Orgeat Heavy Mai Tai Monday

The Mai Tai was made with Yes Cocktail Co. Orgeat and I ended up using a full ounce just to kill the bottle. I bought this a few months back and found it produced some very good Mai Tais, a little sweeter and less toasted than the more widely available Liber Orgeat and a bit milkier than brands like Latitude 29 Orgeat. This is available at craft liquor stores and is a really good option.

I didn’t use any demerara/rock candy syrup in the Mai Tai seeing how there was already plenty of sugar from the orgeat. When you go heavy on the orgeat it really produces a floral Mai Tai. Rums were Myers’s Dark and a bit of Rhum JM Blanc. Delicious.

The glass is from Trader Vic’s, celebrating the company’s founding back in 1934. We will also be celebrating the 80th anniversary of the Mai Tai this year. Look for a huge promotional push as the official Mai Tai Day in late August approaches with events at the Trader Vic’s locations. Bay Area folks should be prepared for an expanded set of Mai Tai Day festivities at the Vic’s Emeryville location this year. Stay tuned.

Samoan Fog Cutter Modified

I got this Tiki Tolteca mug at the Alameda Point Antiques Fair (thank you @smuggler_steve), so wanted to make a drink in it. I had a great time visiting Tiki Tolteca in New Orleans in 2018, now sadly shuttered.

The drink was a Samoan Fog Cutter, though I misread the ingredients and ended up switching the ratio of Lemon and Orange Juice. I also used a Cara Cara Orange, so this ended up quite a bit sweeter than it would have been otherwise and I think was a more balanced ratio. I also used a lot more Sherry than what the original recipe calls for and to me is better for it.

I thought this tasted great, and I did find that even the small amounts of Brandy and Gin were providing a more complex blend of noticeable flavors than if this just used light rum.

Samoan Fog Cutter Modified
2 oz Cara Cara Orange Juice
1 oz Lemon Juice
½ oz Orgeat (heavy pour)
½ oz Gin (Beefeater)
½ oz Brandy (Korbel)
1½ oz Light Rum (Trader Vic’s)
1 oz Sherry (Harvey’s Bristol Cream)
Shake ingredients with ice, saving the Sherry for a float.

Make & Drink Lapu Lapu

There are a number of historical recipes for the Lapu Lapu / Chief Lapu Lapu cocktail, described in a recent video from Derek on the Make & Drink channel on YouTube. Besides going into the history of the cocktail and its notable presence as the featured cocktail at The Royal Hawaiian in Laguna Beach, Derek came up with his own Lapu Lapu recipe that we are trying tonight.

Make & Drink Lapu Lapu
½ oz Lemon Juice
½ oz lime Juice
2 oz Orange Juice
1 oz Passion Fruit syrup
¼ oz Rich Simple Syrup
1½ oz Light Rum
1 oz Pot Still Rum
1 oz Club Soda
¾ oz 151 Rum
Flash blend all ingredients except 151 rum for five seconds, then pour over crushed ice in a large snifter. Float ½ oz of 151 rum. Garnish with mint and a passionfruit shell with 151 rum, set on fire.

I took a few liberties here, notably on the garnish side since I had no mint and decided to use a lighted lantern pick. I used Liber Passionfruit Syrup, a light rum blend of Trader Vic’s white and Hamilton White Stache, Hamilton Pot Still Black Jamaica rum, and Hamilton 151 Demerara rum.

This is a really juicy cocktail and the excellent tangy Passionfruit Syrup from Liber really shines in this. I’m not getting much of the Pot Still rum, and if I was going to do this over I’d probably go 2 oz Pot Still and 1 oz Light rum. Or maybe just incorporate all the rum and not leave the 151 as a float, since a little of that famed Overproof Demerara rum can really add some great flavors to a cocktail.

Nonetheless, this is a really great version of this cocktail. Do you have a favorite Lapu Lapu recipe? Leave it in the comments.

Goodbye, Hamilton 86

Sent off this bottle of Hamilton 86 rum from Guyana in style with a modified Ancient Mariner cocktail. The Ancient Mariner is a Navy Grog riff from Jeff “Beachbum” Berry that appeared in the original Grog Log back in 1998. Modified by me due to the lack of grapefruit juice and a heavier pour of the Hamilton Demerara rum just so I could finish the bottle.

Ancient Mariner (modified)
½ oz Cara Cara Orange Juice
1 oz Lime Juice
¼ oz Simple Syrup
¼ oz St. Elizabeth Allspice Liqueur
1¾ oz Hamilton 86 rum from the Demerara River
¼ oz Wray & Nephew Overproof
Shake with ice, garnish with mint

The orange came through in this and so it didn’t quite have that classic Grog taste, but otherwise this was plenty good.

Ancient Mariner by Jeff “Beachbum” Berry
½ oz White Grapefruit Juice
¾ oz Lime Juice
½ oz Simple Syru
¼ oz Pimento Dram (Allspice Liqueur)
1 oz Demerara Rum
1 oz Dark Jamaican Rum
Shake with ice, garnish with mint and lime wedge

New Cocktail Recipe: (Dirty) Shirley Manson

Mrs. Mai Tai often orders a Shirley Temple in lieu of a cocktail but sometimes you want this kind of drink with alcohol included. This alcoholic “Dirty” Shirley Temple riff is named after Garbage and Angelfish singer Shirley Manson, a native of Scotland. So, naturally the featured spirit in this cocktail is Scotch Whisky. Given the difficulty of balancing the high cherry content in a boozy highball you might understand why I worked on this on and off for over a year until I finally got it where I wanted it.

Noteworthy is the use of Ginger Ale rather than 7-Up or Sprite; true Shirley Temple aficionados will agree this is the correct soda mixer. The use of Maraschino Cherry Juice is potentially controversial but is the key ingredient to provide the flavor notes that’ll remind you of your favorite childhood version of this drink. I tried Luxardo cherry juice while prototyping but it was too thick and didn’t lighten the already heavy flavors from Cherry Heering liqueur.

(Dirty) Shirley Manson
½ oz Maraschino Cherry Juice
½ oz Cherry Heering Liqueur
½ oz Cointreau
1½ oz Scotch Whisky 
1 dash Cherry Bitters (optional)
3 oz Ginger Ale\
Fill glass with crushed ice or small cubes. Build in Collins glass and stir lightly. Garnish with three cherries on a pick.

I went around with some different styles of Scotch and am not officially designating a specific brand or type. If you like it peaty, then choose a beloved Islay brand. Although the peaty flavor isn’t my favorite I do feel like a little bit of it in the cocktail will provide authenticity and a good counterbalance to the sweet cherry notes. 

When I make this at home I use 1 oz The Glenlivet 12 year and ½ oz of Johnnie Walker Black Label, providing just the right amount of that smoky Scotch flavor along with the Speyside Scotch’s predominantly floral notes.


Recipe: Cherry Pie Tai

This Mai Tai riff from Nathan Robinson was a delicious twist on an old favorite. It’s especially nice if you’re looking for something else to use with Cherry Heering liqueur. I love the combination of blended Demerara rum and a bit of Rhum Agricole from Martinique. Delicious, give it a try.

My only gripe is the name. Shouldn’t it be “Cherry Pai Tai”?

Cherry Pie Tai by Nathan Robinson
¾ oz Lemon Juice
½ oz Orgeat
¾ oz Cherry Heering liqueur
1½ oz Demerara Rum (pref Hamilton 86)
½ oz Rhum Agricole Blanc (pref JM Rhum Blanc)
Shake with nice and garnish with a cherry

The Castaway

Appropriate for the finale of Survivor tonight, a show I still watch and like. I love the tropical island eye candy, the dramatic challenges, and all the castaway twists. This is a cocktail from the original Grog Log, circa 1994.

The Castaway by Beachbum Berry
3 oz Pineapple Juice
¾ oz Kahlua
1½ oz Gold Puerto Rican Rum (Bacardi 8)
Shake with crushed ice and serve in a Pilsner glass.

The Trader Vic’s glass seems right on point for the castaway theme and I enjoyed this cocktail. Pineapple and Kahlua make a good pair, and this cocktail still has plenty of booze. That Beachbum did it all right.