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Tiki Central Forums Tiki Drinks and Food The Mai Tai, a component study in Mixology
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The Mai Tai, a component study in Mixology
Hakalugi
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Joined: Aug 10, 2004
Posts: 3423
From: Redondo Beach, CA
Posted: 2006-07-14 2:02 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2006-07-14 13:55, Tikiwahine wrote:
The bottle says:

suga, water, glucose syrup, natural almond extract, natural aromas. No preservative



Tikiwahine, can you taste rose water or orange-flower water in this orgeat? Hopefully this is the "natural aromas" element.


 
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tikiskip
Grand Member (8 years)  

Joined: Nov 26, 2005
Posts: 4532
Posted: 2006-07-14 6:11 pm   Permalink

The Orange flower water, And the rose flower water. tastes like cheap perfume. Not like oranges at all. Also almond milk has a roasted nut flavor, might not be good for this use. Has anyone had this Rieme almond syrup? Its sweet but has good flavor. I found it at Fresh Market.

 
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Hakalugi
Site Administrator

Joined: Aug 10, 2004
Posts: 3423
From: Redondo Beach, CA
Posted: 2006-07-14 7:17 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2006-07-14 18:11, tikiskip wrote:
The Orange flower water, And the rose flower water. tastes like cheap perfume. Not like oranges at all. ...



On their own this is true. However, orgeat without rose water or orange-flower water is not true orgeat, it's just almond syrup.


 
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martiki
Official Mixologist

Joined: Mar 29, 2002
Posts: 3059
From: http://www.smugglerscovesf.com
Posted: 2006-07-14 9:31 pm   Permalink

OK, guess I just can't resist posting on this thread any longer. Sorry to backtrack a little, but:

1. Limes- Chances are very good that he made the first Mai Tai with a Bearss/Persian. I think Key Limes make a nice Mai Tai, but are too fussy for my taste. The juice quantity/quality ratio of the Bearss is nearly unbeatable. I should know: I use six thousand of them a month. The king of the margarita, Julio Bermejo of Tommy's/Tres Agaves swears by the Persian as well for his flawless margaritas. Yes, he is the Mexican government's tequila ambassador to the United States (real job!) But I digress. And they're extra great now that they're in season.

Juicing them is cause for some debate, but most techniques work well. The flip top style juicers yield quite a bit, with modest peel oil for a good balance. I use the flip top style at home for small quantities, and an Acme brand electic juicer for parties. It was available at Williams-Sonoma for some time, but appears to be gone. They do sell a stand mixer attachment which would do about the same thing. I broke three cheap models before settling on the Acme bad boy, and I love it.

Trader Vic's- the older locations- use a plier like device which is hard on the hands, but works beautifully with fresh limes- out of seasons are tough. Unfortunately, they are all actually vintage juicers which we could never find again. When one broke, we had to wait til we found one on eBay. At FI, we use an Italian commericial juicer that is a machine of war. It also seperates most of the peel oil to cut down on the bitterness. But the flip tops are great- KKA is right- buy the lemon model.

Vic's locations never shake the shell, and neither did the Trader. Peel oil is aromatic, but can be bitter in too high a dose. Hand squeezing the shell will bring the oils to the surface so when placed on top of the Mai Tai, it will provide the aromas without the bitter taste. Vic himself only added the shell after shaking for color, but the perfumy quality, along with the mint, is excellent. When using an electric juicer with a router don't press too hard, or the really bitter rind will come through.

There is a way to cut limes with four cuts first when hand juicing to get the most possible juice, but I'd need to find a diagram to explain it. It's more trouble than it's worth, anyway.

2. Orgeat- I have made the recipe that Swanky posted and it creates an absolutely superb product. Really wonderful and aromatic. I wanted to do it here at FI, but for time/cost reasons, it was simply WAY too prohibitive. I have tried Monin, TV and Torani side by side both straight and in a Mai Tai. I like the Torani over the other two, but not by much. Vic's tastes a little more artificial and the Monin is just plain strong. Both Torani and Monin (I think) are made with sugar cane, and the Vic's is made with HFCS, which puts it on my shit list. By the way, the "Double Strength" thing on the labels is essentially meaningless. Just marketing. Don't let that throw you.

3. Curacao- Having just gone to a tasting with the importer of Senior Curacao, and trying all of the US available products, I do have some fresh thoughts on this.

And there are important differences between all those products listed by C&A- they are not interchangeable.

There is only one real Curacao in the world, and that is Senior & Co. Curacao of Curacao. They own the last remaining curacao orange groves on earth, and still produce it today with these oranges. It is, I think, wonderful. In the US, you can get the clear, blue and orange varieties. The spirit is naturally clear- the rest are all just food coloring. I think it's great that we can get the clear in the US now- good news Jabbo! The Jab has said that the Senior & Co. brand is too overpowering in the Mai Tai's original ratios, and I'm inclined to agree. I'd cut it back a touch and increase the simple syrup to taste.

As for the other Curacaos on the market, Marie Brizzard is excellent and my personal favorite after the Senior. I think it has a lot of character. After that, the DeKuyper. (Vic invented the Mai Tai with DeKuyper, by the way, but it was the original Dutch version, and probably made with real oranges and no HFCS. DeKuyper is now made in the states under license)

Cointreau and Grand Marnier are different spirits entirely, and at 80 proof, will impart a different character/sweetness level on your Mai Tai than 60-62 proof Curacao. They are made with real orange, however, which is always a plus.

99.999% of Triple Sec is unusable trash. It is 50 proof chemicals and HFCS and should be avoided. Luxardo does make a triple sec with real oranges, but it is more like Cointreau.

Bring on the rum discussion!



 
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Chip and Andy
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Joined: Jul 13, 2004
Posts: 2277
From: Corner table, Molokai Lounge, Mai-Kai.
Posted: 2006-07-15 05:19 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2006-07-14 21:31, martiki wrote:

1. Limes- Chances are very good that he made the first Mai Tai with a Bearss/Persian....

...Vic's locations never shake the shell, and neither did the Trader. Peel oil is aromatic, but can be bitter in too high a dose. Hand squeezing the shell will bring the oils to the surface so when placed on top of the Mai Tai, it will provide the aromas without the bitter taste. ...

2. Orgeat- I have made the recipe that Swanky posted and it creates an absolutely superb product. Really wonderful and aromatic....

3. Curacao- ...And there are important differences between all those products listed by C&A- they are not interchangeable.

Bring on the rum discussion!



Thank you Martiki, I was hoping you would join our discussion. You have probably the most unique insight into this topic and most of us on the East Coast would love to sit and talk story with you for that same reason.

And, thank you also for the insight on the Curacao. I did not mean to imply that Curacao was interchangeable with any of the others, I merely want everyone to taste and share with us which options they do have. I have heard of many using a Patron product that I am anxious to here the taste description of.

When we get to the rums we will also begin the discussion on how best to adjust the recipe for a 'perfect Mai-Tai' to account for the variations in products being used.

And, for those of you playing along at home, if you don't already have some Jamaican and Martinique rums you will want to start shopping. Those two islands/nations/styles will be the starting point for our rum discussion.

Any more taste opinions on Curacao, Orgeat, or Lime?
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thejab
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 2987
From: Tradewinds Apartments, Alameda, CA
Posted: 2006-07-15 08:11 am   Permalink

Well discussed martiki. I can't add anything.

On to rums. I go with Beachbum Berry's rum "ration" of one ounce Martinique and one ounce Jamaican rums.

Currently I use the Rhum St. James Hors D'Age and Appleton Extra or V/X (depending on my booze budget). I've tasted 3 Appleton gold rums (regular, V/X, and Extra) side-by-side and found a big difference between regular and V/X (the V/X was much better) but not as much difference between V/X and Extra, so pick up the V/X if you can't afford the Extra. I am dying to make one with Appleton 21-year old. Has anyone tried it? Hey, if Trader Vic used 17-year Jamaican rum in the first Mai Tai perhaps using the 21-year Appleton (without Martinique) is going to come closest to the original.


 
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DJ HawaiianShirt
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Joined: Feb 04, 2006
Posts: 150
From: NoVA, DC
Posted: 2006-07-15 08:59 am   Permalink

Can someone link me to Swanky's orgeat recipe?

 
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Hakalugi
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Joined: Aug 10, 2004
Posts: 3423
From: Redondo Beach, CA
Posted: 2006-07-15 09:06 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2006-07-15 08:59, DJ HawaiianShirt wrote:
Can someone link me to Swanky's orgeat recipe?



The link is in this very thread. If you start from the beginning you will find it.


 
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Hakalugi
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Joined: Aug 10, 2004
Posts: 3423
From: Redondo Beach, CA
Posted: 2006-07-15 09:08 am   Permalink

Let's not gloss over what Tikiwahine said:

Quote:

On 2006-07-14 11:12, Tikiwahine wrote:
Does no one else have access to 1883 de Philibert Routin Orgeat?

Imported from France, they're made from pure, natural fruits, spices and flavors with no artificial flavors and no preservatives.

Monin tasted like chemical laden garbage when tasted next to the 1883.




It sounds like this may be the best commercially available orgeat.

Martiki, have you tried this one? Anyone else? I think I need to pick up a bottle of this.

As far as rums go, I am in complete agreement with what the Jab pointed out. These also correlate with what Jeff Berry recommends for the Hundred Dollar Mai Tai.

I once tried the the St. James Amber and it is truly awful compared to the Hors D'age. Do not skimp on the Martinique rum and stick with the St. James Hors D'age.


 
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Kona Chris
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Joined: Jul 16, 2005
Posts: 241
From: Tucson, AZ
Posted: 2006-07-15 12:15 pm   Permalink

I recently (FINALLY) found the St. James Hors D'Age here in Tucson ($33.99 a bottle), so I picked that up along with the Appleton Extra($26). I've so far made two mai tai using this combination, and there is no doubt that it was very good, although the drink was definitely less sweet than when I was just using Pyrat XO. Considering how sweet the XO is, this was no surprise. I'm going to have to do some side by side comparison, because I'm not sure how convinced I am that the extra expense of using the Hors D'Age and the Extra is really worth it to my palate. Especially when the Pyrat XO is $14.99 a bottle.

At this point, I still need a good curacao, which is un-obtainable in Tucson, from what I can tell.

Chris



[ This Message was edited by: Kona Chris 2006-07-18 01:20 ]


 
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Chip and Andy
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Joined: Jul 13, 2004
Posts: 2277
From: Corner table, Molokai Lounge, Mai-Kai.
Posted: 2006-07-15 12:52 pm   Permalink

Don't jump to the completed Mai-Tai quite so fast! We still need to analyze the flavors of the rums individually so that we know what each element is bringing to the glass.

Pour yourself a 'wee-dram' of each of your rums and taste them each on their own. Then, tell us what rum you are pouring and what it tastes like as an individual drink. Let's try to keep our focus on Jamaican and Martinique rums to begin with. We can branch out to other rums later, lets start as close to the target recipe as we can....

And for those of you joining us late, do please continue to tell us about your tastings of Lime, Orgeat and Curcao...

And, for bonus points: Mix a Mai-Tai with all of the ingredients so far (everything but the rum) and try it. I think you will find the blend of flavors to be quite exotic so far. And the aroma is quite something as well. Lets not forget that what you smell is as much of the flavor as what you taste...

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[ This Message was edited by: Chip and Andy 2006-07-15 18:14 ]


 
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Sabu The Coconut Boy
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Joined: Aug 20, 2002
Posts: 2802
From: Carson, California
Posted: 2006-07-15 8:43 pm   Permalink

Sorry to de-rail the current progress of this fine thread, but I'm returning to Limes again.

This morning I was able to purchase some Fallbrook Limes from the local farmer's market in Torrance. I suspect these limes are only available in California, but I thought I'd try them in a Mai Tai and share the research with the group.

Here are some photos comparing two Fallbrook Limes to one of the larger Mexican Limes (Myers?), available in the local Hispanic market near my house. The Mexican limes are my standard ingredient for Mai Tais and make a darn good Mai Tai at that. Normally, they are lime-sized but they are in season right now and have ballooned up to the size of lemons this month. They are cheap too right now, at 4 lbs to the dollar. The Fallbrook Limes are a regular lime size, have yellower skin and flesh, have thinner rinds, and are very juicy as well. They cost me $2.00 a lb.:



First the taste test. The Mexican Lime has a strong, sour, tart flavor and leaves no aftertaste. The Fallbrook Limes on the other hand have no sour or tart taste whatsoever. They are sweet and they leave an aftertaste of Key Lime Pie in your mouth. They are defintely limes though. The aftertaste is defintely Key Lime Pie and not Lemon Meringue Pie. They are a nice lime just to suck on, much like an orange.

I next mixed two double-Mai Tais according to the standard Trader Vic's recipe I've always used and learned from Doctor Z. I used the same amount of juice in each Mai Tai. Then I sampled them. The Mexican Lime Mai Tai was sublime as normal - tart and the flavors of the rums come through nicely and mix with the lime for a complex and wonderful drink. No surprise there.

Then I sampled the Fallbrook Lime Mai Tai. I was prepared to be disappointed but I was surprised at how badly I was disappointed. The Mai Tai was sickly sweet and hard to choke down. The sweetness of the limes mixed with the syrups in the drink completely overpowered the rums and left just the whisper of lime on your tongue afterwards. It wasn't just a poor Mai Tai, it was a execrable drink altogether and I had to dump it down the sink. It was sad to waste that good rum.

It just proved to me how important the right kind of lime is to the flavor of a Mai Tai. The drink I made with the Fallbrook Limes I wouldn't even consider calling a Mai Tai. It was a completely different creature.

Sabu
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Chip and Andy
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Joined: Jul 13, 2004
Posts: 2277
From: Corner table, Molokai Lounge, Mai-Kai.
Posted: 2006-07-16 05:18 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2006-07-15 20:43, Sabu The Coconut Boy wrote:
Sorry to de-rail the current progress of this fine thread, but I'm returning to Limes again.

...The Fallbrook Limes on the other hand have no sour or tart taste whatsoever. They are sweet and they leave an aftertaste of Key Lime Pie in your mouth....



Thank you for joining in, Sabu. An interesting Lime indeed.

And thank you for making the observation about the balance of the Mai-Tai, the very reason we are taking this tasting journey. The difference between a Mai-Tai and a Really Good Mai-Tai and the elusive Perfect Mai-Tai is all a matter of balance. The Perfect Mai-Tai is a balance of sweet and sour, between sweet and savory, and most importantly engages all of the senses. If we know what each ingredient is adding to the glass we can make the adjustments to account for the variations in those ingredients. And limes are a perfect example because they are a seasonal fruit. Sometimes they're sweeter than others...
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Chip and Andy
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Joined: Jul 13, 2004
Posts: 2277
From: Corner table, Molokai Lounge, Mai-Kai.
Posted: 2006-07-16 4:37 pm   Permalink

I have an advantage at the moment and that is I have four people in the house right now, four people who are all willing to be my taste testers. I took the opportunity and pour some rum for everyone then in my best interviewer voice asked them about what each rum tastes like.


We sampled some St James and some Appleton and here is what we think:


St James Royal Ambre: A two year rum with an easy nose and slight hints of caramel. A bit astringent overall and the oak comes through on the nose and very weak on the palate.

St James Extra Old (Black label): Much smoother overall with much higher notes of oak. All around sweeter.

Nothing overly remarkable about either of these two. Very solid rums worthy of being on any home bar. The Wahine is starting to feel all warm and squishy inside by this point...

Then, on to the Appleton!

Appleton Estate VX: Very smooth overall with very pleasant notes of oak and slight hints of something 'green' like fresh cane.

Appleton Estate Extra: A 12 year blend that everyone liked, but no one but me was willing to drink straight. Very smooth, very sweet on the nose and palate, then the alcohol, then a sweet lingering after taste.

And, with special thanks to Helztiki, a special sampling of Appleton 21 year: Everyone loved this one, is was smooth and clear in taste, no harsh or 'hotness' to it. I am going to guess that since this was the last one tried and everyone was starting to feel (and talk) like a pirate by now, this one would have had a better description if we had started here.


Again, for those of you late to the game, do please continue to tell us about your tastings of Lime, Curacao and Orgeat.

For those of you excited about getting a complete set of taste profiles, tell us about your rums because very soon we will be pulling all of our tastes together into one glass for what we hope to be the best Mai Tai you have ever had.

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Who wants a Mai Tai?

[ This Message was edited by: chip and andy 2007-06-25 15:02 ]


 
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Swanky
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Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 5276
From: Hapa Haole Hideaway, TN
Posted: 2006-07-17 06:38 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2006-07-14 21:31, martiki wrote:
Vic's locations never shake the shell, and neither did the Trader. Peel oil is aromatic, but can be bitter in too high a dose. Hand squeezing the shell will bring the oils to the surface so when placed on top of the Mai Tai, it will provide the aromas without the bitter taste. Vic himself only added the shell after shaking for color, but the perfumy quality, along with the mint, is excellent. When using an electric juicer with a router don't press too hard, or the really bitter rind will come through.


You brought this all back to my rum-cloudy memory. I was recalling wrong. TV Atlanta, I watch Joel squeeze the half lime into the shaker and put the shell on the bar. Then he mixes and, I think, puts the shell in the glass, atop some added crushed ice, and then pours the drink on top of that. It floats on top.
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