Casa de Christa Mai Tai

We had a lovely drive to the far side of the island for a visit with our friend @drtikiren. So nice to meet Christa in person after a couple of years being virtual friends. We also got to meet her cute dog Scarlet.

Christa welcomed us with this fabulous Mai Tai made with unaged Hawaiian rum and Anejo rum. The fresh lime juice sparkles in this and Christa says her Mai Tai features a split of Orgeat and Macadamia Nut Liqueur. Really great, better than almost all the Mai Tais on this trip, and appreciated. Mahalo.

Trader Vic’s Tiki Stem Coupe

Picked up a couple of these very nice Tiki Stem Coupes from the Trader Vic’s online store. The 7 ounce glass is a little larger than my current coupes, and looks fabulous as well. Vic’s also has a couple smaller glass options, while still keeping the tiki stem.

The cocktail is the Blue Caribbean, a Blue Hawaiian riff featuring Rhum Agricole.

Blue Caribbean
½ oz Lime Juice
3 oz Pineapple Juice
1½ oz Cream of Coconut
½ oz Blue Curacao
1¾ oz Clement Premiere Canne (or other unaged Rhum Agricole)
¼ oz Dark Jamaican rum
Shake with Crushed Ice

A bit of a tight fit into this particular glass.

When I first developed this cocktail I served it in a Collins glass with crushed ice and that’s probably a better format than being served up. I do like how the Rhum Agricole works with the Pineapple and Cream of Coconut, provide a more complex flavor. Adding a tiny bit of flavorful Dark Jamaican rum adds an additional bit complexity without darkening up the cocktail.

1962 Hawaiian Mai Tai

This recipe appeared in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin on January 28, 1962 and is one example of a de-evolved Mai Tai. Though, notably, it doesn’t include any Pineapple or Orange Juice. The source is “a reasonably neutral, presumably unbiased source” according to the column, “Dining Out with the Gourmet.”

1962 Mai Tai
½ oz Fresh Lime Juice
½ tsp Sugar
½ oz Grenadine
½ oz Orgeat
1 oz Orange Curacao
1 oz Light Rum
1 oz Dark Rum
Build in glass and add 2 oz crushed ice, then stir.
Garnish with Pineapple and Cherry
“For the hardier types, float a final dash of 151 proof rum. And stand back/”

This actually is not bad at all, with a pleasant rum-forward finish. Though for sure it doesn’t need the 151 added. I used Pomegranate-based Grenadine, so I can’t say how this would work with Rose’s. I used DeKuyper Orange Curacao, Cruzan Light Rum, and Myers’s Dark Rum, modestly priced spirits that indeed worked just fine in this.

Honolulu Star-Bulletin, January 28, 1962, page 56

You can learn more about the De-Evolution of the Hawaiian Mai Tai here on the site and at our presentation at Tiki Kon this July.

Recipe: No Pain, No Gain

Everyone loves playing with the rums in a Mai Tai, with bars competing for the best custom blend and home bartenders organizing blind taste test parties. But why stop at the Mai Tai? Why don’t we do this for the Painkiller?

Well, there is a certain reason.

Pusser’s Rum trademarked the Painkiller cocktail, which means that legally it can’t be called that unless you use Pusser’s rum. Which is kind of ridiculous. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of Pusser’s – especially their boozy Gunpowder Proof which is so flavorful and clocks in at 109 proof.

So, today’s cocktail isn’t a “Painkiller” at all. It is something else. But, you know, it kind of isn’t different.

No Pain, No Gain by Steve Perez
3 oz Pineapple Juice
1 oz Orange Juice
1 oz Cream of Coconut
1½ oz Rum Fire Jamaican Overproof Rum
1½ oz Plantation OFTD
Shake with crushed ice and garnish with nutmeg

Steve Perez was talking up this rum blend last week at Dr. Funk and after a hard day it seemed like the perfect time to try this rum made with one rum at 63% ABV and another at 69%. So, quite boozy! More importantly, quite flavorful. I do feel that Jamaican rums can add a lot to this style of coconut-forward cocktail.

Thanks for the suggestion Steve!

Glassware: Tiki Goth Club

1958 Royal Hawaiian Mai Tai

In 1958, a syndicated news story published in newspapers nationwide provided a Mai Tai recipe that was attributed as coming from a bartender at the Royal Hawaiian.

1 oz Lemon Juice
½ oz Fresh Lime Juice
⅓ oz Rock Candy Syrup
⅓ oz Orgeat
⅓ oz Orange Curacao
1 oz Light Puerto Rican Rum (Cruzan Aged)
1 oz Dark Jamaican Rum (Hamilton Florida Rum Society blend)

Decorate the glass with a stalk of Sugar Cane, a sprig or two of Mint, and a Pineapple stick or two.

The ⅓ ounce measures for the Rock Candy, Orgeat, and Orange Curacao are most likely due to those ingredients being batched so that the bartender can more easily measure 1 ounce of sweetener.

In practice, this cocktail is significantly too tart. Most 1944 style Mai Tais feature an equal or slightly more sweeteners compared to the citrus. Adding additional sugar made this taste better to me, but didn’t taste as rummy as I like. Only using 1 oz of citrus would have been better.

The glass was a limited edition release from our friends at Skull & Crown Trading Company, the best tiki bar between San Francisco and Tokyo. We’re going to be visiting O’ahu in June and will be making a pilgrimage to Skull & Crown where we expect to have a properly balanced Mai Tai like we did back in 2019.

Chartreuse Swizzle

I’m not normally a big fan of cocktails with pineapple juice but this one is pretty damn good. Tart but still refreshing, and easy to drink.

Chartreuse Swizzle by Marcovaldo Dionysos
1 oz Pineapple juice
¾ oz Lime juice
½ oz Falernum
1½ oz Green Chartreuse

Add all ingredients to a Collins glass and fill with crushed ice. Swizzle the mixture with a barspoon until frost appears on the outside of the glass. Top with more crushed ice and garnish with mint sprig and nutmeg.

I gave this a heavy pour of the John D. Taylor Velvet Falernum but if I was going to make it over I’d either use a full ounce or use a non-alcoholic Falernum syrup.

Chartreuse Swizzle

First time having this cocktail originally created by Marco Dionysos, but if Dr. Funk‘s version is any indication this is a cocktail I need to put into the rotation. Quite refreshing with Green Chartreuse, Falernum, Lime, and Pineapple.

¾ oz Lime Juice
1 oz Pineapple Juice
½ oz Falernum
1¼ oz Green Chartreuse
Shake with nice or swizzle in a tall glass

I just picked up a bootle of Green Chartreuse. Any cocktail recommendations using it are welcome, please leave a comment.

Blue Hawai-Tai Revisit

I am revisiting this cocktail after a few months and did a few variants to taste test. I was told it was too sweet, and I suppose that might be true for some people but it tastes great to me.

I would say that full pot-still rums like Rum-Bar or Rum Fire do work much better than the blended Wray & Nephew Overproof. I tested the “aged white rum” components with White Stache and Probitas and found that while I prefer the heavier Probitas overall this is a less important component than the White Overproof Jamaican rum portion.

Blue Hawai-Tai by Kevin Crossman
1 oz Lemon Juice
½ oz Orgeat
½ oz Simple Syrup
½ oz Blue Curacao
1 oz White Overproof Jamaican Rum
½ oz Aged White Rum

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with crushed ice. Shake and dump into a small snifter glass. Garnish with Mint and tropical fruit.

1956 Mai Tai Prep

Prep work for my Tiki Kon presentation starts with revisiting the 1956 Mai Tai recipe. This was provided by Trader Vic himself to a customer and propertied to be the recipe used at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. Definitely different than the classic 1944 recipes, but most certainly not an Island Mai Tai with pineapple juice.

Original 1956 Mai Tai recipe:
Juice of One Lime
Dash of Rock Candy Syrup
Dash of Curacao
Dash of Orgeat
1½ ounces Trader Vic’s Puerto Rican Rum
¾ ounce Myers’s Plantation Punch Rum
Stir and decorate with fresh mint

1956 Mai Tai – Adjusted for 2022
1 ounce Lime Juice
¼ ounce Rock Candy Syrup
¼ ounce Curacao
¼ ounce Orgeat
1½ ounces Lightly Aged Puerto Rican Rum
¾ ounce Hamilton 114 rum or Worthy Park 109 rum
Mix in 16 ounce tumbler glass with shaved ice. Drop half a spent lime shell in the glass. Stir and decorate with fresh mint.