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.

Drunken Monkey at Trader Vic’s Emeryville

This cocktail appeared on the menu at Trader Vic’s Emeryville a couple years ago and I decided to revisit with lunch. The drink features unaged Cachaça and Tequila, along with Banana liqueur, grapefruit and lime juice, plus Trader Vic’s favorite ingredient – Orgeat. The Whipped Cream topping with Lime Zest makes this an attractive cocktail.

The blend of Cachaça and Tequila works really well here, providing different spirit notes than what you’d get with Rum or Bourbon. Cachaça is distilled from cane juice and the light herbal qualities pair well with Tequila’s agave-based flavor. The banana is there just as a hint, and when we upped the ratio at home it still wasn’t forward in the cocktail.

At Trader Vic’s the cocktail is served in this tall glass with nugget ice, which meant it was difficult to incorporate the topping into the drink due to the chunky ice. My preference would be for this to be in an old fashioned glass with a wider brim or with shaved ice that would be easier to work with.

Trader Vic’s hasn’t published the recipe but observing the prep and trying at home this seems pretty close. Give it a try!

Drunken Monkey by Trader Vic’s
½ oz Lime Juice
½ oz Grapefruit Juice (pink)
½ oz Orgeat
½ oz Giffard Banane du Bresil
1 oz Blanco Tequila
1 oz Silver Cachaça
Shake with crushed ice and top with whipped cream and banana chips.

At home I used El Jimador Tequila and Novo Fogo Cachaça, along with Latitude 29 Orgeat, and I felt this tasted even better than the one at Trader Vic’s. I’m a newbie to both spirits, so I couldn’t tell which brands were used at Vic’s.

Long Island Iced Tea

I guess this is the trendy drink this week, after a video by The Educated Barfly and a discussion this week on the always entertaining Life Behind Bars podcast.

Long Island Iced Tea
1 oz Lemon Juice
1 oz Simple Syrup
½ oz Vodka
½ oz Gin
½ oz Tequila
½ oz Rum
½ oz Triple Sec
Build in tall glass with ice, top with cola. Lightly stir.

I was never a Long Island Iced Tea guy back during the years when most people have these. Wasn’t really much of anything but a beer guy, actually. But this wasn’t too bad. The tequila was the spirit that pushed through more than the others, which was fine I guess but I would have preferred the gin or rum.

Sangria Margarita

I’m in love and I don’t care who knows!

Mrs Mai Tai and I traveled Route 66 from Oklahoma City to Albuquerque (see: @kevincrossman for photos) and landed just before dinner. We are staying at the @elvadoabq Hotel, a historic Route 66 property recent restored.

We walked over to Old Town but it is hot here. Thankfully we found the Church Street Cafe Mexican restaurant and stopped to cool off.

The Pacifico was great but the Sangria Margarita (frozen!!) was truly amazing. Mrs Mai Tai is already sick of me singing the praises of this amazing cocktail. So tasty and the mix of Sangria and traditional lime Margarita is truly transcendent.

Tres Puntos y una Raya and Three Dots and a Dash

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 beyond the usual Margarita cocktail 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)

Margaritas at La Fiesta in Mountain View

With Trad’r Sam open again in San Francisco, we traveled up to check out their offerings. I was assured they’d be open on Saturday between 2:00-3:00 but at 3:30 there was nobody there and no sign of activity. Mrs. Mai Tai was not happy. I get that this is a family-run business and that Saturday night is the priority, not Saturday afternoon. Well, tikiphiles, I tried.

So, we headed down the Peninsula to our favorite Mexican restaurant, La Fiesta in Mountain View. This place is a few blocks off downtown but is totally worth seeking out. They’ve converted half their parking lot into outdoor seating and the tables are spaced out really well. We love the Grandma’s Special sauce that is added to various menu items. It is unbelievably good.

For our Margaritas, Julie had the Margarita Rosalina (the Grandma in “Grandma’s Special”) with reposado tequila, cranberry juice, lime, triple sec, and sweet and sour. I had the Veracruz with silver tequila, blue curaçao, triple sec, lime, and sweet and sour. Both were excellent.

We we got home I made a couple more blue margaritas.

Ultimate Blue Margarita
¾ oz Lime Juice
¾ oz Blue Curacao
¼ oz Blood Orange Cordial
1½ oz el Jimador Blanco Tequila
Shake with ice and serve over cubed ice.