Tiki Tuesday #7: Mai-Tai
Well, I'm having issues with Blogger on the old Apple at home because I thought that I had published this post yesterday and, save for a block quote issue that irritated me to no end, everything appeared to be hunky-dory and fine. But when I went to check the post this morning, it turns out that I had flung a big voidspace of nothing into the ether. So you're getting a shiny, new, updated, and technically on Wednesday and not Tuesday edition of Tiki Tuesday.
What are we drinking to ward off the bitter arctic chill of the Midwestern Tundra this week? I was tempted, oh so tempted to whip up a Hot Buttered Rum- which yes, there is a recipe in Smuggler's Cove- which is surprising because as a Tiki book, you wouldn't think you'd need hot buttered anything in the tropics, but there you go. However, looking at the Tiki-Explorations we'd done so far, I decided to circle back and correct a shocking oversight on my part and take a sip of a Tiki Icon- and what should be just an iconic cocktail full stop: the Mai-Tai
What's surprising about the Mai-Tai is the fact that Smuggler's Cove includes three additional pages about the history of this drink and how maligned it has become and interestingly, how far from the original recipe what we consider a Mai-Tai today actually is. They describe it as a "nutty rum margarita" and "the perfect delivery vehicle for rum" (in much the same way that they think the margarita is the perfect delivery vehicle for tequila.)
3/4 oz lime juice freshly squeezed
1/4 oz SC Mai-Tai Rich Simple Syrup
1/4 oz SC Orgeat Syrup
1/2 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao
2 oz premium aged rum
Add all ingredients into a shaker with crushed ice and shake vigorously until the shaker is well-chilled and frosty on the outside. Pour into a double Old Fashioned Glass. Garnish with spent lime shell and mint sprig.
HOKAY, let's talk some immediate changes right off the bat:
1. No, I didn't use freshly squeezed lime juice. I'm lazy and have little bottles of lime juice that are perfectly serviceable to get through. I might, maybe, grab some limes at some point and make a purty version of this cocktail, but not this week.
2. No, I didn't do the special Mai-Tai Rich simple syrup found in Smuggler's Cove. Nor did I make their special Orgeat recipe. You can if you want to, but I got a bottle of Orgeat from BJ Reynolds which is just fine and made my own demerara syrup which is also just fine.
3. I've seen Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao 'round these parts a grand total of one time and did not, alas, buy a bottle. So I used Cointreau instead which is still perfectly fine.
4. Y'all know how I feel about garnishes by now.
So what's the verdict? I'm inclined to agree with Smuggler's Cove on this one- had history turned a different way, this would have been one of the cocktail icons of 20th Century America- and really, it still is in many ways. Like the Daiquiri, the original formulation completely changes the way you think about this drink and it's all for the better. Refreshing- and without the boozy overproof rum float on the top (you can add that if you want too)- they're drinkable as well. I would say 10/10 would drink again.