Liquid Alchemist Grenadine in a Port Light Cocktail

I’ve liked most of the Liquid Alchemist syrups I’ve tried, so I picked up this Grenadine that’s new to me. It’s a really fantastic syrup, rich and tart. The ingredients include Pomegranate juice and also Pomegranate molasses, along with Orange Blossom Water. Unlike some thin commercial syrups, you can see that the color is very dark reddish purple that works great when mixed in cocktails.

Having tasting this Liquid Alchemist Grenadine just by itself, I thought it’d work well in a Port Light cocktail using a heavy pour. Indeed it works great alongside Passion Fruit Syrup and Bourbon and really made for a nice rich drink.

Port Light
1 oz Lemon Juice
½ oz Passion Fruit Syrup (Small Hand)
½ oz Liquid Alchemist Grenadine (heavy pour)
1½ oz Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon
Shake with Crushed Ice

Modified version of the Kahiki Port Light, via Beachbum Berry’s Grog Log.

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.

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.

Shirley Temple Week

I’m not sure why it took us this long to get here, but it has been Shirley Temple week for Mrs. Mai Tai. Not a movie marathon, but several tastings of the mocktail made with Grenadine and Soda, topped with cherries. This seems to be right up her alley, having preferred blended cocktails such as the Chi-Chi and Lava Flow. But for whatever reason it never occurred to order this in the past.

Recipes vary but typically include some Grenadine and either Ginger Ale, 7-up, or Lemon-Lime Soda. Some recipes also call for little splash of Lemon or Lime Juice, which I think would be a nice addition.

As noted in the previous post, we had these at Hula’s after a night of cocktails in Paso Robles. Then, we ordered one at Forbidden Island and what came out was very, very different. Instead of bright red cherries and Rose’s Grenadine, this one was served with traditional Pomegranate Grenadine and dark cherries. This variant seemed to be popular in my Instagram story poll, winning 2-1. Knowing that many don’t love the red cherries, it would be interesting to see if Luxardo dark cherries on top of a Shirley Temple with Rose’s might be more popular.

I also ordered a Shirley Temple for Mrs. Mai Tai at SAP Center at Sharks game, and that one came out nice and sweet, but sans cherries. Bummer.

I see recipes online that refer to a Dirty Shirley, when vodka or rum is added. If dark rum is used, it is called a Shirley Temple Black, a funny homage to the actress’s married name.