get the orange curacao if you can.
Trader Vic first used DuKuyper but did actually change to Bols because he liked it better, but the original recipe always had orange curacao. More sweet and less dry and bitter and also cheap is Triple sec, but that´s not what i prefer. Also Clement Creole Shrubb works well.
1 oz Smith & Cross
1 oz Clemènt VSOP
0.25 oz orgeat
0.5 oz orange curacao
0.25 oz simple syrup
1 oz fresh lime juice
Mint sprig and lime shell for garnish. And in my case a cherry too since i love to snack on them when the drink is finished…preferably fresh brandied cherries that is – not the red abominations you find in a jar.
That`s it – Mai Tai. This drink is a bullet proof drink, even people who doesn´t like rum usually like this because it´s balanced, simple and good – you can’t improve on perfection…
DON THE BEACHCOMER
Don Beach or Ernest Raymond Beaumont Gantt did invent a drink that he called Mai Tai but it never reached that fame and shortly disappeared from his menu.
Don Beach is the man who invented many of the classsic tikidrinks like the Zombie, the Navy Grog and Missionary`s downfall, (one of my fav tiki drinks) as well as the whole concept of exotic polynesian style restaurants, known as tiki bars.
DON THE BEACHCOMBER`S MAI TAI
1.5 oz Myer’s plantation rum (you may sub Appleton)
1 oz Cuban rum ( sub British navy-style rum)
0.75 oz fresh lime juice
1 oz fresh grapefruit juice
0.25 oz falernum
0.5 oz cointreau
2 dashes angostura bitters
1 dash pernod
Shell of squeezed lime
1 cup of cracked ice
Shake for 1 minute. Serve in a double old-fashioned glass. Garnish with four sprigs of mint. Add a spear of pineapple. Sip slowly through mint sprigs until desired effect results.
I find this drink just a tad sour so i add 1/4 oz simple syrup to it, but that can also have something to do with how tart your grapefruits and limes are.
But among the two Mai Tais i really prefer Vic`s Mai Tai, there is a reason why it was the one that gained such popularity and now is one of the classics. It has such a balance and yet is very simple. That doesn`t mean that i consider Don Beach Mai Tai a bad drink, oh no, its tasty too.
I close this topic now and move on to another… in my next post i will make a few Mai Tai twists that you can make without ruining the drink by transforming it into a cloingly sweet and/or slushy “tropical” abomination.
I love the daiquiri! it´s so simple and tasty and the base of so many cocktails..
Since there´s two daiquiris in the Grog Log with just one drink in between (the Don`s own Planter`s) i put them together here in the same post.
The first is the Derby Daiquiri – a tasty daiquiri that also contains orange juice. It was created by Mariano Licudine from Mai Kai who also had been bartender at Don the Beachcomber’s in Chicago and Hollywood before being hand-picked for Mai Kai.
He created this drink for a Rums of Puerto Rico cocktail competition in 1959 and the drink has also been named the signature drink of the Gulfstream Racetrack’s Florida Derby.
Originally it was served with crushed ice and an ice shell, (must have been fabulously stunning) but since i recently did a post on ice molds i`m not into making an ice shell right now and so i make the drink the way it´s described in Grog Log – which goes just as well and is something you can serve daily if you wish.
1 oz orange juice
0.5 oz fresh lime juice
0.5 oz sugarcane syrup
1.5 oz light Puerto Rican rum (didn´t have that so i used Havana Club blanco)
Blend with a handful of crushed ice for 15 sec. Serve in small wine goblet.
I really like the daiquiri and this version with orange juice is tasty. I had such a large glass that i made a double. Its simple, tasty and easy to make.
The next daquiri is Don´s daiquiri which uses honey-mix as sweetener.
0.75 oz fresh lime juice
0.75 oz honey-mix
2 0z light Puerto Rican rum
Shake like hell with ice cubes and strain into saucer champagne glass.
Made by Don The beachcomber in Honolulu, Hawaii cirka 1950.
Clean, tasty…and very nice! yep the daquiri is one of the cocktail icons and forefather to many great cocktails. One of my absolute favorites together with the Mai Tai, Sazerac and Julep.
The next drink from Grog Log is also a Beachcomber concoction named Beachcomber´s Punch. At first sight the recipe looks pleasant and uncomplicated and that`s exactly how i find this tiki drink. It contains my favorite rum which is demerara and just little pernod as well to give some dimension to this concoction.
Don the Beachcomber created this one circa 1937 according to Grog Log. The Angostura/Pernod combo was the Beachcomber`s “secret” ingredient when he used dark rum as the base. But it should be mentioned that back then he used Herbsaint. Now when the original Herbsaint is re-created i would choose it if i could. I`ll definetily try to get me a bottle later.
This is a sort of foolproof classic Beachcomber tiki drink, its very easy to make.
So here we go:
0.5 oz fresh lime juice
0.5 oz grapefruit juice (yellow)
0.5 oz apricot brandy
0.5 oz simple syrup
Dash Angostura bitters
1/8 tsp pernod
1.5 oz demerara rum
All this to blend with 6 ounces of crushed ice and no more than 5 sec. That`s important unless you are a fan of slushy drinks.. Pour into a 10 ounce pilsener glass. Add more crushed ice to fill and garnish with a sprig of mint. I also added an orchid,
Simple enough – and tasty. Contrary to how i found the previous cocktail this one is tasty and kind to you. Actually it should have had a kick of something, a float of high proof demerara maybe? its a bit too kind..
It does require a twist that is different enough so we can have some fun.
I decided first to switch the apricot brandy for Cherry Heering and take down the ratio to 1/4 oz as too much Cherry Heering isn`t desired. Then i switched the Pernod for a few dashes of Peychauds and finally i added that float of high proof demerara i was talking about..Now we be jazzin`…
A lack of better imagination from a tired brain in the middle of a friday night i just came up with this name, so it will have to do.
TIKI QUEEN PUNCH
0.5 oz fresh lime juice
1 oz grapefruit juice (yellow)
1/4 oz Cherry Heering
1/4 oz simple syrup
1/4 Trader Tiki`s vanilla syrup (or other)
2-3 dashes Peychaud`s bitters
1.5 oz demerara rum
0.5 oz float overproof demerara rum
All this to blend with 6 ounces of crushed ice and no more than 5 sec. Then i garnished with one of those red nice swizzle sticks that came with Trader Tiki`s all syrups and a sprig of mint.
This one i like much more, it has more punch and i like Cherry Heering as long as its not allowed to overpower the drink. The little touch of Trader Tiki`s yummy vanilla syrup was also pleasant. If you can`t get Trader Tiki`s yummy vanilla its easy to make your own. But i can tell you that Trader Tiki`s vanilla has a lot of flavor, and that is flavor that is all natural.
Don`t think that i`m just trying to promote a friend now, he has no problems doing that all by himself but i really do like his syrups and they are very professionally made and has that little extra something that many other syrups lack.
Next drink up from Grog Log in a while will be something called Blackbeard`s Ghost, soon to come.
This series called Mixing through Grog Log is inspired by my fellow boozeblogger Erik`s “Stomping through the Savoy” over at Underhill Lounge.