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

Orgeat Shootout

I’m always ready to give a new Orgeat a try. I’ve been on the record recommending the Latitude 29 Orgeat for some time, and in the past I’ve also liked BG Reynolds. This time I’m comparing Latitude 29 to the craft brand Liquid Alchemist and the mainstream brand Torani. The Mai Tais were made according to the 1944 recipe with Denizen Merchants Reserve rum.

Liquid Alchemist
I really liked their Coconut Syrup, so was eager to try the Orgeat. This has a very strong Almond Milk flavor, since that’s the primary ingredient. The Orgeat also contains Sugar, Sea Salt, Santham Gum, and Sunflower Leeithin. I used this in several cocktails and it seemed fine in some cocktails, but for me I don’t love the Almond Milk-forward flavor in the Mai Tai. So this was actually my least favorite of these three, though if you love Almond Milk your milage may vary.

Torani
This is a very mainstream syrup brand, often used for a sweetening coffee. Torani’s Almond/Orgeat Syrup contains Pure Cane Sugar, Water, Natural Flavors, Citric Acid, Acacia Gum, Ester Gum, and preservatives. It has a sweet almond flavor, and while it’s nice to not see Corn Syrup there’s also no real almond either. The Mai Tai had a nice sweet flavor but definitely a with an artificial aftertaste. I’ve had worse Orgeat before, and Torani is very inexpensive. But we think that spending more on a higher quality Orgeat is worth it.

Latitude 29 Formula Orgeat
Still the reigning champion. Contains Water, Pure Cane Sugar, Almonds, Orange Blossom Water, Rose Water, and Organic Almond Essence. It’s got a wonderful Almond-forward flavor that’s just the right level of sweetness, and my Mai Tai was perfect. You can order this from www.orgeatworks.com.

Congrats to Latitude 29 for their 6th year anniversary of doing business in New Orleans. Loved my visit there a couple years ago. I had a trip to NOLA scrapped this year, but I hope to return soon.

Blue Curacao: Giffard vs. Senior

So many thanks to local tikiphile Cathie Wartelle for donating some of her Senior Blue Curacao for another shootout comparison with our reigning champion Giffard Curacao Bleu.

Last week we compared Giffard to the much cheaper Drillaud, and so this week it’s a more even playing field since the Senior is priced similarly (or in many places even higher). Once again, we did this in our Blue Hawai-Tai cocktail – though this time I did switch up the rums. We have Rum-Bar White Overproof and Denizen Aged White Rum for standing in this week.

In the glass: I found the Giffard to be a deeper shade of blue, and heavier and more complex on the tongue. The Senior is pleasant but just lacks a bit of depth – though it is 31% ABV compared to 25% for the Giffard. 

In the cocktail: The Senior Blue Curacao mixes well in the cocktail, and for sure helps this cocktail go down easy. The sweetness of Senior is similar to the Giffard, but once again the Giffard just has a little extra complexity in the cocktail that is a notable difference.

The verdict: unlike last time, price differences aren’t a factor, so Giffard is still our winner. If you’re at a liquor store and you had to choose between some $7 low-end Blue Curacao and Senior, should you feel bad going upscale? Absolutely not. The Senior Blue Curacao is a good liqueur. But pound for pound, the Giffard is better in our opinion.

Blue Hawai-Tai by Kevin Crossman
1 oz Lemon Juice
1 oz White Overproof Jamaican Rum
½ oz Aged White Rum
½ oz Orgeat
½ oz Simple Syrup
½ oz Blue Curacao

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with crushed ice.