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bmdaniel

The Tiki Drink Discussion Topic

499 posts in this topic

The Surf Room Mai Tai is indeed amazing. My wife has me make them by the (gallon!) pitcher for parties. Very, very popular.

FWIW, I think the Monin almond syrup makes a decent orgeat, if you don't feel like making it from scratch. It lacks a bit of nuance, but it's not bad.


John Rosevear

"Brown food tastes better." - Chris Schlesinger

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Oh c'mon, you could do a lot worse... try the Fee's, for example. (Actually, don't.)

Edit: I did try the Art of Drink recipe a couple of years ago and it seemed more work than it was worth. But perhaps I'll try it again...


Edited by John Rosevear (log)

John Rosevear

"Brown food tastes better." - Chris Schlesinger

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And yeah, then at the end of the class do a 1934 Zombie, IMO the only other real candidate for "most essential, most perfect, most misunderstood, abused, and bastardized."

I'd have to respectfully disagree with you there...the Zombie was only misunderstood, abused, and bastardized due to the overzealous secrecy of its creator. Vic published his Mai Tai recipe to the eternal betterment of all Mankind and so deserves a place among such luminaries as Jerry Thomas and Henry Charles Ramos for making public the secret recipes on which his livelihood depended.

I'd also be very hesitant to serve as a "Mai Tai" any recipe containing pineapple or orange juice. Just doesn't seem right, especially as exposure to the uninitiated.


Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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I'd also be very hesitant to serve as a "Mai Tai" any recipe containing pineapple or orange juice. Just doesn't seem right, especially as exposure to the uninitiated.

Because it doesn't adhere to the authentic original but uses its name?


Chris Amirault

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A number of good bars serve the Surf Room variant with an explanation, or call it the "Hawaiian" Mai Tai. It certainly has a history of its own. It's also a great drink.


John Rosevear

"Brown food tastes better." - Chris Schlesinger

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Also, not only is the flavor of homemade orgeat better, but I really like the louche-esque effect it gives the drink (see my mai-tai photo above).

Hardly takes more work than an infused syrup.

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I'd also be very hesitant to serve as a "Mai Tai" any recipe containing pineapple or orange juice. Just doesn't seem right, especially as exposure to the uninitiated.

Because it doesn't adhere to the authentic original but uses its name?

Exactly. I just don't think its very good form to stress all these points about 'authentic' and old-school drinks then serve a Mai Tai variation as a Mai Tai. I won't dispute that the Surf Room is a fine drink, but it's akin to serving people a Tantris Sidecar in lieu of a Sidecar.


Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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Exactly. I just don't think its very good form to stress all these points about 'authentic' and old-school drinks then serve a Mai Tai variation as a Mai Tai. I won't dispute that the Surf Room is a fine drink, but it's akin to serving people a Tantris Sidecar in lieu of a Sidecar.

I wouldn't advocate serving it in lieu of Victor's Mai Tai. But I emphatically advocate serving it as a variation, as Forbidden Island does (note the "Island Mai Tai").


John Rosevear

"Brown food tastes better." - Chris Schlesinger

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I'd also be very hesitant to serve as a "Mai Tai" any recipe containing pineapple or orange juice. Just doesn't seem right, especially as exposure to the uninitiated.

Because it doesn't adhere to the authentic original but uses its name?

Exactly. I just don't think its very good form to stress all these points about 'authentic' and old-school drinks then serve a Mai Tai variation as a Mai Tai. I won't dispute that the Surf Room is a fine drink, but it's akin to serving people a Tantris Sidecar in lieu of a Sidecar.

I think Chris's original question was more broadly what Tiki drink you would serve for his workshop, so in that sense, it's not necessarily off-base to serve a Mai Tai variation. That said, if he had asked "What brandy drink would you serve to the uninitiated?" no one would have suggested serving a Tantris Sidecar on the basis that it shows how you can effectively blend grape brandy with brandies from other fruits to produce a delicious, complex, balanced drink.

In other words, I think I come down on Andy's side here. An original* Trader Vic Mai Tai has all the elements needed to showcase what Tiki drinks are about (fresh juice, layered rums, more-or-less obscure syrups), while also being a classic drink in its own right - and one that does suffer a lot of bastardization, just as many other classic drinks do.

*OK, not original original, but original as reformulated after the J. Wray 17-year-old rum ran out.


Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

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Right. Just to clarify, this will be drink #3 at a rum cocktail class which will absolutely, positively include a Daiquiri starter for all the reasons specified above. By the time we get to drink #3, they will have had another complete drink (not sure yet), tastes of several ingredients (orgeat, passion fruit, a bunch of rums, etc.), and will be ready for the finale. It doesn't have to be the most "authentic" tiki drink, whatever that would be. It has to be a showstopper example of the genre.

And, of course, if there were one right answer here, we wouldn't have things like this forum. :wink:


Chris Amirault

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I made a Mai Tai tonight using the BarSmarts recipe:

2 oz aged rum (I used Inner Circle green and a teeny bit of Brugal anejo to get to 2 oz)

3/4 oz lime

3/4 curacao

1 t orgeat

Was a bit too tart, so I added about a t of demerara, which rounded it out. Then I compared it to the Trader Vic version (from his Revised Bartenders Guide), and was confused once again to see VB's "1 lime" direction. Tonight, for example, I got over an ounce from one half of a small lime. Also confused to see Jeff Berry's translation of "1 lime" as "1 1/2 ounces", which would really make for a tart drink (though he includes the 1/4 oz rock candy syrup).

In short, given that I'm not going to be using Inner Circle rum for the class and haven't figured out how to balance it, I'm a bit nervous about using it as the drink. More practice, clearly, is needed.


Chris Amirault

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Try the recipe I posted upthread - I thought it made a balanced drink at different ratios than you are using. I also think the two rum approach makes a nice drink, but it might be too much hassle for your class.

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I think if you're using homemade orgeat you'd want to go a little heavier than a teaspoon, maybe cutting back on the curacao. How much is an American teaspoon in mL, anyway?

1 tsp = 5 ml


Andy Arrington

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Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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How much is an American teaspoon in mL, anyway?

It's about 5 ml. Edit: I see someone beat me to it.

Chris, I thought the Barsmarts recipe for the Mai Tai was pretty idiosyncratic. What's your usual go-to recipe?


Edited by mkayahara (log)

Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

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Two thoughts:

On the amount of lime juice, Jeff Berry changed ONLY the quantity of lime juice in the"Trader Vic's" Mai Tai recipe between the publication of "Grog Log" (which calls for 1 1/2 ozs lime juice) and "Sippin' Safari" (which calls for only 1 ounce). Having always used the older recipe, which uses more lime juice, I've always been very happy with my results. But the Beachbum's changes to this recipe seem to indicate he agrees with you.

The two-rum recipe seen in Jeff Berry's books, as well as others seems like the way to go for teaching a class about this tropical standard. After all, the practice of mixing rums for unique blends is central to the style of this category. I can't imagine teaching even a brief segment on the subject of tiki drinks without demonstrating the blending of rums, and it strikes me as odd that the Barsmarts course ignores this tradition (though, of course, who am I?)

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Matthew, I don't have a go-to Mai Tai recipe, in part bc I usually fiddle around with whatever rum I have handy until I get what I want from it. I'm also dealing with some contributed products here and can't test things out until I have the samples (heart beats faster as he looks at the date).

Having said that, I'm thinking that a Mai Tai is going to be the way to go, using Sippin' Safari ratios (i.e., cutting the lime down to 1 ounce). I'm greeting them with Wondrich's Mississippi Punch variation (to get some arrack in their bellies) and then having them make and test Daiquiris, so a Mai Tai is the next logical step, I think. I also want to showcase a particularly good batch of orgeat, and my mint has died yet, so....


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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. . . .

In short, given that I'm not going to be using Inner Circle rum for the class and haven't figured out how to balance it, I'm a bit nervous about using it as the drink. More practice, clearly, is needed.

I've run through my supply of Inner Circle green, an ingredient that Dave Wondrich's says is essential to his Both Indies cocktail. The other night, it occurred to me to try mixing equal parts Gosling's Black Seal and Cruzan 151. Not only did it work reasonably well, it made me realize that the Both Indies is a tiki drink of a sort -- even moreso when made with two rums rather than one.

Anyway, you might give it a try, Chris.


Dave Scantland
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Even better, use the Goslings 151 to blend instead of the Cruzan. Goslings "115" one of my favorites!

edit: clarification


Edited by thirtyoneknots (log)

Andy Arrington

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Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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I considered that, but I already had the Cruzan -- gathering dust because I wasn't quite sure what to do with it.

I guess I'll let it slide this time :wink:


Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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I think Appleton V/X works really well in a Mai Tai. I usually do 2:1:1/2:1/2:1/4 rum:lime:curacao:orgeat:simple, which I could swear I got from DrinkBoy, but that's not the recipe he has there now.

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