The sun is beaming, in all of summer’s glory. A coastal breeze blows, as I feel the warm sand beneath my feet, and a cold drink in my hand. Isn’t Hawaii absolutely amazing?
Well, I’m sure it is. Unfortunately, I’m not on the Big Island (insert sad mainland face), but I DO have legitimate island envy. In the spirit of Friday, the hot weather—and being overdue for a drink recipe—there’s no better time than the present! What epitomizes the tropics better than a Mai Tai? There’s something about this rum & citrus libation that has me wanting some R&R, not to mention it’s delicious. In fact, wait . . . here’s a little Jimmy Buffett inspiration to get us in the mood—It’s 5:00 Somewhere.
There are as many variations of this tiki-themed drink, as days of summer. Well, which recipe is the best? That, my sun-worshiping friends is up to you! Since this post is up to me, I created a version that might not be the original, but still incorporates many Mai Tai elements I love—rum, and some other rum.
This was easy to make with just a shaker & fresh fruit juices. Time to fill our tiki glasses, shall we?
- 1 oz light rum (I use Bacardi)
- 1 oz med dark, spiced rum (I use Captain Morgan)
- ½ oz darker rum, as floater (I use a dark variety by Captain Morgan called “Tattoo”)
- 1 oz juice of an orange (freshly squeezed)
- 1 oz juice of pineapple, (freshly juiced, or from a can)
- ½ oz fresh lime juice
- ¼ oz Cointreau
- ¼ oz Amaretto liqueur (I used in place of orgeat syrup)
- *small splash of grenadine, for color, optional
- *pineapple chunk for garnish, optional
- *umbrella for garnish, optional
- *sprig of fresh mint for garnish, optional
- Squeeze/juice fruits as needed.
- Fill an old fashioned glass (chilled glass optional), fill ~1/2 way with crushed or shaved ice.
- In a cocktail shaker with ice cubes, combine all main ingredients, EXCEPT the darker rum for floater & grenadine (if using).
- Shake well for ~ 1 min, use strainer & pour directly into old fashioned glass with crushed ice.
- Pour ½ oz darker rum floater on top, and splash of grenadine (if desired), don’t stir.
- Add a cocktail umbrella with pineapple chunks, or a skewer & a sprig of fresh mint.
Many folks debate the origin of this polynesian pour, but its roots have been widely accepted to be from California . . . I had no idea? There are two rumored pioneers, Trader Vic and Don the Beachcomber—both restauranteurs in the Golden Sate. I wasn’t around in the 1940’s to compare them, but these guys were doing something right. Mai Tai’s have evolved into a timeless cocktail, loved by vacationers everywhere! I’ve tried many variations, some with pineapple juice, some grapefruit, and you know what? I’ve never met one I didn’t fancy. I don’t like mine too sweet, but I do prefer a splash of fresh pineapple juice, freshly squeezed orange, lime, and a few types of rum. Many varieties call for simple syrup and/or orgeat syrup, which is almond based. I don’t keep orgeat around, so I decided to substitute with a splash of Amaretto, which gave us a little of the smooth almond flavor. I skipped the simple syrup altogether, since the fruit was just enough. As for the rum, I used a light variety, and a dark spiced variety (since I had on hand). I topped off our creation with a traditional dark rum floater, which no Mai Tai should go without! The little umbrella . . . well, that’s optional, but it never hurts to be festive.
I thoroughly enjoyed sipping this to welcome the weekend. Sometimes you just need a moment of vacation . . . maybe next time, Hawaii.
Hali pau to you!