Maybe it was the Exotica music that triggered it, or tasting the fine examples at Tao Tao’s in Sunnyvale: I went on a hunt for the best Mai-tai recipe.
Where the hell is that Demarara?
Mix: “Bleh” to those pre-mixed Mai-Tai bottle-blends. Even Trader Vic’s mix is too sour and without much fresh flavor. Dey all lousy, fuggedaboudit.
Sweet: I’ve tried a variety of sweeteners, from coconut syrup to orgeat syrup, but real juice just keeps coming back as the best answer.
Juice: Avoid tinned pineapple juice with that metallic taste, or anything less than fresh-squeezed. In the Islands pineapple juice is easy to get, while Island oranges tend to be less sweet – so pineapple/orange juice is not going to be sugary glop like you in the grocery stores here.
As a juice base I prefer passion fruit juice. If none is available pineapple-orange juice combinations are fine, or even “POG” – Pineapple-Orange-Guava, which is an Island specialty. Ultimately the drink should be flavorful without being too sweet or bitter.
Prepare two glasses with 4-5 ice cubes. Pour a dribble of juice from the jar of maraschino cherries into the bottom, over the ice.
In a cocktail shaker with 5 cubes of ice (for two persons) prepare:
- 1/2 shot lime juice – to cut the sweetness
- 1/2 shot Triple sec
1/2 shot Orange Curacao
1/2 shot Cointreau or Drambui
- 1 shot Light rum, or even better, Brazilian Toucano, a Chacacha, (a light rum from the first press of the sugar cane juice itself) http://www.internetwines.com/rws19181.html
- 1 shot good Jamaican Gold rum
- 1 shot Demarara or Guyana 151 rum, or Myers’s
Fill shaker to the line with passion fruit juice, or 3 parts fresh pineapple to 1-part orange juice mix.
Shake until it’s cold.
Carefully pour over ice in drink-glasses. Avoiding swirling or tumbling the drink mixture with the bottom layer. You want to achieve a sunset, with light colors on the bottom, and the dark on top. Top with a 1/2 shot float of dark rum: a Negrito from Barbados, or Myers’s.
Pineapple slices skewered with a cherry under an umbrella should be used as garnish. Insert colorful straw.
Put on album of Martin Denny music.