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Tiki Central Forums Tiki Drinks and Food Updates to The Mai-Kai Cocktail Guide on The Atomic Grog
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Updates to The Mai-Kai Cocktail Guide on The Atomic Grog
jokeiii
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Joined: Sep 18, 2010
Posts: 428
From: Miami
Posted: 2017-03-26 3:08 pm   Permalink

{MESSAGE DELETED}

[ This Message was edited by: jokeiii 2017-03-26 20:06 ]


 
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jokeiii
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Joined: Sep 18, 2010
Posts: 428
From: Miami
Posted: 2017-03-26 3:14 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2017-03-23 22:37, CincyTikiCraig wrote:
Great update Hayward. I can tell you (as someone who sold Bacardi for many years) that Castillo is, in fact. a Bacardi product.



As someone who has audited Bacardi I can tell you that Castillo is not only a Bacardi product it's also (at least as of 5ish years ago) Bacardi-with-a-different-label. (The reasons why it's cheaper would only excite a few people who geek out on accounting.)
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jokeiii
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Joined: Sep 18, 2010
Posts: 428
From: Miami
Posted: 2017-03-26 8:01 pm   Permalink

[quote]
On 2017-03-26 15:08, jokeiii wrote:
Quote:

On 2017-03-20 21:33, Hurricane Hayward wrote:
Quote:

On 2017-03-19 09:59, LeftarmofBuddha wrote:
I've been mixing Coruba, Hamilton Black, and OFTD in a ratio of 2:1:1/2 respectively and it has been delicious. I feel it is very similar to the Smith and Cross/El Dorado 12 mix in it's richness and ability to standout in a cocktail.



Aloha Tim! When I get ahold of Hamilton Dark, I'll let you know what I think. Your blend seems very close to jokeiii's 5:1:1 blend of the same rums. I was actually at The Mai-Kai the night Ed Hamilton brought that rum by to sample, but it was considered way too funky on its own as something they'd want to stock.



Here's my thinking on "my" blend: I'm willing to be flexible on the proof (my blend weighs in at 83.5 vs. 87.6 for KB, which I don't think makes a material difference) but not on the flavor profile, as expressed in a cocktail. In a pinch, the HB and OFTD could be goosed up a half-part if the proof isn't quite right.

I can see the Mai Kai being OK with a simple mix, of not too many rums in easy ratios. So something like 2:1:1 may be OK, assuming it's within the ballpark in terms of being funky or proofy.

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Hurricane Hayward
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Joined: Jun 07, 2008
Posts: 1413
From: 16 miles from The Mai-Kai
Posted: 2017-04-11 9:26 pm   Permalink

Time to catch up on the news ...

I just picked up a bottle of Castillo white, and as jokeiii and CincyTikiCraig astutely point out, it indeed tastes remarkably like Bacardi (in a good way). Plastic 1.75L bottle and minimal info on the label, I suspect it's Barcardi's way of getting rid of extra product and/or writing it off their books somehow. I need to do further tasting and compare it to some other basic white rums, as well as Bacardi's higher end whites, but I can see that it makes perfect sense for The Mai-Kai to use.

I made some progress on the Kohala Bay front. I'll post more over on the Kohala Bay thread, but basically I eliminated Plantation Dark as a preferred option. It's now #7 (below Appleton Reserve) on my list of subs ...
http://www.slammie.com/atomicgrog/blog/2012/05/08/rums-of-the-mai-kai-legendary-lemon-hart-returns-to-the-promised-land/#kohala-bay-substitutes
Instead, I settled on 6 parts Coruba as the best single rum to mix with O.F.T.D. (6 parts to 1). I'm not sure exactly where that will fall compared to all the other blends that have been proposed, but I aim to find out.

I just scored a bottle of Hamilton Jamaican Black, which is included in many of the new suggested blends, so it's time to get back to work. I plan to mix all of the suggested multi-rum blends and do a blind tasting at some point soon try and come up with a ranking of the blends that come closest to Kohala Bay.



The bigger news are some things actually happening down at The Mai-Kai. This Thursday, as part of the Tiki Bingo event (hosted by the Gumbo Limbo Chapter of the Fraternal Order Of Moai), there will be a special flight of Mai Tais available. According to the Facebook event, "Mai Tai Madness" will include "a tasting of this classic Tiki cocktail as interpreted by three iconic Tiki restaurants: Trader Vic's, Don The Beachcomber, and The Mai-Kai." As far as I know, The Mai-Kai has never offered alternative versions of the Mai Tai. It's just $10 for the flight, but you must be in the Samoa Room and order before 6 p.m. More info here:
https://www.facebook.com/events/239193739883573/



Another opportunity to taste a rare classic happens every Friday, when The Molokai bar now presents "Flashback Friday." According to a post on the official Facebook page, The Mai-Kai will be "breaking out a vintage cocktail from our recipe vault" every month and serving it on Fridays. The April cocktail is the Suffering Bastard, which we enjoyed when it came out of the vault back in 2013. It's been spotted very rarely since then, so this is a great opportunity to sample this classic. I missed the first Friday, but I hope to head down for one or more Fridays this month and report back.

Note that this is original Mai-Kai mixologist Mariano Licudine's own version of the Bastard from the early 1960s. The cocktail was created in the 1940s by noted bartender Joe Scialom at the Long Bar in Cairo, Egypt. Trader Vic also had a popular version, and Mariano's take is similar. It was always an off-menu drink, and as demand waned the recipe laid dormant in The Mai-Kai vault.

Here's the review and tribute recipe from 2013:
http://www.slammie.com/atomicgrog/blog/2013/06/03/lost-cocktails-of-the-mai-kai-the-off-menu-suffering-bastard-was-just-a-mai-tai-with-a-kick/


The Suffering Bastard first returned in March 2013. New photo and update coming soon.

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[ This Message was edited by: Hurricane Hayward 2017-04-11 21:26 ]


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HopeChest
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Joined: Oct 19, 2015
Posts: 268
From: East Bay, CA
Posted: 2017-04-11 10:22 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2017-04-11 21:26, Hurricane Hayward wrote:
Time to catch up on the news ...

I just picked up a bottle of Castillo white, and as jokeiii and CincyTikiCraig astutely point out, it indeed tastes remarkably like Bacardi (in a good way).



Wait a minute - something tasting like Bacardi white rum and that's a GOOD thing?!?


 
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Hurricane Hayward
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Joined: Jun 07, 2008
Posts: 1413
From: 16 miles from The Mai-Kai
Posted: 2017-04-16 12:10 am   Permalink

I normally wouldn't touch Bacardi's standard white (aka Superior), but at about half the price and having many of the same basic qualities needed in a white Puerto Rican rum, Ron Castillo serves its purpose as a base rum in Mai-Kai cocktails. I also just picked up a bottle of Castillo gold, so I'll soon be putting both to the test.

Bacardi gets a bad rap, IMHO. They do a good job with higher-end rums. Of the whites, I recommend Maestro Gran Reserva and the 89-proof Heritage.
http://www.alcademics.com/2015/05/the-difference-between-all-those-bacardi-white-rums.html



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jokeiii
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Joined: Sep 18, 2010
Posts: 428
From: Miami
Posted: 2017-04-16 09:59 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2017-04-16 00:10, Hurricane Hayward wrote:
Bacardi gets a bad rap, IMHO. They do a good job with higher-end rums. Of the whites, I recommend Maestro Gran Reserva and the 89-proof Heritage.
http://www.alcademics.com/2015/05/the-difference-between-all-those-bacardi-white-rums.html



I wholeheartedly agree on the Heritage a/k/a "1919". Here in Miami I served some to a bunch of old Cuban guys (celebrating the death of Fidel) and their unanimous reaction was "Now THIS is the Bacardi I remember." At $1 more than the superior, it's a no-brainer. It's my go-to for daiquiris, mojitos, etc.


 
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Hurricane Hayward
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Joined: Jun 07, 2008
Posts: 1413
From: 16 miles from The Mai-Kai
Posted: 2017-04-22 8:46 pm   Permalink

A few Mai-Kai moments during Miami Rum Festival

On Wednesday, I was honored to be among these fine Florida artists ...

From left: Tom Fowner, Will Anders, Rod North, Hurricane Hayward, Jeff Chouinard

I never get tired of a peek at the rum collection in the back bar ...


I've never seen that full bottle of Dagger before. Apparently the shelves were recently cleaned and the bottles rearranged.





Suffering Bastard on Flashback Friday ...


 
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Hurricane Hayward
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Joined: Jun 07, 2008
Posts: 1413
From: 16 miles from The Mai-Kai
Posted: 2017-05-03 10:43 am   Permalink

Mahalo Forbidden Island!



 
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Hurricane Hayward
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Joined: Jun 07, 2008
Posts: 1413
From: 16 miles from The Mai-Kai
Posted: 2017-05-15 11:01 pm   Permalink

Over the past week, we've been conducting an elaborate blind tasting of 14 possible replacements for the late, lamented Kohala Bay dark Jamaican rum. Mahalo to everyone here on TC who posted suggested blends over on the Kohala Bay thread:
http://www.tikiroom.com/tikicentral/bb/viewtopic.php?mode=viewtopic&topic=45641&forum=10&start=120



Results of the great Kohala Bay taste-off are now up on the blog in an enhanced section of the long-running "Rums of The Mai-Kai" page ...
http://www.slammie.com/atomicgrog/blog/2012/05/08/rums-of-the-mai-kai-legendary-lemon-hart-returns-to-the-promised-land/#kohala-bay-substitutes

The results are broken down into four tiers, with three making the top tier as the most worthy substitutes. All three were extremely close in funky flavor and fiery heat, but one blend emerged as my favorite ...



Our old standby recommendation of equal parts Smith & Cross and El Dorado 12 continues to lead the pack, topping some stiff competition from some creative blends. You can find the full recap and analysis of the tastings, plus a list of all 14 blends here:

http://www.slammie.com/atomicgrog/blog/2012/05/08/rums-of-the-mai-kai-legendary-lemon-hart-returns-to-the-promised-land/#kohala-bay-substitutes

Okole maluna!
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Hurricane Hayward
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Joined: Jun 07, 2008
Posts: 1413
From: 16 miles from The Mai-Kai
Posted: 2017-05-15 11:14 pm   Permalink

This month's Flashback Friday drink is our highest rated lost cocktail ...



http://www.slammie.com/atomicgrog/blog/2012/09/07/lost-cocktails-of-the-mai-kai-the-classic-demerara-float-rises-again/

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Hurricane Hayward
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Joined: Jun 07, 2008
Posts: 1413
From: 16 miles from The Mai-Kai
Posted: 2017-05-24 11:52 am   Permalink

I'm honored to be doing a special presentation during the finale of The Hukilau on June 11.



You'll also be able to order three "lost cocktails" from The Mai-Kai's 1956 menu.

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Hurricane Hayward
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Joined: Jun 07, 2008
Posts: 1413
From: 16 miles from The Mai-Kai
Posted: 2017-05-26 12:38 am   Permalink

This is the latest update in the ongoing guide to the distinctive juices used at The Mai-Kai. To recap the entire thread, go back to page 13 of this thread. The info below has been added to that page so it can be used as a complete reference guide. http://www.tikiroom.com/tikicentral/bb/viewtopic.php?mode=viewtopic&topic=47293&forum=10&start=180

EXCLUSIVE NEW INFO: Where to find the orange and grapefruit juices used at The Mai-Kai
New key lime juice revealed! **** Take a tour of the historic roadside stand selling these fresh juices

> Juice industry news

* First, an update on the news from the Florida fruit industry, which has been batted by setbacks in recent years. This first story, published in January, details the latest grim news: The U.S. Department of Agriculture reduced its orange crop forecast for the 2016-17 season, knocking the Florida orange crop down 1 million boxes from the previous month's estimate. It's a 13 percent reduction from last season. The grapefruit crop estimate fell as well. The culprit is greening, a bacterial disease discovered in 2005 that has now spread throughout Florida and to other states such as Texas and California. Because of citrus greening, production of Florida's signature crop is down 70 percent from 20 years ago.
http://protectingyourpocket.blog.palmbeachpost.com/2017/01/12/floridas-orange-crop-estimate-sinks-lower-as-tree-killing-disease-spreads/

* In April, some encouraging news was reported: The U.S. Agriculture Department announced that the key to thwarting greening's march could lie in spinach proteins that scientists at Southern Gardens Citrus, a subsidiary of Clewiston-based U.S. Sugar, have been working with under strict research regulations for years. While there's no cure, there's hope that a fortified virus could be used as a tool that growers could use to manage greening.
http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/state--regional/usda-seeks-input-bio-control-agent-aimed-citrus-greening-disease/WX45J8au8TpnKIG2Himm5L/

* In early May, the European Union dropped its requirement that U.S. citrus groves be surveyed for citrus canker, which is expected to save Florida growers and other U.S. citrus growers an estimated $5.6 million a year. The change will also ease entry of U.S. citrus into the EU market. Industry experts estimate that citrus exports will increase by 25 percent, or about $15 million, during the first year.
http://protectingyourpocket.blog.palmbeachpost.com/2017/05/03/florida-citrus-growers-to-benefit-from-eu-canker-rule-trade-changes/

Now, to the subject at hand:

KENNESAW ORANGE AND GRAPEFRUIT JUICES HIT RETAIL STORES

Among the many secrets of The Mai-Kai's famous cocktails are the fresh juices available only in South Florida. Our research revealed the souce of the fresh, unpasteurized orange and grapefruit juices as Kennesaw (http://www.kennesawjuice.com), a South Florida company that has been sourcing fresh squeezed orange and grapefruit juices since the 1920s. It was assumed that these juices were available only for restaurants and non-consumer stores such as Restaurant Depot, but I've recently come across these sweet elixirs in several South Florida locations.

You can now find the juices in many Whole Foods stores ...




It's unclear how many South Florida locations carry Kennesaw juices, or how widespread the distribution is outside of this region, but it's definitely worth seeking out and inquiring. It's tagged as "local," so I'm afraid it may be limited.

If Kennesaw juices are unavailable in your local Whole Foods, the next best option may be Trader Joe's, which carries its own brand of unpasteurized juices ...

As noted back on the original thread, it's likely that these juices are sourced from Natalie's Orchid Island Juice Co., a premium brand of fresh Florida juice typically found in supermarkets with the disclaimer "minimally processed" but not technically "unpasteurized" ... http://www.orchidislandjuice.com/juices/orange/

My order of preference for OJ and grapefruit juice would be:
1. Kennesaw (unpasteurized)
2. Trader Joe's (unpasteurized)
3. Natalie's (minimally processed)

Note that white grapefruit juice was not available, only red. I'm told by manager Kern Mattei at The Mai-Kai that Kennesaw's juices are seasonal, and that white grapefruit appears only when it's fresh. But I've yet to see it in the stores.

Armed with these juices, you'll come much closer to the unique flavor profile of the cocktails at The Mai-Kai.

BUT WHAT ABOUT THE LIME JUICE?

The big missing link was still lime juice, which is reported to be a fresh key lime blend. It's much more tart then fresh-squeezed Persian limes, as detailed in the research on the original thread: http://www.tikiroom.com/tikicentral/bb/viewtopic.php?mode=viewtopic&topic=47293&forum=10&start=180
I was somewhat happy with my blend of 1 part fresh Persian limes mixed with 1 part of Mrs. Biddle's Key West brand key lime juice from concentrate (or similar). However, I knew this wasn't quite right, as detailed in our taste tests at Swanky's book release party in September. Then, I received a tip:

I was urged to check out an old-school juice market in Davie, not far from The Mai-Kai. Stores run by citrus groves are great remnants of Florida's past and are scattered all over the Sunshine State. I feel guilty that I too often forget about them and pass them by on my way to Publix. I know they often carry the freshest juices, but I wasn't sure about the state of the local juice market and have not frequented them lately. My tipster about this particular location urged me to look for the Kennesaw juices, plus a unique key lime juice not seen before.

So off I went. Here's a photo tour from my initial visits to Bob Roth's New River Groves in Davie, est. 1964.

You can't miss New River Groves when driving by on Griffin Road ...


A sign promises exactly what we're looking for ...


A peek around back reveals the fresh daily crop ...


New River Groves is famous for its key lime pies ...


The sprawling building contains several areas, including a juice bar, a cafe and a retail store ...


I now use this delicious pure, raw honey in my honey mix for Mai-Kai cocktails ...




As promised, I was able to find Kennsaw's orange and grapefruit juices ...


Here's a closer look at the grapefruit juice ...




Go back to page 13 to see my earlier review of the orange juice: http://www.tikiroom.com/tikicentral/bb/viewtopic.php?mode=viewtopic&topic=47293&forum=10&start=180
The grapefruit is just as fresh and pulpy, perfect in Mai-Kai cocktails. After repeated visits, I still haven't seen white grapefruit juice. If when it's in season, I wonder if it isn't sent to retail outlets since it's not considered as popular as the red juice.

I was momentarily distracted by this classic jukebox, with a song selection that seemingly hasn't changed since the 1970s ...

The gentleman in the photos is family patriarch Al Roth, father of Bob Roth and a local legend who died in 2015 at the ripe old age of 104. He operated groves until 1972. Son Bob Roth's own groves and market remain a family business after more than 50 years. The famous Terry's Homemade Key Lime Pie is based on the family matriarch's award-winning recipe. Terry Roth lost her battle with cancer in 2002, but her delicious pies live on.
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/local/broward/davie/fl-al-roth-obituary-20150216-story.html

Then I spotted the holy grail ...


The special ingredient in Terry's Homemade Key Lime Pie is also sold by the gallon jug ...


I rushed home to try it, and it didn't disappoint ...




It's not from concentrate, unlike the common supermarket brands ...


Here's my tasty booty from that first visit to New River Groves, including the requisite key lime pie sample ...


Bob Roth's New River Groves is open every day from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Official website: http://newrivergroves.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BobRothsNewRiverGroves/
Fruit and bakery items can be purchased and shipped throughout the United States and Canda. I did not see an option for ordering the lime juice, however it doesn't hurt to ask.

RATING THE KEY LIME JUICES

1. Terry's Key Lime Pie Juice (not from concentrate). Less tart and easier to drink than any key lime juice I've ever tasted. Very similar to the Mai-Kai juice I tasted back in September. It works well straight out of the bottle in rich Mai-Kai cocktails, but I also like to blend it with fresh squeezed Persian lime juice (2 parts key lime to 1 part Persian) to create a blend that works well in all Tiki cocktails.

2. Key lime juice from concentrate (Mrs. Biddle's or similar brand). On its own, this juice is extremely tart and hard to drink, so I like to blend it with equal parts fresh squeezed Persian lime juice. This dampens the tartness a bit, but it still falls short of the No. 1 choice above.

Postscript: I've been curious about the use of key lime juice in cocktails and wondered if there was a historical precedent. My questions were answered by a story I found online from Punch, published in January 2014, and titled "Why Your Daiquiri Isn't the Same as Hemingway's".
http://punchdrink.com/articles/why-your-daiquiri-isnt-the-same-as-hemingways/
In it, Jennifer Colliau, founder of Small Hand Foods, investigates why the limes America's bartenders used a century ago are at odds with the citrus we shake with today. The reason: Key limes were actually the more widely used during the golden age of the cocktail. "Until two hurricanes decimated Florida's groves in 1926 and 1928, the key breed ruled as America's common lime," Colliau writes. Her recipe for the Key Lime Daiquiri is the one I now follow using my key lime juice blend: http://punchdrink.com/recipes/key-lime-daiquiri/

I'm not sure exactly how this may have influenced Mariano Licudine or The Mai-Kai. Persian limes would have been prevalent across the country by the 1950s. The use of key lime juice in the restaurant's bars could even be a more recent development. Whatever the origin, it's just one more distinctive twist that gives The Mai-Kai's cocktails a deliciously unique flavor profile.

[ This Message was edited by: Hurricane Hayward 2017-05-27 00:51 ]


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LeftarmofBuddha
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Joined: May 31, 2016
Posts: 23
From: Murfreesboro Tenn
Posted: 2017-05-26 10:03 am   Permalink

Great work, as always, Hurricane! I notice that the Key Lime Pie Juice bottle lists it's ingredients as key lime juice and lemon juice. I wonder if a mix of equal parts key lime, Persian lime, and lemon would yield something very similar to Mai Kai's juice blend. I will try it out, but much like the Kohala Bay blend experiments, I have to go off of taste and not actual experience with the Mai Kai's cocktails. I have been using a mix of fresh Persian and Nellie and Joe's bottled key lime for a while now and I prefer it to simple Persian lime juice. It certainly has a delicious and distinctive tartness that works well in all the Mai Kai cocktails I've made.

 
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mikehooker
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Jul 17, 2014
Posts: 917
From: Austin
Posted: 2017-05-26 11:51 am   Permalink

Wonderful developments all around Sir Hayward, but I wanted to comment on this matter...


Quote:

On 2017-05-26 00:38, Hurricane Hayward wrote:


Postscript: I've been curious about the use of key lime juice in cocktails and wondered if there was a historical precedent. My questions were answered by a story I found online from Punch, published in January 2014, and titled "Why Your Daiquiri Isn't the Same as Hemingway's".
http://punchdrink.com/articles/why-your-daiquiri-isnt-the-same-as-hemingways/
In it, Jennifer Colliau, founder of Small Hand Foods, investigates why the limes America's bartenders used a century ago are at odds with the citrus we shake with today. The reason: Key limes were actually the more widely used during the golden age of the cocktail. "Until two hurricanes decimated Florida's groves in 1926 and 1928, the key breed ruled as America's common lime," Colliau writes. Her recipe for the Key Lime Daiquiri is the one I now follow using my key lime juice blend: http://punchdrink.com/recipes/key-lime-daiquiri/

I'm not sure exactly how this may have influenced Mariano Licudine or The Mai-Kai. Persian limes would have been prevalent across the country by the 1950s. The use of key lime juice in the restaurant's bars could even be a more recent development. Whatever the origin, it's just one more distinctive twist that gives The Mai-Kai's cocktails a deliciously unique flavor profile.

[ This Message was edited by: Hurricane Hayward 2017-05-26 00:39 ]





As stated last week in the "What are you drinking..." thread, I've been trying to replicate a magical daiquiri that I recently had the pleasure of consuming at Floridita. Having depleted an entire bottle of Havana Club 3 year in a matter of days trying to crack the code, I came to the conclusion that it's not a matter of proportions or technique, but of citrus (or perhaps even the sugar). What does Cuba use today for lime juice? I never saw a single lime the entire time I was there, not behind the bars or in the markets. Juice was pre-squeezed (or perhaps thawed) into plastic squeeze bottles everywhere I went. The possibility of key limes crossed my mind, so I went to a Mexican market and grabbed a dozen for a buck. I'd never tried key lime in a cocktail before. I squeezed one and it produced a measly 1/4 oz of juice. Another got me to 1/2 oz, or roughly half of what I was using when making Daiquiris with Persians. Mixed with 2 tsp sugar (in Cuba they didn't use syrup), a dash of maraschino and 2 ounces Havana Club 3, I was finally onto something. Something really good. I'm still making minor tweaks but that ratio produces a fabulous drink. Note that I'm using less lime and sugar than the recipe in the Punch article to better highlight the rum. For me this works.

Going back to how Persians took the place of Key Limes in the late 20s, wouldn't that lead us to believe that what Hemingway was drinking in Cuba and what the original creators of Tiki cocktails were using in the 30s onward, were likely Persians? I'm sure there's plenty of research on this topic out there that could prove otherwise but the time line seems to lead to the fact that by tiki's heyday, Persians were the lime of choice. But then again, who knows how the flavor of the fruit has been altered over the last four score.


 
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