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Tiki Central Forums » » Tiki Drinks and Food » » How to Make the Perfect Mai Tai
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How to Make the Perfect Mai Tai
TropicDrinkBoy
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Joined: Feb 27, 2011
Posts: 275
Posted: 2013-09-04 5:49 pm   Permalink

Please don't beat the late great PKNY. It may not be your idea of the perfect Tiki bar but it was the best one in New York City. Read the Bum's review of it in his blog!

Now that the PKNY is closed what's the best Manhattan Tiki bar, Otto's Shrunken Head?

[ This Message was edited by: TropicDrinkBoy 2013-09-04 18:46 ]


 
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djmont
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 03, 2011
Posts: 366
From: Potomac Falls, VA
Posted: 2013-09-04 6:51 pm   Permalink

The color of the drink gets that odd hue and glow from the lights. I've had it happen to me when taking cocktail photos. If you note the color of the ingredients, they all look right.
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thePorpoise
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 23, 2011
Posts: 1231
From: Tampa Bay
Posted: 2013-09-04 6:54 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2013-09-04 16:22, JTizzle_Swizzle wrote:
Swizzled? No flash blend w/ crushed ice? Float the Bacardi/Gosling's overproof rum? (No Lemon Hart 151???) Did you convert his proportions to ounces? Just about everything is way off from the '34.

Overproof rum in the original Trader Vic Mai Tai? Combined with Val's dry shake? Powdered sugar on top? Eh?



JTizzle Swizzle, in a hissy-tizzy, fo' shizzle!


 
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Dr. Coruba
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 02, 2008
Posts: 182
Posted: 2013-09-11 04:43 am   Permalink

I hope I never find "the perfect Mai Tai." The journey has been the reward, and even the not so good Mai Tai rum parings I mixed myself have been better than the grenadine laced, pineapple juiced, miscarriages of mixology I've wasted money on in countless bars.

Last night I tried a new Mai Tai rum paring and it surprised me how good it was. Chairman's Reserve and Lemon Hart 80. If you have them on your shelf, I would recommend you give it a try.

[ This Message was edited by: Dr. Coruba 2013-09-11 21:15 ]


 
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blueeyedtiki
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Aug 02, 2013
Posts: 25
Posted: 2013-09-11 04:55 am   Permalink

"Miscarriages of mixology" is my new favorite phrase.

 
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Maitai Mike
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Sep 20, 2010
Posts: 31
Posted: 2013-10-05 8:16 pm   Permalink

My "everyday" mai tai is 1 oz. fresh lime juice, 1/4 demarara sugar syrup, 1/2 oz orgeat, 1/2 oz orange curacao, 1 oz Cruzan Aged Gold rum, 1 oz Coruba dark rum. Shake with crushed ice.

 
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The Gnomon
Grand Member (7 years)  

Joined: May 01, 2007
Posts: 1293
From: MD-DC-VA
Posted: 2013-10-20 10:36 am   Permalink

When I make a Mai Tai I like to take the following account into consideration:

=========

I was at the service bar in my Oakland restaurant. I took down a bottle of 17-year-old rum. It was J. Wray Nephew from Jamaica; surprisingly golden in color, medium bodied, but with the rich pungent flavor particular to the Jamaican blends. The flavor of this great rum wasn't meant to be overpowered with heavy additions of fruit juices and flavorings. I took a fresh lime, added some orange curacao from Holland, a dash of Rock Candy Syrup, and a dollop of French Orgeat, for its subtle almond flavor. A generous amount of shaved ice and vigorous shaking by hand produced the marriage I was after. Half the lime shell went in for color ... I stuck in a branch of fresh mint and gave two of them to Ham and Carrie Guild, friends from Tahiti, who were there that night. Carrie took one sip and said, "Mai Tai - Roa Ae". In Tahitian this means "Out of This World - The Best". Well, that was that. I named the drink "Mai Tai".

Victor Jules Bergeron, Jr.

=========

This account used to be posted on the official Trader Vic's website but years ago they removed it and since that time have continually butchered the site. Now there's hardly anything on it.

Anyway, Vic had to adjust the formula a few times. The 17 year old Jamaican rum he used was becoming scarce, so he had to find substitutes that would mimic the original flavor. The DeKuyper Orange Curaçao he was using became inconsistent in quality so he changed brands. The changes he made over the years could have been improvements, so was the perfect Mai Tai the very original, the one he was making at the end of his mixology career, or one of the adjustments in between? The various adjustments Vic made turned out all "authentic" Mai Tais. I would say for a Mai Tai to be (approach) perfection, it has to be authentic.

The "original" Mai Tai might be extinct, but many of us do what we can to preserve as much of the original as possible. Knowing that Vic made adjustments when necessary that rendered authentic Mai Tais, it gives us license to do the same. I make my own rock candy syrup and my own orgeat. When it comes to rum, I use what I can get and afford at the time. The lowest in quality I'll settle for to do the concoction justice is a combination of Appleton Estate VX with Coruba and Appleton Estate Extra. If I can't, at least, have the AE Extra on hand, I won't bother making the Mai Tai. In fact, once you get into the really cheap rums, I'm not sure it should even be called a Mai Tai. The Mai Tai is a showcase for the best quality rum one can find, not the cheapest.

Even the original proportions of ingredients are also a bit of a mystery. How big is a dollop? It can be pretty big. Orgeat at room temperature is too liquefied to make a dollop so you have to chill it. When you do, sometimes you can get a dollop the size of a snowball. It's more practical to just pour in a certain amount. Some use ¼ oz., others (like me) use ½ oz. (sometimes more). I still try the chilled orgeat/dollop method once in a while to see if there was a legitimate reason for it in the original recipe. I haven't found a good reason yet.

The old TV site had Vic's Mai Tai recipe on it and it called for the juice of one lime. I use Key limes rather than Persian limes. The juice of one Key lime is enough. The juice of one Persian lime is way too much. I would guess that Vic used Persian limes, but it is never mentioned. Of course, when he says to use the juice of one lime he does not say to use all of its juice.

He also calls for shaved ice, not crushed ice. Shaved ice dissolves quickly when it's shaken, whereas crushed ice does not. Most Mai Tai recipes you find these days call for crushed ice, probably because it is more readily available. Most blenders will render crushed ice and there are inexpensive ice crushers available. There are inexpensive "so called" ice shavers with blades that chip away at ice cubes, but they don't really give you shaved ice, only coarse or fine crushed ice depending on the setting. A cheap way to get shaved ice is to use a Magic Bullet with an Ice Shaver Blade. The old ones could shave ice but they'd break because the gear that turns the blade was plastic. The new ones have a metal gear that holds up to the beating it takes, chopping ice cubes into snowy powder. If you have an old Magic Bullet, you can buy an Ice Shaver Blade by itself. It fits the old bullet as well.

Making the Mai Tai requires some reasoning and some guesswork, but eventually, one gets a feel for it. As long as the mixologist takes that quote from VJB, Jr shown above into consideration, they'll probably come up with something that comes close to practical perfection.

But if someone is fiddling around with it for the first time, they might try it the way
The Bum does. In addition, Martiki knows his way around a Mai Tai and there has been a link to his video posted here earlier. Between the two or with either one alone they'll be on the right track.





Crap! Had to fix something. In my defense, English is just my native language.



[ This Message was edited by: The Gnomon 2013-10-20 10:40 ]


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AdOrAdam
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Jun 16, 2013
Posts: 421
From: Wolverhampton, UK
Posted: 2013-10-20 2:41 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2013-10-20 10:36, The Gnomon wrote:
When I make a Mai Tai I like to take the following account into consideration:

Vic had to adjust the formula a few times... The "original" Mai Tai might be extinct, but many of us do what we can to preserve as much of the original as possible... The lowest in quality I'll settle for is ... The Mai Tai is a showcase for the best quality rum one can find...



Great post The Gnomon

I agree - I was steady making mai tais with normal liqour til I had a one with top shelf liqour, now my combos don't fit the bill.


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thePorpoise
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 23, 2011
Posts: 1231
From: Tampa Bay
Posted: 2013-10-20 9:52 pm   Permalink

I enjoy a well-made Mai Tai from time to time. it's a good cocktail.

Tonight, I took down a bottle of 21-year-old rum. It was Appleton Estate Rare Limited Edition made by J. Wray Nephew from Jamaica; surprisingly amber in color, medium bodied, but with the rich pungent flavor particular to the Jamaican blends. The flavor of this great rum wasn't meant to be overpowered with heavy additions of fruit juices and flavorings. At the risk of tiki heresy, I therefore enjoyed it neat.





[ This Message was edited by: thePorpoise 2013-10-20 21:53 ]


 
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The Gnomon
Grand Member (7 years)  

Joined: May 01, 2007
Posts: 1293
From: MD-DC-VA
Posted: 2013-10-21 01:25 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2013-10-20 21:52, thePorpoise wrote:
I enjoy a well-made Mai Tai from time to time. it's a good cocktail.

Tonight, I took down a bottle of 21-year-old rum. It was Appleton Estate Rare Limited Edition made by J. Wray Nephew from Jamaica; surprisingly amber in color, medium bodied, but with the rich pungent flavor particular to the Jamaican blends. The flavor of this gre at rum wasn't meant iceto be overpowered with heavy additions of fruit juices and flavorings. At the risk of tiki heresy, I therefore enjoyed it neat.






Some people don't realize when to make a Mai Tai or when to just neat it up. A Mai Tai is a shaved ice diluted neat with a few subtle enhancements. If there's a chance of screwing up the enhancements, neat is the only way to go. Mmmmm! Fine rum neat is closer to a Mai Tai than most supposed Mai Tais that are made today.


 
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Kill Devil
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 16, 2011
Posts: 255
From: Chicago
Posted: 2013-10-21 07:42 am   Permalink

Great points Gnomon! I tend to look at the Mai Tai as I do the Manhattan: a golden formula/vehicle for the intended base spirit, so maybe I'm more open to interpretation and experimentation. I'm wondering though, is Vic spinning in his grave to know that his baby is being dispensed today with the Mai Tai mix instead of the "old way"?

 
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TropicDrinkBoy
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 27, 2011
Posts: 275
Posted: 2013-10-21 09:18 am   Permalink

At Trader Vic's, the "1944 Mai Tai" is made from scratch while the standard "happy hour" Mai Tai is made with fresh fruit juice and a mix. So as to not confuse their naming conventions, when you order one "The Old Way" you should get the mix version with a 151 float and when you order one the "San Francisco Way" you should get the "from scratch" 1944 version with a 151 float.


[ This Message was edited by: TropicDrinkBoy 2013-10-21 09:53 ]


 
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Sunny&Rummy
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 13, 2013
Posts: 497
From: Melbourne, FL
Posted: 2013-10-21 09:41 am   Permalink

I have been hitting the Appleton 12 & El Dorado 12 rum combo in the home Mai Tais for the last few weeks and I have to admit it's a hard combination to beat. Just about out of homemade orgeat and working for the next 13 days straight so I don't know when I'll be able to make a new batch.
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Loki-Tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 05, 2007
Posts: 272
From: Like...The Valley
Posted: 2013-10-21 2:00 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2013-10-21 09:41, Sunny&Rummy wrote:
I have been hitting the Appleton 12 & El Dorado 12 rum combo in the home Mai Tais for the last few weeks and I have to admit it's a hard combination to beat.


In what proportion, 1/2 1/2?


 
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Sunny&Rummy
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 13, 2013
Posts: 497
From: Melbourne, FL
Posted: 2013-10-21 6:42 pm   Permalink

Yep, equal portions. Yesterday I was also adding a small LH 151 float for extra deliciousness.

 
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