Sunday, July 11, 2010

Mai Tai – The Ultimate Summer Cocktail

Having lived in Hawaii, I hesitate to order a Mai Tai. Don’t get me wrong. They are my favorite summer drink.

The problem is that I've had red mai tais, blue mai tais, and yellow mai tais…and most of them have been AWFUL! A Mai Tai should be amber because the rum should dominate the drink. Short of buying the mix from the Trader Vic’s website – which is still my favorite Mai Tai – here are two recipes that are pretty close. Use only fresh squeezed juices and good quality rum.

If you decide that your mission this summer is to perfect this recipe and come up with the ultimate Mai Tai, send me your results. I’ll do a post on the best Mai Tai recipe in August and that’s one tasting I’m looking forward to!

Bon Appetit!

2 ounces rum

1/2 ounce orgeat syrup

1/2 ounce orange curacao

1/4 ounce simple syrup

Juice from one fresh lime

Sprig of mint (for garnish)

Pour rum, orgeat, orange curacao, simple syrup, and lime juice into a cocktail shaker with crushed ice. Shake well.

Strain into an old-fashioned glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a slice of lime and a sprig of fresh mint on the edge of the glass.

This version is from the Mai Tai Bar at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel in Honolulu and has been served there since 1953:

1 oz. Dark Rum

1 oz Light Rum

1 oz Orange Curacao

2 oz Orange Juice

1/2 oz Lime Juice

Dash Orgeat

Dash Simple syrup

Combine all of the ingredients in the order listed in a glass over shaved ice. Stir with a swizzle stick. Garnish with a slice of fresh pineapple.

Simple Syrup Recipe

Here is a recipe to make your own simple syrup. To prolong the shelf life of your simple syrup, add a little vodka - usually between a tablespoon and an ounce depending on how large your batch is.

2 parts sugar

1 part water

Bring the water to a boil.

Dissolve the sugar into the boiling water, stirring constantly.

Once the sugar is dissolved completely, remove the pan from the heat.

Allow to cool completely and thicken, then bottle.