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
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.