Mai Tai Talk on the Rumcast

It was such a pleasure to talk to Will and John, and we had a great Mai Tai discussion on the latest episode of the Rumcast.

The episode covers the history of the Mai Tai, tips for the home bartender, and how to get an awesome Mai Tai at your local watering hole. And of course lots of talk about rum for your Mai Tai. We played a game of “Mai Tai or Not a Mai Tai” and the episode ended with the Rumcast’s signature Rapid Fire round of questions.

The episode begins with a discussion of KōHana Rum from Hawaii, appropriate since Hawaii plays a seminal role in the popularity of the Mai Tai.

Give the episode a listen at Rumcast.com:
https://www.rumcast.com/episodes/mai-tai-kevin-crossman

Bali Hai Dinner

Mrs. Mai Tai and I had a great time at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park but we put in more than a days worth of exercise walking up and down the hills. So we chose the easy option for dinner, which was to walk over to Bali Hai.

We again went with the outdoor option, and there was a young man playing soft rock hits on an acoustic guitar (he seemed quite popular with the group of older ladies celebrating a birthday with Mai Tais). We had a great meal, including a delightful peanut shrimp plate that Julie said was amazing. I went with a smattering of apps, including the grilled Caesar salad and beef skewers again.

After nearly killing myself the previous day, I avoided the infamous Bali Hai Mai Tai and instead went with their signature Mr. Bali Hai cocktail. This isn’t the classic recipe with coffee liqueur but is made with light rum, blackberry brandy, juices, and a Demerara 151 float. I quite enjoyed it, and wish more people had the pleasure of drinking the balanced cocktails like this one or the Goof Punch rather than the glass of rums they call their Mai Tai.

Julie chose the Lava Slide, with Kahlua, Bailey’s, vodka, and chocolate syrup. Desert in a glass! And quite decadent.

I finished the meal with a pour from Bali Hai’s modest but well considered rum tasting list. They were out of Appleton 21, so my backup was the El Dorado Single Barrel PM Marque. Only $18 and quite a steal since I loved it. I saw some reviews bemoan the low 40% ABV and I appreciate where those heads are at. But the rich pot-still flavor really came through in this bold rum (it actually tastes similar to Mount Gay’s Pot Still release). I’m so glad I tried it.

We had a great time at two meals at Bali Hai. Such a wonderful place to be and while indoors would be better we still enjoyed our outdoor dining there.

Planter’s Punch with Rum-Bar Gold

Mrs. Mai Tai wanted to get Malaysian and Thai cuisine from Banana Leaf in Milpitas, so we ordered take-out and it was quite fab. We love the Roti and my Satay Chicken and Beef was amazing.

I paired it with the the Smuggler’s Cove version of a Planter’s Punch. The recipe was a suggestion by Trader Jay who recommended using Rum-Bar Gold as the featured spirit. It’s a great recipe and a good use for this rum.

Planter’s Punch (Smuggler’s Cove)
1 oz Lime Juice
¾ oz Demerara Syrup
¼ oz Allspice Dram
3 oz Jamaican Rum (Rum-Bar Gold)
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
Flash blend or shake with ice.
 

Stash of Appleton V/X

These bottles are from before ~2015 when the V/X was rebranded as Appleton Signature. Still available at Bob’s Discount Liquors no.11 in Fremont, CA.

You never know what you’ll find in these dusty independent liquor store.

Forbidden Island Kill Devil 1.0 Rum List

I completed the Kill Devil list on the patio at Forbidden Island today. I started the list in early 2018, but got probably 75% of the 106 rums purchased via take-out orders in the last few months. So, I’m pleased to be part of the “Quaranteam” who did this largely under lockdown.

My final rum was my favorite, Appleton 12, in a Mai Tai of course. This was our first baby step back to dining in person with table service on the patio at a table with Mrs. Mai Tai (who said the Chi-Chi’s were especially delicious today).

Thanks to some of the members of the “Forbidden Ohana” Facebook group for coming out to celebrate today, some of which were at conversation distance away at their own tables. Thank you to Dean Koenig for the pour of Foursquare 2008, a fantastic rum. I was at FI when Dean completed his Kill Devil list, so it’s very nice to see him today for mine. Cheers!

And thank you John and Michael and all the FI staff for support doing the list. I’ll look forward to seeing my plaque up on the bar someday when I’m patronizing inside again (FI opens for indoor dining starting tomorrow). I’ll start working on FI’s Kill Devil 2.0 rum list soon, though for a while I’ll be sticking to cocktails on my next few visits.

These rum clubs are a great way to try our some new rums. And while they aren’t all “winners” it is a great experience to talk with fellow patrons and the FI staff about the rums. For my 106 rums I kept short tasting notes and did rate the rums. I grade on the curve so there were lots of 3 star rums, but here are the top rums from the list.

5 Star

  • English Harbor 5 yr
  • Ron Barcelo Imperial
  • Appleton 21 yr
  • Appleton 12
  • Hamilton Jamaican Pot Still
  • Hamilton 86
  • British Royal Navy Imperial
  • Pampero Anniversario

4 Star

  • Mount Gay Extra Old
  • Real McCoy 12 yr
  • St. Paul Dark Rum
  • El Dorado 15 yr
  • Skipper Rum
  • Appleton Reserve
  • Coruba
  • Plantation Rum Jamaica
  • Smith & Cross
  • Clement Creole Shrubb
  • Kuleana Hui Hui

Should come as no surprise to regular readers that my tastes favor Jamaica/Barbados/Guyana rums.

And now on to the next adventure of spreading the good word of rum.

Jungle Bird (Modified)

No “Ultimate” prefix for this recipe, but since I’ve been enjoying bitter liqueurs more lately I thought I’d revisit this classic that’s heavy on the bitter liqueur, Campari. I’m modifying the recipe to cut back a little on the Campari and quite a bit on the Pineapple Juice. This suits me more than the standard recipe.

Jungle Bird
½ oz Lime Juice (heavy pour)
2 oz Pineapple Juice
½ oz Simple Syrup (heavy pour)
½ oz Campari
1½ oz Jamaican Rum Blend
Shake with ice.

The rum blend here is a Frankenstein blend with Appleton 12, Smith & Cross, and Hamilton Pot Still Black.

“After Work Mai Tai”

The main professional conference I go to is virtual this spring, so I’m watching a MS Ignite webinar with a worldwide audience during my early evening. At the in-person conference there would be an opening night happy hour on the Expo floor, so no guilt in having a Mai Tai while I watch.

The rum is Papa’s Pilar Blonde which works nicely in a Mai Tai. There’s a bit of Lemon Hart as a float, just because it looks nice (and tastes nice).

 

Painkiller Experiment

I’m always in the mood for a good recipe shootout/taste test, and Friday night seems like a great time for Painkillers.

I like a Painkiller from time to time, and Mrs. Mai Tai enjoys them frequently along with other coconut-forward cocktails. We both love the Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Rum at Trader Sam’s which is basically a Painkiller.

Most recipes I’ve seen call for 4 oz of Pineapple Juice, but neither of us thought it should be that much forward with the Pineapple Juice, so we didn’t attempt that one. Instead, I made three variants with different ratios of Pineapple and Orange Juice.

All Painkillers feature the following:
1½ oz Hamilton 86 Demerara Rum
1 oz Lemon Hart 1804 Demerara Rum
1 oz Coconut Creme (Coco Real)

Version 1: left
3 oz Pineapple Juice
1 oz Orange Juice
Notice the froth on top

Version 2: center
1½ oz Pineapple Juice
1½ oz Orange Juice

Version 3: right
1 oz Pineapple Juice
2 oz Orange Juice



Verdict:
I was quite sure I wouldn’t like the first version with the most Pineapple Juice but it actually was my favorite. Meanwhile, Mrs. Mai Tai preferred the version with a higher amount of Orange Juice. So, I guess I’ll have both recipes on hand.

Ultimate Painkiller
1½ oz Hamilton 86 Demerara Rum
1 oz Lemon Hart 1804 Demerara Rum
1 oz Coconut Creme (Coco Real)
3 oz Pineapple Juice
1 oz Orange Juice

Mrs Mai Tai’s Painkiller
1½ oz Hamilton 86 Demerara Rum
1 oz Lemon Hart 1804 Demerara Rum
1 oz Coconut Creme (Coco Real)
1 oz Pineapple Juice
2 oz Orange Juice

Glassware by The Kon-Tiki in Oakland

Caribbean Daiquiri

There was a debate online this week about how to label a cocktail made with Rum, Lime, and Sugar. Could it be called a “Daiquiri” even if it wasn’t made with the Cuban Rum that it was originally conceived with?

There is no question the classic Daiquiri is made with lighter rums in the style common in Cuba. But in most restaurants and bars you’d be lucky to get a Daiquiri served up rather than on the rocks or blended, so being picky about the specific country of origin for the rum seems like maybe not the most important detail. I think that there are plenty of “white” rums that are unaged or lightly aged that are fabulous in a Daiquiri.

But I also think that aged rums can also be lovely in this cocktail. This extra large one was made with Chairman’s Reserve and Appleton Estate Reserve 8 rums, both of which are a blend of column and pot still distillates and both with more age than the typical “iight” rum. It is delicious and still light enough to feel too heavy.

What do you call this? There isn’t really a label, except “Daiquiri with Chairman’s Reserve and Appleton 8”. Or maybe just call it a Caribbean Daiquiri.

Ti Punch with Rhum JM VO

Quite good with a small slice of lime and a dash of BG Reynolds Demerara Syrup.

Rhum JM isn’t as “grassy” as some Martinique Agricoles can be, so is more to my taste. This one was pretty good, and I have enjoyed the VSOP and XO expressions as well.

The rum is a tasting from the Forbidden Island Kill Devil rum list.