The World’s Worst Mai Tai

I found this recipe in the 1980 book from Michael Walker called simply The Cocktail Book. The entry says “There are several different versions of the Mai Tai, but this seems to be the most popular with bartenders and patrons alike.” Walker also says “this drink will taste deliciously innocuous, but beware! It has a habit of creeping up on you.”

Photo by Derek / Make & Drink

(World’s Worst) Mai Tai by Michael Walker
½ measure Dark Rum
1 measure Light Rum
½ measure Tequila
½ measure Triple Sec
1 measure Apricot Brandy
1 measure Orange Juice
1 dash Orgeat
1 dash Angostura Bitters
2 dashes Grenadine
Blend with ice until smooth. Decorate with slices of orange, lime, lemon, pineapple, and a maraschino cherry.

With all those ingredients and the elaborate garnish, I’m not sure which bartender would prefer to make this compared to a traditional five ingredient Mai Tai.

We shared this monstrosity with Derek from Make & Drink and he invited me over to the bar to try it! You can watch to the video to see our reactions but suffice to say while this might be an okay generic tropical drink it by no means should be called a Mai Tai. Not with tequila and apricot brandy.

The Evolution of the Mai Tai on Make and Drink YouTube

We were pleased to be the inaugural guest on Derek Cole’s Make and Drink channel on YouTube. In the video we discuss how the cocktail evolved in Hawaii and even make the original Hawaiian Mai Tai that did not include Pineapple juice. Make and Drink is a really great cocktail channel and Derek’s production values are off the chart.

The thumbnail for the video includes some “Easter Eggs” about the Mai Tai and even some forthcoming content. Stay tuned for future collaborations.

Now is also a good time to recommend subscribing to the Make and Drink Patreon, where you can support high-quality content like this as well as being able to interact with other patrons and Derek who is also producing patron-exclusive content. Check it out.

Recipe: Piña Verde

I heard about this cocktail on the Bartender at Large podcast, hosted by Erick Castro-Diaz. Erick created this Piña Colada riff years ago when developing the menu for his bar Polite Provisions. It essentially replaces the light rum with the bold and flavorful Chartreuse liqueur.

The flavors really come through well, thanks in part to the 55% ABV of Green Chartreuse. The coconut and pineapple really compliment the herbal notes coming from the liqueur. It’s fantastic.

Piña Verde by Erick Castro-Diaz
½ oz Lime Juice
1½ oz Pineapple Juice
¾ oz Cream of Coconut
1½ oz Green Chartreuse
Shake with crushed ice and garnish with a mint sprig

It kind of makes me sad to discover this cocktail, since now more than ever I’ll be having fears of future FOMO as I whittle down my supplies of Green Chartreuse that is now so difficult to procure.

Turkey Grog Revisited

Had a grapefruit to kill so I made this cocktail that I developed a few years back and it remains a popular favorite. The use of flavorful Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon is the key component and where the cocktail gets its name.

Turkey Grog by Kevin Crossman
¾ oz Lime Juice
½ oz Ruby Grapefruit Juice
½ oz Honey Syrup (1:1)
½ oz Velvet Falernum
½ oz Don’s Spices #2
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
¾ oz Smith & Cross Jamaican Rum
1½ oz Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon
Shake with ice, garnish with mint. Serve in glass of choice.

Don’s Spices #2: Equal parts Vanilla Syrup and Pimento Dram/Allspice Liqueur.
If you have non-alcoholic Falernum syrup then drop the amount to ¼ oz.

Daisy de Santiago

Another Yellow Chartreuse cocktail, though when I looked up the recipe online it varied wildly. This one is basically the Smuggler’s Cove version and I chose to keep this with Cuban roots by using Havana Club 3 as the base rum.

I found this to be light and refreshing, though in the future I probably would up the Chartreuse a bit.

Daisy de Santiago
1 oz Seltzer
1 oz Lime Juice
¼ oz Demerara Syrup
½ oz Yellow Chartreuse
1½ oz Havana Club Rum
Shake with crushed ice. Garnish with mint sprig.

No mint, but this was still very nice to drink. I think adding the seltzer before pouring the shaken contents is an improvement from the published recipe.

The Appleton Rum Shortage and More Dr. Joy Spence Notes

Some additional notes and commentary from the Appleton 17 Legend event last week in London, this time pulling out a few items that weren’t directly related to the release of that rum expression.

Dr. Joy Spence noted that Appleton only uses high quality barrels for aging, because “if you age in crap barrels you get… crap.” Finely noted and certainly a factor in the end result quality of any aged rum. 

According to Spence, the Scotch Whiskey Institute did a study of the same distillate aged in Scotland and In Jamaica. The study found that the distillate aged in Jamaica was three times as fast for the same effective taste.

We asked about the shortage of Appleton 12 and Appleton 8 during most of 2022. Spence noted that it was a supply chain problem due to inability to get bottles from their sole supplier. That supplier couldn’t make the bottles because they got their raw materials from Ukraine. So, if you’re looking for another reason to dislike Vladimir Putin and the Russian invasion… Hopefully we won’t have to revisit Appleton 12 shortages again.

Lastly, Spence described a cocktail that’s a favorite in Jamaica. The drink is called the Epic Cocktail and it is made thusly. 1) Open a coconut. 2) Crack open the top. 3) Pour in some Appleton 8, then drink. “You’ll have an epic time!” I’m sure that’s definitely the case.

1990s Vintage Recipe: Planet of the Apes

Had to kill an orange and a lime and looked for a recipe that uses both, so ended up with this cocktail adapted by Jeff “Beachbum” Berry in 1995. I found the banana isn’t as strong as you might hope or want. Making a second version I upped the banana and dropped the pineapple juice but it didn’t really change the character too much. Nonetheless, this was plenty refreshing and obviously very juicy.

Planet of the Apes by Jeff Berry
½ oz Lime Juice
1 oz Pineapple Juice
1 oz Orange Juice
¾ oz Creme de Banana (Tempus Fugit)
1 oz Dark Jamaican Rum (Worthy Park 109)
½ oz 151 Proof Puerto Rican Rum (Cruzan)
Shake with ice.