Rumba: ¼ oz of Orgeat Makes a Difference

We’re in Seattle for a few days and the priority for me was to get up to Rumba and re-try their Mai Tai that I found to be truly amazing on a previous visit a couple years ago. So, Mrs. Mai Tai and I met up with Tiki with Ray for dinner.

Ray and I both ordered the Rumba Mai Tai, featuring Rumba’s House barrel aged Wray & Nephew, Rhum JM Gold, fresh lime, curaçao, and orgeat. But when we took a sip we could barely taste the funky rums. In fact, we couldn’t really taste anything except orgeat. Ray is local and said they must have changed their recipe, so he asked the waiter about it. He said that the Mai Tai only uses ¼ oz of orgeat, but we assured him there had to be far more than that.

As it turns out, our suspicions were confirmed. Rumba recently switched to a different orgeat that’s sweeter, and they dropped it from ½ oz to ¼ oz. But the bartender forgot and used the old measurement. These things can happen during a recipe transition.

We were offered new, correctly made Mai Tais and that small drop in orgeat made a huge difference as the cocktail became correctly balanced. And that Rumba Mai Tai is fantastic, with the funky rums offering savory notes alongside the tart lime and sweet orgeat.

The rest of the visit was great, with all of our drinks being truly high quality and our food coming out quite well. Service was outstanding, and they even helped us transition to our reservation at the connected sister bar Inside Passage.

Rumba has a huge collection of rums, and we got to see the wall for the members of their rum club. The postcards that line the walls and fun painted signs work well with the library-style furniture and shelving. It’s a seminal destination in Seattle.

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