Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Dueling Mai Tais

There are two restaurateurs who claim to have invented the Mai Tai in the 30's or 40's - Vic of Trader Vic's, and Don the Beachcomber who is the undisputed father of the tiki bar.

The two are similar in that they include orgeat, lime juice, and light and dark rum, and orange curaçao or the equivalent. The difference is that the Beachcomber style recipe includes additional fruit juice (in the original version, grapefruit) and a mixer I hadn't heard of before, falernum, and something like an ouzo or raki.

Over time other establishments have added more and more fruit juices. A particular recommendation from my friend Othar was this fruity mix (modified slighty from that link):

  • 3 oz. light rum
  • 3 oz. dark rum
  • 2 oz. pineapple juice
  • 2 oz. guava juice
  • Fresh squeezed juice of one lime
  • 1 oz. orange curaçao
  • 2 oz. orgeat
  • 1 oz. simple syrup
  • Crushed mint leaves like you'd have in a mojito
Makes two.

This is very similar to my previous Mai Tai recipe I've tried but with the tropical juices and mint leaves added. Here's my Trader Vic's style recipe, slightly tweaked from my previous version:
  • 1 oz. light rum
  • 1 oz. dark rum
  • 1/2 oz. Grand Marnier or some other orange liqueur like Cointreau or orange curaçao.
  • 1/2 oz. fresh squeezed lime juice (about half a lime.)
  • 1 oz. orgeat
  • 0-1/2 oz. simple syrup to taste
In both cases you shake or stir the ingredients and then pour over ice and crushed mint leaves if appropriate.

I find that both of these are quite good, but I think I prefer the simpler Trader Vic's style. My wife, though, prefers the fruitier style.

I think I'll be playing with both of these recipes for quite some time.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Orgeat syrup recipe & Mai Tai recipe

I've been experimenting with Mai Tais, and I felt I really had to make the orgeat from scratch to give it a fair shake, and boy was I right.

Here's the recipe I used for orgeat:

  • 2 1/4 cups raw, sprouted almonds
  • 1/4 tsp. orange blossom water
  • 1 oz. vodka
  • 1/2 cup sugar
Soak the almonds in a bowl in 3-4 cups water for 30 minutes, then drain - discard the water.
Coarsely chop the almonds in a food processor.
Return the almonds to the bowl and cover with 3 cups water.
Soak for 5 hours, stirring occasionally.
Strain through cheesecloth into a jar.
Add sugar, and shake occasionally for 15 minutes or until all sugar is dissolved.
Add orange blossom water and vodka.
Store in the fridge.

If you try making it, cut that in half at least, or you'll be up to your ears in orgeat.

Now, on to the Mai Tai! I'm pretty happy with this version, but I'm still experimenting.
  • 1 oz. light rum
  • 1 oz. dark rum
  • 1/2 oz. Grand Marnier or some other orange liqueur like Cointreau or orange curaçao.
  • 1/2 oz. fresh squeezed lime juice (about half a lime.)
  • 1/2 oz. orgeat
  • 1/2 oz. simple syrup (heat equal parts sugar and water until all dissolved, store in fridge)
Combine all ingredients and stir or shake, in a glass with ice. If you like, float another 1/2 oz. dark rum on top.