I first tried this amazing cocktail at Longitude, the Oakland adventure-themed bar that sadly closed but lives on today as The Kon-Tiki.
Every time I try this I think I should have it more often, featuring Jamaican rum, Passion Fruit Syrup, and Honey mix. So delicious. Thanks to Jeff Berry for publishing the recipe in Beachbum Berry Remixed and in the Total Tiki app.
It’s Friday so I made myself a double version of this. Thankfully I have these cool tiki style coupe glasses that are extra large.
Don’s Special Daiquiri ½ oz Lime Juice ½ oz Honey Mix ½ oz Passion Fruit Syrup ½ oz Light Rum 1 oz Gold Jamaican Rum
I was challenged by @alxfritch to make a Three Dots with Tequila replacing the rums. It is pretty good but we still prefer the version with rum. Not a bad choice if you’re looking for something be using the usual Margarita cocktails using Tequila.
I’m always up for the experiment.
Three Dots and a Dash by Don the Beachcomber ½ oz Lime Juice ½ oz Orange Juice ½ oz Honey Syrup ¼ oz Falernum ¼ oz Pimento Dram 1½ oz Aged Martinique Rhum ½ oz Demerara Rum 1 dash Angostura Bitters 6 oz Crushed Ice Flash blend and garnish with three cherries (three dots) and a pineapple (and a dash)
I took another run at the Don the Beachcomber Mai Tai Swizzle. Last time I said that I thought there was too much citrus, but I might think differently if the lighter Cuban style rum was replaced by a heavier Demerara rum.
So that’s basically what I did. I replaced the blend of Dark Jamaican and Gold Cuban rums with my Ultimate Mai Tai rum blend which includes Jamaican and Demerara rums. This time the heavier rum balanced out the citrus, though I still think going a little heavier on the Falernum would be a plus.
Mai Tai Swizzle (Don the Beachcomber) ¾ oz Lime Juice 1 oz Grapefruit Juice ½ oz Cointreau ¼ oz Falernum 2½ oz Ultimate Mai Tai Rum Blend 6 Drops Pernod 1 Dash Angostura Bitters Shake with crushed ice
Ultimate Mai Tai Rum Blend is equal parts Appleton 12, Smith & Cross, Plantation Xaymaca, and Plantation OFTD.
I didn’t like this Don the Beachcomber cocktail when I made it a couple years ago, but my palette has come around on some flavors over time so I thought I’d give this one another shot.
The Mai Tai Swizzle dates from the 1950s, according the Jeff “Beachbum” Berry. The recipe comes from Hawaii: Tropical Rum Drinks & Cuisine which is a Don the Beachcomber recipe book published by Donn Beach’s widow (who made a dubious claim this recipe pre-dated the Trader Vic’s 1944 Mai Tai). Including Grapefruit juice, Bitters, Falernum, and Pernod, the drink does contain some of the ingredients often seen in Don the Beachcomber cocktails.
Mai Tai Swizzle (Don the Beachcomber) ¾ oz Lime Juice 1 oz Grapefruit Juice ½ oz Cointreau ¼ oz Falernum 1½ oz Dark Jamaican Rum (Coruba) 1 oz Gold Cuban Rum (sub Bacardi 8) 6 Drops Pernod 1 Dash Angostura Bitters Shake with crushed ice.
My notes a couple year ago was that this had too much citrus, and that feeling holds true today. I might have different opinions if the Cuban rum was replaced with a Demerara, so maybe I’ll try that next time. (See the results: Mai Tai Swizzle Re-Revisted)
So, I made some tweaks and added Demerara Syrup and added more Falernum. It is much better tasting and more balanced. Mrs. Mai Tai enjoyed it while finishing her cocktail puzzle.
Ultimate Mai Tai Swizzle ¾ oz Lime Juice 1 oz Grapefruit Juice ½ oz Demerara Syrup ½ oz Cointreau ½ oz Falernum 1½ oz Dark Jamaican Rum (Coruba) 1 oz Gold Cuban Rum (sub Bacardi 8) 6 Drops Pernod 1 Dash Angostura Bitters
I’ll put my home Mai Tai up against anyone, and I think my Ultimate Navy Grog is damn near perfect. But I bow to the master, Donn Beach, when it comes to the Zombie.
After trying several Zombies I made a 1934 Zombie with heavier Grenadine and 3 plus ounces of the Ultimate Mai Tai rum blend (Appleton 12, Smith & Cross, Xaymaca, OFTD). This should have been right up my alley but it wasn’t. I love this rum blend, but it doesn’t make the Zombie better. That Puerto Rican rum and the specific Demerara Overproof called for in the original recipe do make the difference.
Had a great time on Halloween. We had a little parade on our street and Mrs Mai Tai made goodie bags for the kids on the street and also dressed up in her T-Rex costume. Later I watched American Werewolf in London and then Zombieland: Double Tap. I like my horror to be mostly comedy, I guess.
The original is the best. That’s the conclusion at Ultimate Mai Tai Headquarters after trying out three other Zombies this month and then trying the 1934 recipe.
The subtle Cinnamon flavor and heavier rums make this a much more palatable cocktail. It’s like Jeff “Beachbum” Berry says, it’s really a magnified Planters Punch with a blend of rums and other kinds of sweeteners and spices.
1934 Zombie ¾ oz Lime juice ½ oz Don’s Mix ½ oz Falernum ¼ oz Grenadine 1½ oz Jamaican rum 1½ oz Puerto Rican rum 1 oz Demerara 151 proof rum 2 dashes absinthe 1 dash Angostura bitters 6 oz crushed ice Flash blend for 5 seconds Don’s Mix: 2 parts White Grapefruit juice and 1 part Cinnamon Syrup.
Glassware and coasters from last year’s Kickstarter by Will Penny.
Continuing our theme for the week, I made the 1950 and 1956 Zombie cocktails. We can thank @official_beachbumberry for unearthing these old recipes, and if you haven’t memorized the Zombie chapter from The Bum’s seminal book Sippin’ Safari then you need to order that book right away (get the 10th anniversary edition). These lovely Beachbum Berry Zombie glasses make pairing these two cocktails a delight.
1950 Zombie 1 oz Lime juice 1 oz Lemon juice 1 oz Pineapple juice 1 oz Passion Fruit Syrup 1 oz White Puerto Rican rum 1 oz Gold Puerto Rican rum 1 oz Demerara 151 proof rum 1 tsp brown sugar 1 Dash Angostura bitters Shake with ice
1956 Zombie ¾ oz Lime juice ½ oz Grapefruit juice 1½ oz Unsweetened Pineapple juice ¼ oz Falernum ¾ oz Maraschino Liqueur (only used ⅓ oz) ¼ tsp Grenadine 1¼ oz Gold Puerto Rican rum 1 oz Dark Jamaican rum 1 oz Lemon Hart 151 Demerara rum ⅛ tsp Pernod/Absinthe 2 dashes Angostura Bitters 6 oz (¾ cup) crushed ice Flash blend
You can see which rums and ingredients I used. Overall I thought that the 1956 Zombie tasted too much like the Maraschino Liqueur, even after I used only half the listed amount. I might drop it down to a teaspoon next time.
The 1950 Zombie was better received both by me and also by Mrs. Mai Tai, as we both felt it was easier to drink. But neither of us felt like either cocktail was something we’d go out of our way to order at a bar.
This essay has been gracing the back cover of the Trader Vic’s Cocktail Menu for decades. It serves to highlight the spirit that is most prominent in Trader Vic’s cocktails, and is both a history lesson and a list of “shout outs” to famed mixologists. This is a scan of a menu circa 1965.
This is one area where I think that Victor Bergeron deserves more credit, as quite often he would credit the original creator of a cocktail on the menu or in his books. In the essay he highlights a number of 20th Century barmen including Frank Meier of the Ritz Bar in Paris, Constantine at La Florida Bar in Havana, and Albert Martin of Con Ton Bar in New Orleans. He ends with several pointed salutes to Don the Beachcomber of Hollywood.
The design includes pictures of some of the famous venues and a caricature of Don the Beachcomber himself.