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Scott S

Mai Tai Recipes

418 posts in this topic

I tried the video recipe w/ Inner Circle Green instead of Appleton 12. I liked it a whole lot but my partner thought it was a step too far. 75% Inner Circle and 25% Appleton will form the basis of my next attempt, I think, unless anyone has any better ideas.


Chris Taylor

Host, eG Forums - ctaylor@egstaff.org

 

I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

Melbourne
Harare, Victoria Falls and some places in between

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I spent the weekend making my own orgeat and falernum, both with splendid results (particularly the orgeat - that stuff's delicious!). I thought I'd seen a recipe which used both, but come last night the only ones I could find used one or the other. So ... I used the falernum instead of lime juice in a Mai Tai recipe I dug up.

This was probably the first Mai Tai we'd had. It soon turned into the second, it was that good. We're fortunate to have several people around New Zealand (and in Wellington in particular) making interesting spirits, which I should do a proper eG writeup on at some point; depending on where you are you might not find the precise ingredients I used, but those of you experienced with Mai Tais will no doubt have your own favourites. The following makes two drinks:

  • Two measures (say 60ml) Stolen white rum (local)
  • Two measures Appleton V/X
  • One measure (30ml) Smoke & Oakum English Curaçao (local)
  • One measure orgeat
  • One measure falernum

Shake together with ice and pour into a chilled glass. For each glass pour over one measure Smoke & Oakum Gunpowder Rum (another local product, and yes, it really has got gunpowder in it). Serve, sip and smile. I was less generous with the gunpowder rum in the first one; going all the way to a full measure added a certain character (and made it harder to stand up afterwards).

It didn't hurt that summer has properly arrived; the weather people are predicting 10 days of stunning weather and we were sitting outside on our deck, looking out at Cook Strait. Life stinks sometimes.

Call me a Mai Tai convert!


Leslie Craven, aka "lesliec"
Host, eG Forumslcraven@egstaff.org

After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relatives ~ Oscar Wilde

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Congrats Leslie C on making your own orgeat and falernum. I think homemade orgeat is the real key to a good Mai Tai. The sublte nuttiness and mouthfeel it contributes to a drink are incredible .

I didn't see lime juice listed as an ingredient in your mai tai and while your homemade falernum may have a good dose of lime juice I would encourage you to make a Mai Tai with lime juice and no falernum. The difference will be night and day as the falernum adds a spicier note to the drink.


Edited by Moto (log)

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Thanks, Moto.

What I was trying to say was the Mai Tai recipe I found wanted lime juice, but I used falernum instead and was very happy. But in the interests of completeness I'll do as you say.

Last night we had a Royal Bermuda Yacht Club (from cocktaildb.com) with rum, Cointreau, falernum and lime juice. I was reluctant to use the full volume of juice the recipe called for, but I did, and it was too sharp for our tastes! A bit of sugar syrup improved it, but I think we'd both have been happier with half the juice in the first place.

No argument about the orgeat. Wonderful stuff.


Leslie Craven, aka "lesliec"
Host, eG Forumslcraven@egstaff.org

After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relatives ~ Oscar Wilde

My eG Foodblog

eGullet Ethics Code signatory

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Thanks, FrogPrincesse, for acquainting me with this thread! I've been working on assembling the makings of a Mai Tai.

Sadly I misremembered seeing some older Appleton Estates at my local store. When I went today to buy some all they had was V/X. They did have one lorn bottle left of Mount Gay Extra Old, but I wanted to check with the experts here before buying it for my Mai Tai, to use in place of Jamaican.

I still have a little Barbancourt 5 star for the sugercane component. Would that mix well with the Mount Gay Extra Old?

I've also been window shopping for a proper Mai Tai glass. Would 11 1/2 oz be big enough? I have no cocktail glasses whatsoever -- other than two hurricane glasses, one of which is my son's. From what I've read the Trader Vic Mai Tai glass is 15 oz, however, to me, the printing looks more tacky than tiki (although I understand that may be part of the charm).

What I'd like is plain crystal, similar in shape to the one in Beachbum Berry's Mai Tai picture:

http://beachbumberry.com/how-to-make-a-mai-tai/


Edited by JoNorvelleWalker (log)

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Yes, but a large double old fashioned glass with sloping sides. One book I have calls it a bucket glass. I don't have a vehicle and I live in what some people call the boonies, so I need to find something on line or within walking distance. I saw one glass I liked that is 11 1/2 oz, that's why I asked if 11 1/2 oz was large enough. Many double old fashioned glasses seem to have straight sides or do not hold enough.

Another possibility, I suppose, is a pint beer glass.

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I think that 11 1/2 might be a bit small - a little under 4 ounces of liquid and 2 cups of ice.

These look nice but still might be a bit small.

But Libbey is sold in a case of twelve. Last I checked I am one person. The space under my bed is already occupied by Libbey! Nothing against Libbey, I'm having my milk at the moment in a Libbey cobalt tumbler. Though for a Mai Tai I was hoping for a better grade of glass.

The 11 1/2 oz glass that I was taken with is Baccarat. My wine glasses are Baccarat and I always wanted to have more pieces. Unfortunately I agree 11 1/2 is tight for the amount of drink. Baccarat makes larger double old fashiond's, of course, but they are rather more expensive and not as attractive, to my taste.

I've spent hours now on the web looking for the right glass. One possibility is:

http://williamyeowardcrystal.com/products-detail.asp?ProductID=1140

My concern is I never heard of William Yeoward until tonight. I have no idea if their crystal, if it is real crystal, is any good. I'm thinking it's not crystal because it's not that expensive, and there are other collections they call crystal. Note, however, that the thing holds 18 oz!

Back to ingredients, though, can no one address my question about Mount Gay Extra Old? The reviews I seen have been favorable, but I don't know how it would work in a proper Mai Tai.

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If you have access to Appleton, I would go with that. Although I use the 12-year at home, the V/X is what I have seen many bars use for the Jamaican component. I have tried it and while it's lighter than the 12, it's still a very nice rum for mixing.


Edited by FrogPrincesse (log)

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Plus it's a lot cheaper than the Mount Gay Extra Old. Hmmm. I asked the store if they could order in any older Appleton. But now from what I've been reading the older Appleton is not cost effective. Horrible decisions.

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Mount Gay Xo is boring when mixed to be honest.

Grab Appleton VX or Extra 8

Agreed. Nice sipper in a classic style but it disappears in a mixed drink. You want something assertive and distinctive; if you can't get one of the older Appletons or El Dorados something like ED5 will do fine. Ditto the two Banks blends (5 Islands and 7) and Denizen white, if you can get those. Basically as long as you mix rums with character and use good orgeat it's hard to go wrong with a Vic's Mai Tai.*

*On the "Vic's" Mai Tai note, Andrew Willett at Elemental Mixology asserts that there's no evidence that Vic Bergeron came up with the Mai Tai recipe attributed to him and that it's more likely that Vic took credit for it after the fact. Willett can be curmudgeony and delights in painting most modern mixologists as fools and frauds, but he is also well-researched and often right on fine points of mixological history. Can someone who's more familiar with Jeff Berry's research on the topic counter this assertion, or provide more context?


DrunkLab.tumblr.com

”In Demerara some of the rum producers have a unique custom of placing chunks of raw meat in the casks to assist in aging, to absorb certain impurities, and to add a certain distinctive character.” -Peter Valaer, "Foreign and Domestic Rum," 1937

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*On the "Vic's" Mai Tai note, Andrew Willett at Elemental Mixology asserts that there's no evidence that Vic Bergeron came up with the Mai Tai recipe attributed to him and that it's more likely that Vic took credit for it after the fact. Willett can be curmudgeony and delights in painting most modern mixologists as fools and frauds, but he is also well-researched and often right on fine points of mixological history. Can someone who's more familiar with Jeff Berry's research on the topic counter this assertion, or provide more context?

Hmmm. It's one way to get noticed I guess (it worked - I am now following his blog).

The history of the Mai Tai was detailed by Jeff Berry in Remixed and seemed well supported. I will have to refresh my memory regarding the specific details (good thing I have some homemade orgeat left in the fridge).

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*On the "Vic's" Mai Tai note, Andrew Willett at Elemental Mixology asserts that there's no evidence that Vic Bergeron came up with the Mai Tai recipe attributed to him and that it's more likely that Vic took credit for it after the fact. Willett can be curmudgeony and delights in painting most modern mixologists as fools and frauds, but he is also well-researched and often right on fine points of mixological history. Can someone who's more familiar with Jeff Berry's research on the topic counter this assertion, or provide more context?

Hmmm. It's one way to get noticed I guess (it worked - I am now following his blog).

The history of the Mai Tai was detailed by Jeff Berry in Remixed and seemed well supported. I will have to refresh my memory regarding the specific details (good thing I have some homemade orgeat left in the fridge).

It's well worth following, though I object in part to his tone and his framing (only clear-eyed mixological historian vs. hipster charlatans) and his general approach to cocktail history (strict prescriptivism based on a somewhat problematic canon of pre-prohibition literature). That said, I've learned a lot from his work, and his work on classifications and families of mixed drinks is well worth reading.


Edited by Rafa (log)

DrunkLab.tumblr.com

”In Demerara some of the rum producers have a unique custom of placing chunks of raw meat in the casks to assist in aging, to absorb certain impurities, and to add a certain distinctive character.” -Peter Valaer, "Foreign and Domestic Rum," 1937

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Mount Gay Xo is boring when mixed to be honest.

Grab Appleton VX or Extra 8

Agreed. Nice sipper in a classic style but it disappears in a mixed drink. You want something assertive and distinctive; if you can't get one of the older Appletons or El Dorados something like ED5 will do fine. Ditto the two Banks blends (5 Islands and 7) and Denizen white, if you can get those. Basically as long as you mix rums with character and use good orgeat it's hard to go wrong with a Vic's Mai Tai.*

*On the "Vic's" Mai Tai note, Andrew Willett at Elemental Mixology asserts that there's no evidence that Vic Bergeron came up with the Mai Tai recipe attributed to him and that it's more likely that Vic took credit for it after the fact. Willett can be curmudgeony and delights in painting most modern mixologists as fools and frauds, but he is also well-researched and often right on fine points of mixological history. Can someone who's more familiar with Jeff Berry's research on the topic counter this assertion, or provide more context?

I just got off the phone with my supplier: he can have 12 year old Appleton in by day after tomorrow. I ordered. For that matter he can get a range of the older Appletons however the 50 year seems a bit excessive.

Thanks for the link to Andrew Willett. I notice Willett calls for using only a single rum in the Mai Tai, for which he strongly recommends Wray & Nephew white overproof, which as I recall my dealer has on shelf. Any thoughts? Strange to see a picture of an all white Mai Tai, though.

As far as the origin of the Mai Tai, The NY Times lukewarmly credits it to Beach:

http://www.nytimes.com/1989/06/09/obituaries/donn-beach-restaurateur-81.html

A good source of Mai Tai lore is chapter 9 of Wayne Curtis' book "and a Bottle of RUM, a history of the new world in ten cocktails". Chapter 9 is appropriately named "Mai Tai". Interesting to read that upon her release on bail, terrorist/heiress Patty Hearst, who presumably could have had pretty much anything she wanted, called for a Mai Tai.

And according to Curtis: "Jeff Berry is the most rigorous tiki cocktail archaeologist practicing today..."


Edited by JoNorvelleWalker (log)

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I would definitely not use Wray and Nephew in a Mai Tai. When you awoke from your Wray induced slumber you would surely not do that again:) To me a mai tai is about all the ingredients at balance to give a perfect cocktail. Just the right amount of lime, and orgeat, combined with a good mix of rums to create a perfect cocktail. Half the fun is coming up with different rum combinations that work. My combination changes all time. I started with Mount Gay Eclipse and as I built my rum collection I now have three or four favorites.

It astes good with only Appleton, or only El Dorado. Tastes even better with a little Clement mixed in. Lately I have been including a 1/4 oz of Smith and Cross in whatever combo I go with

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I bet 1/2 oz wray, 1/2 oz SC, 1 oz Appleton 12 would be SICK! Too bad it's getting chilly here (and I'm still recovering from the worst hangover of 2013), or I'd mix one up right away

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I bet 1/2 oz wray, 1/2 oz SC, 1 oz Appleton 12 would be SICK! Too bad it's getting chilly here (and I'm still recovering from the worst hangover of 2013), or I'd mix one up right away

Exactly. I don't see why Wray & Nephew couldn't work in a Mai Tai in the same way S&C works, as one component of a more rounded rum mix. It's delicious on its own and mixes well in most places S&C is called for. 2 oz of the stuff would overwhelm the other flavors but a half or even a whole ounce mixed with one or two other rums sounds delicious. I might try that tonight or tomorrow...


DrunkLab.tumblr.com

”In Demerara some of the rum producers have a unique custom of placing chunks of raw meat in the casks to assist in aging, to absorb certain impurities, and to add a certain distinctive character.” -Peter Valaer, "Foreign and Domestic Rum," 1937

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S&C isn't available out here in the outer spiral arm of the Pacific, so out of necessity I can confirm W&N is delicious in a Mai Tai. Along with Appleton VX and home-made orgeat, falernum and curaçao, and some Gunpowder Rum on top.

And I now own a couple of Tiki mugs too ... life stinks sometimes.

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Leslie Craven, aka "lesliec"
Host, eG Forumslcraven@egstaff.org

After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relatives ~ Oscar Wilde

My eG Foodblog

eGullet Ethics Code signatory

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All my suppliers and shipments came through and I have prepared my very first Mai Tai, and the first Mai Tai I've had since the 1980's.

I used:

1 oz Appleton 12

1 oz Barbancourt 5 star

1/2 oz Grand Marnier

3/4 oz fresh lime juice

1/2 oz Small Hand orgeat

1/4 oz Small Hand syrup

I shook with 2 cups crushed ice and served in a tumbler with half a spent lime and brused fresh mint.

The orange was pretty much undetectable so I added 1/4 oz more Grand Marnier. Even so all that comes forward is Appleton, lime, and sweetness. Not that it's a bad drink, but not what I remember. The orange and almonds are wandering around lost somewhere and the mint is only nice to look at. I tried eating some of the mint neat, and unfortunately it does not have much flavor. Maybe it's the time of the year? And I don't think I can tell the Barbancourt is in there.

I think I'd like less sweetness and less lime. Definitely less sweetness. I muddled up the sprig of mint with my green straw, and finally a little hit of mint.

Thoughts and suggestions would be welcome.

P.S. With only a quarter glass left of mostly melted ice, without measuring I dumped in some Appleton and orgeat. I like it! Better than at the start.

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Hi Jo.

As with, I suppose, all cocktails, personal taste comes into this. I don't like tart/citrus to be noticeable in my drinks, so for the Mai Tai I use my own falernum instead of lime juice. There's certainly still lime character, but so much more richness of flavour and less tartness. But you're right about the Grand Marnier/curaçao; I don't recall ever noticing the orange with everything else going on in there.


Leslie Craven, aka "lesliec"
Host, eG Forumslcraven@egstaff.org

After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relatives ~ Oscar Wilde

My eG Foodblog

eGullet Ethics Code signatory

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Thanks for the encouragement! Tonight I used:

2 oz Appleton 12

1/2 oz Grand Marnier

3/8 oz fresh lime juice

1 oz Small Hand orgeat (I was aiming for 3/4 oz and missed)

Garnished with no lime this time, but with a small forest of fresh mint. Much more to my taste. Sweetness is still a little much, so next time perhaps I'll cut the orgeat to 3/4 oz and up the lime, but just a bit. I could drink a lot of these.

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Don't mind me, just posting this recipe again:

0.75oz Skipper Demerera
0.75oz Smith & Cross
1.25oz Trois Riveries Blanc
1.25oz Lime
0.75oz Pierre Ferrand Curaçao
0.5 oz Orgeat
0.25oz Vanilla Syrup.

Shake, strain over cubed ice, crown with crushed, lime husk with bitters dashed on and large mint sprig for garnish.

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