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
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
Tried some new (to me) rums at The Kon-Tiki the other day. Their Expedition Rum list is still going, and after 100 you get your name on the wall. And for folks like me who’ve already done this I’m doing a second list and just picking from the myriad options from the back bar. They do have a printed rum list that you can peruse with pricing, etc. Prices are quite reasonable.
So many choices are available at Kon-Tiki but honestly space is becoming an issue so come on down to Kon-Tiki to help kill some of these bottles! I tried to do my part on Wednesday.
First rum was Ron Colón which is a blend of column still Salvadorian rum and pot still Jamaican rums. A very pleasant taste in a Mai Tai, not too assertive. This style of blended rum might work better in a Daiquiri where the general lightness and a bit of the Jamaican flavor would be a little bit more forward and present.
Next, I tried the Diamond Dark rum. This is a Demerara rum and is part of Diamond Distiller’s (El Dorado rum) entry level rum line. This is heavily colored and this has a caramel/maple syrup flavor – not nearly as overbearing as something like Cruzan Blackstrap but still more in that direction than Goslings or Myers’s. Not bad in a Mai Tai.
Last rum was Plantation’s Extreme series Long Pond 25 year rum from Jamaica. Very fragrant and completely delicious, Jamaica rum continues to be my absolute favorite.
This Demerara Rum has been one of favorites of the genre, issued at a robust 45% ABV and being miles more flavorful than Pusser’s or Lemon Hart 1804. It’s a blend of seven rums, all aged for at least three years.
But, sadly, Skipper seems to have exited the U.S. market. Even worse, the Skipper Rum available in the U.K. is only at 40% ABV. So, tonight was the series finale.
As the bottle ran out, I made a Mai Tai and found it to work very well alongside some chewy Liber Orgeat. That’s the Mai Tai in the tall glass pictured.
And finally I made a Daiquiri (not pictured). This was fantastic when paired with some Liber Demerara Syrup. “The best in this rum world?” Oh that Daiquiri was pretty damn close.
The highlight of my lunch at Hula Hoops was the Buz-Tai, a Mai Tai variant developed by local raconteur Buz Deadwax. This boozy cocktail has developed a cult following due to the name, the potent nature of the drink, and Buz’s reputation as a cocktail connoisseur.
I’m not sure that Hula Hoops is making it exactly to the original specs, notably omitting the mint called for as a garnish, but also using the 151 float to served flaming. I can’t say that Hula Hoops is doing it wrong because any cocktail served flaming is a fan favorite.
I noticed that Hula Hoops prepares this with Real McCoy 5 and 3 from Barbados, which to me are upgrades from the original light and Spanish style rums called for. As described by Buz in his original recipe, the 151 rum float will eventually topple and “recharge” the cocktail. I do enjoy the new flavor combination that comes when the burnt sugar flavors of this style of Demerara rum is incorporated into the cocktail when you’re about halfway done.
Hula Hoops uses Small Hand Foods Orgeat, which regular readers will know is not my favorite. But when used in combination with the other ingredients I didn’t get any of the flavors I usually associate with this orgeat, and in fact the cocktail’s balanced flavors of sour, sweet, and spice completely worked for me.
Shockingly, I liked this more than the Mai Tai at Smuggler’s Cove the week before and even better than the Ultimate Mai Tai at Tiki Tom’s. It was just that good, at least on this day at that time. We thank bartender Maria for making an awesome Buz Tai. Check it out next time you’re at Hula Hoops.
Buz-Tai by Buz Deadwax ¾ oz Fresh Lime Juice 1 oz High-quality Orgeat ¼ oz to ⅓ oz Allspice Dram (to taste) 1 oz Dry Curaçao 1 oz Blended Jamaican Rum (Appleton Signature) 1 oz Light rum 1 oz Aged Column Still Rum (“Spanish style”) Shake with crushed ice and pour into double-rocks glass. Garnish with mint sprig. Pour ½ oz 151 Demerara Rum into spent lime shell and place on top of the cocktail.
We landed at the Disneyland Hotel on Friday evening and got some seats outside at the Tangaroa Terrace after a short wait. A pretty nice dinner, as always, and I enjoy the ambiance at night with the torches and live Hawaiian music.
I don’t love the Bacardi in their standard issue HippopotoMai-Tai so I looked at the rums on the backbar and ordered one with Hamilton 86 Demerara rum. The taste was lovely, richer than their standard.
We also got the new orange mug, which Mrs Mai Tai says is her favorite of the releases so far (I prefer the blue glaze from Trader Sam’s in Florida). The staff worked with us to adjust the level on the propane heaters. The skipper even threw in a few zingers.
When I got the bill it listed Hamilton 151 as the called rum. So that might explain why I found the cocktail so intoxicating.
Perhaps no destination demonstrates the search for the ultimate Mai Tai better than The Kon-Tiki in Oakland. Their Mai Tai has always been good, but self-described constant R&D means their 2022 Mai Tai has leapfrogged into the top 10, replacing sister bar The Kon-Tiki Room.
This sweet and savory cocktail uses Super Jugoso Orgeat, rum-based orange shrubb, and a blend of rums from Guyana, Martinique, and Jamaica. The house Mai Tai is excellent at Kon-Tiki, or try one with their special Kon-Tiki Single Barrel Rum from Worthy Park.
Kon-Tiki is also the place where where a customized Mai Tai was the best we’ve ever had.