MxMo XXIV, Variations on the Mai Tai

Posted by TraderTiki on February 10th, 2008 — Posted in Bourbon, MxMo, Rum

MxMo XXIV, VariationsAnother Mixology Monday is again upon us, this time hosted at Jimmy’s Cocktail Hour. The theme this MxMo is Variations, an intriguing thought, particularly for Tiki mixology. For all of the Drinks that Don or Vic developed, there were many different recipes at Tiki Bars and exotic lounges all across the country. To give an idea of what this would have been like, consider the Flaming Moe episode of The Simpsons. After obtaining the secret recipe Homer develops, Moe gets the stranglehold on the product, but once the secret ingredient is out, the Flaming Moe becomes as readily available on every street corner as a cup of coffee. Of course, the Hotels, restaurants and lounges that sprang up during the Tiki craze didn’t even wait to get the secret ingredient, as more often than not a simple name would suffice. If the clientèle had never been to the real Don the Beachcomber’s, how would they know what to expect in a Zombie? Alls I’m saying is that recipe variations in the Tiki world are plentiful.

But enough rambling, onto the mixology! For this round of MxMo, I went with Trader Vic’s classic Mai Tai. Now, the Mai Tai itself has a few variation you’ll get depending on where you go, such as the Vic’s Mai Tai, the purported Don the Beachcomber Mai Tai Swizzle, and the Hawaiian Mai Tai, not to mention every bar or lounge’s guess of a drink. Each of these, supposedly, of their own origin. But, that’s not the variation I went for. The Mai Tai, as served at Trader Vic’s these days, usually involves their house Mai Tai Mix, rum and lime. There’s plenty of the house Mai Tai Mix flowing at Trader Vic’s, and because of its ease of use, a few classic recipes have been adapted to use it. These “variations” create 5 different drinks, each simply by changing the amount or style of liquor.

Suffering Bastard, Honi Honi, Menehune Juice, Vodka Mai Tai, Mai Tai

The drinks above, in order:

Trader Vic’s Suffering Bastard : Mai Tai with extra rum (2 ounces dark, 1 ounce light), garnished with cucumber

Honi Honi : Mai Tai with Bourbon in place of rum

Menehune Juice : Mai Tai with light rum

Vodka Mai Tai : Mai Tai with Vodka

Mai Tai : Trader Vic’s classic, using 2 ounces of aged Jamaican rum, or in the modern recipe, 1 ounce dark and one ounce gold

Besides the Menehune Juice and Vodka Mai Tai, these drinks each have further variations, or are variations of earlier recipes. The Suffering Bastard recipe was altered heavily from the original Shepherds Hotel recipe, likely for the simplicity of use. The original Honi Honi, developed by Trader Vic in the early 40s, also had nothing to do with the mix above, but was a mixture of lemon juice, apricot brandy, and rum. Hmm… apricot brandy, I’ll have to use this for the upcoming Raiders of the Lost Cocktail.

And, if you don’t know the original formula for the Mai Tai, well… first, you’re missing out. And second, the recipe, from Trader Vic’s:

Mai Tai

  • 2 ounces 17-year-old J. Wray Nephew Jamaican rum
  • 1/2 ounce French Garnier Orgeat
  • 1/2 ounce Holland DeKuyper Orange Curacao
  • /4 ounce Rock Candy Syrup
  • juice from one fresh lime

Hand shake and garnish with half of the lime shell inside the drink and float a sprig of fresh mint at the edge of the glass.

Typically I’ll use Appleton V/X for a damned fine Mai Tai, though I’ve made it with the Appleton 21, and I have to say, that was expensive, but truly Mai Tai Roa Ae.

Okole Maluna, or, Bottoms up!

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Comment by Dr. Bamboo

I want ‘em all. (Including the Flaming Moe) ;-)

Posted on February 13, 2008 at 1:23 pm

Comment by TraderTiki

Hey, whaddya know, I found another one!

When Trader Vic opened his line of mexican restaurants, Señor Pico’s, the rum was replaced with Tequila and was called a Pinky Gonzales.

One mix, so many uses. Bless ‘em!

Posted on February 15, 2008 at 6:09 pm

Pingback by SF Tiki Crawl 2008, Trader Vics Emeryville | Trader Tiki's Booze Blog

[...] drinks are all quite lovely, and virtually unchanged (well, a formula here and there) since the initial opening.  If you want a real treat though, be sure to ask for a San Francisco [...]

Posted on October 27, 2008 at 8:58 am

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