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Tiki Central Forums » » Tiki Drinks and Food » » Am I missing something about a Mai-Tai? (Update: Problem Solved!)
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Am I missing something about a Mai-Tai? (Update: Problem Solved!)
teamtom
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Apr 13, 2006
Posts: 38
From: Maryland
Posted: 2012-06-03 10:18 am   Permalink

We opened the tiki bar last night with a few guests and before the festivities really got underway, my brother and I sat down and mixed 2 $100 Mai-Tais and a single one from the Grog Log. Used Fee's orgeat, homemade simple syrup, and the exact rums called for. The only substitution was Bols Orange Curacao rather than Marie Brizard since I can't find it here in MD/DE. I have drank a lot of Mai-Tais and have liked them but I don't see how this drink converts people to tiki-philes unless they are raging rummies to start with. I honestly don't think I could serve this drink to "the public" without 9.5/10 saying "too strong, too much rum" It's 50% rum and 75% bitter. I know it seems like heresy but while I like rum, I can't see how most regular folks would sit down and have 3 of those in an evening and enjoy them. Any thoughts?





[ This Message was edited by: teamtom 2012-06-10 04:23 ]


 
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MadDogMike
Grand Member (7 years)  

Joined: Mar 30, 2008
Posts: 7398
From: The Anvil of the Sun
Posted: 2012-06-03 10:58 am   Permalink

I'm with you Tom. I'm an admitted lightweight but my wife and I ordered one Mai Tai (together, not each) at Don's and couldn't finish it. I'm better at about 25% alcohol and 75% mixer
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creepykbear
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Nov 05, 2011
Posts: 74
From: AZ
Posted: 2012-06-03 9:25 pm   Permalink

Glad it's not just me. I much prefer fruitier drinks - lots of alcohol is fine, but more of the sugary stuff!

 
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SuperEight
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 16, 2004
Posts: 268
From: Palo Alto
Posted: 2012-06-03 11:04 pm   Permalink

Are you sure you used the exact Saint James that was called for?

 
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CincyTikiCraig
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 31, 2009
Posts: 368
From: Cincinnati, Ohio USA
Posted: 2012-06-03 11:54 pm   Permalink

Some problems with your Mai Tai:

-Fee Orgeat: HFCS laden garbage. It's really awful. All of the Fee's products have taken substantial hits quality wise over the past several years. Simply put, Fee's products are simply horrible these days.

-Bols Curaçao: Near bottom shelf liqueur. Only (very) slightly better than DeKuyper, Arrow, Hiram Walker, etc.

Those two ingredients alone can make or break a Mai Tai, which is (when well made) a delicate balance of high quality ingredients. Also, did you use the Appleton 12 Year? Using lesser Appleton's will make a substantial difference in your final product. Ditto for the Agricole. I only use Saint James Hors D' Age for Mai Tais these days. And yes, when properly made, the Mai Tai is a cocktail capable of producing epiphanies. It's a classic cocktail on par with the Manhattan, Martini, Old Fashioned, Sazerac, Sidecar, etc. As to the portion of alcohol to bitter/mixer ratio in the Mai Tai, it's little different from any of the aforementioned classic cocktails.


Mail order the proper ingredients if you must (as I have done until recently), make your own Orgeat (
http://www.tikiroom.com/tikicentral/bb/viewtopic.php?topic=21769&forum=10&start=150#628324 ) but by all means do it right. There can be no half-measures where Mai Tais are concerned.


[ This Message was edited by: CincyTikiCraig 2012-06-04 00:00 ]

[ This Message was edited by: CincyTikiCraig 2012-06-04 00:02 ]


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teamtom
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Apr 13, 2006
Posts: 38
From: Maryland
Posted: 2012-06-04 04:06 am   Permalink

So only Marie Brizard Orange Curacao? I will make the orgeat but I must say, 1/4 oz? Even if Fee's was only half as good, how much difference is 1/4 oz going to make? I will track down all the ingredients and report back but I can't see how in those proportions listed on the $100 Mai Tai that it could be all that different, but I have been wrong a few times before.

And yes I used the correct rums....


 
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The Blue Kahuna
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 01, 2011
Posts: 365
From: Points East & West
Posted: 2012-06-04 04:23 am   Permalink

My two cents is that you really have to like booze in order to appreciate a Mai Tai, not everyone does . . . I do. It has actually ruined me, the thought of an ordinary highball sends shivers up my spine, I rarely order a cocktail in a restaurant anymore - unless I can engineer what I'm drinking.

Also, there is something to be said for having a professionally made drink. I have all the right stuff, and a bit of experience behind the bar so-to-speak, but there really is nothing better than a Mai Tai made for you at Smuggler's Cove, Forbidden Island, TV, Shady Lady, etc. Something about the ice, the shaking technique and atmosphere plays into it as well . . . and of course, they all taste different and have their own style, and all "taste like more" to me!


 
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teamtom
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Apr 13, 2006
Posts: 38
From: Maryland
Posted: 2012-06-04 05:36 am   Permalink

I think you may be onto something. Maybe tastes have really changed since 1940-1950. You really need to like gin or vodka to like a martini. Like I said, my brother and I like rum and drink it well but I would consider us to be "enthusiasts." That being said, I will get all the materials and make up the best Mai Tai i can muster in a week or two. Finding Marie Brizard is the tough part.
Tom


 
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spy-tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 11, 2003
Posts: 732
From: glendale, ca
Posted: 2012-06-04 06:54 am   Permalink

Just a thought... Since the Mai Tai can be an alcohol-free drink as well, mightn't there be an argument for whatever amount of booze you want in it being the correct amount? just wondering...

 
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The Granite Tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 02, 2005
Posts: 812
From: Nashua, NH
Posted: 2012-06-04 07:33 am   Permalink

The lime juice.

I've been thinking a lot about limes lately. When I get a bag of oranges, or clementines, I'm always shocked about how different one is from the next one. Yet I never taste test a lime. I think the limes have everything to do with a good or bad Mai Tai experience. Especially in the amount. I almost always use less than any recipe calls for. Too much rum is NEVER a problem with me, and my wife accidentally used 151 as one of the rums one night!


 
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teamtom
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Apr 13, 2006
Posts: 38
From: Maryland
Posted: 2012-06-04 07:52 am   Permalink

So just to recap...

Every ingredient in the Mai-Tai has been called into question except the simple syrup. This is a tough group to please!

The quest continues...


 
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Iscah
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Jun 03, 2011
Posts: 67
From: Quiet Village Tiki Lounge, MD
Posted: 2012-06-04 08:20 am   Permalink

No experience with the Fee's orgeat, but I've heard other complaints over the years about their quality taking a hit. Good orgeat does make a difference.

The curacao, IME, can really make or break the mai tai and everyone is right, Bols is horrible stuff. If you're in Maryland, Ace Beverage in DC carries the Senior's brand curacao. It's by far and away the best curacao I've ever tried, but not cheap at ~$30 a bottle (maybe it was $25. I didn't care, I was just super excited to even find it).

Lastly, lime juice. A ripe lime vs unripe can go from sour to undrinkable. Also, I've noticed that "juice of one lime" can be more than 1oz of juice from a good sized ripe lime. The recipes I've seen that actually specify are usually calling for about 0.75oz, so too much lime juice without balancing the syrups would make it too sour.

I usually do something like this to account for the extra lime juice:
1 oz Jamaican
1 oz Martinique
1/2 oz curacao
1/2 oz orgeat
1/2 oz simple syrup
juice one lime.

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Iscah
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Jun 03, 2011
Posts: 67
From: Quiet Village Tiki Lounge, MD
Posted: 2012-06-04 08:21 am   Permalink

also, where in Maryland are you? I'm in Montgomery county and haven't been able to find any of the St James rums, except for the royal ambre at Ace Beverage in DC. I'd kill for a bottle of Hors d'Age.

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teamtom
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Apr 13, 2006
Posts: 38
From: Maryland
Posted: 2012-06-04 09:04 am   Permalink

State Line in Elkton, MD. That would be a haul for you though. Maybe we could arrange a trade? I'm looking for Lemon Hart 151 or Marie Brizard Orange Curacao or El Dorado 12 year Demerara or other such items.
Tom


 
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thePorpoise
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 23, 2011
Posts: 1254
From: Tampa Bay
Posted: 2012-06-04 09:28 am   Permalink

Tom, i personally find the modern recipe for the "classic" Mai Tai way too sour so I tone the lime down to half an ounce or even less.

I like the rumminess of the drink myself, and I think that quality accounts for why so many non-tiki philes know the Mai Tai-- it is by far more like a cocktail than most tiki drinks.

for your sales and marketing purposes- you may want to include a "classic mai tai," and play up the quality rum balance with the other ingredients, then also have a version with pienapple/OJ that some people prefer (what does everyone call that- "Aloha mai tai" or somesuch?).


 
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