Yesterday my lovely wife was notified that she, along with a whole group of collaborators, will be funded by NASA! They will be to studying the recently discovered tectonic activity in the ice on Jupiters moon Europa. Getting funding is always welcome news, and doing something so cool deserved celebration…which in our house usually means a fancy mixed drink at some point.

A confluence of events sent us towards making up the original Mai Tai. First, our minds are turning toward the tropics and our upcoming honeymoon to Costa Rica. Second, we recently received awesome tiki glasses as a wedding present. Third, I've had a bottle of home made orgeat syrup sitting in my fridge for over a year and I'm always interested in finding new ways to use this amazing and perennially mis-pronounced nectar of the gods. (It's Or-zjat, not Or-Gee-ot). After being told by a friend that we should have a blog to document our drink mixing adventures I figured I had better post about these epic Mai Tai's, so here you go!

If you've never had a real Mai Tai you need to mix one up right away. It is epic! I had never had one despite how much the history of cocktails was influenced by Don the Beachcomber and Trader Vic. These drinks are all about rum, good rum, and lots of it, in different varieties. When I think of Tiki drinks I think of rum mixed with fruit juice, but most of the classics are mostly booze with some fruit thrown in for taste. The classic Mai Tai is no different.
Here is the recipe I used, which borrows a bit from the Trader Vic and Don the Beachcomber versions as well as this one from the Washington Post. These two feuded a bit over who invented this drink.
  • 1oz - Pyrat blended rum (mostly Demerarra apparently)
  • 1oz - Depaz Rhum Agricole
  • 1oz- Cruzan light rum (it was in the bar…)
  • Juice from one lime (~3/4 ounce)
  • 1/2 ounce Triple Sec (no Cointreu or Orange CuraƧao on hand)
  • 1/2 ounce Orgeat syrup (essential for this drink, home-made is WAY better here)
  • 1/2 oz Velvet Falernum (this stuff is awesome)
  • 1/2 oz White grapefruit juice (I made it with and without, I like this addition a lot)
  • 1/2Tbs powdered sugar (I didn't have simple syrup)
I was lazy and didn't use crushed ice. I put all the ingredients together in a blender, dropped in ice cubes and pulsed it a couple times until the ice was well cracked. DO NOT make this into a smoothy, that would be a tragedy! I garnished it with a stick of fresh pineapple and a lime wedge stuck with a fancy toothpick but a mint sprig and lime is traditional. This thing packs a serious punch and you can really taste the rum, I would avoid using cheap rum at all costs, it would ruin the smoothness of the drink.