As the winter cold sets in, many tipplers naturally and excitedly turn their attention to warm drinks like Irish coffee, hot buttered rum or hot toddies. There’s nothing wrong with that at all and I’ll expand on those drinks in the very near future.
However, there is an entirely different approach to take in terms of “heating up” your cold winter nights: go tropical.
If you mix up a tropical drink, such as the much celebrated Mai Tai that follows, close your eyes and take a big sip, your mind will likely be transported to an exotic beach scene and hence, you’ll be warmed up.
Interestingly, the original Mai Tai recipe was not created in the tropics. Rather, it was first crafted by San Francisco bar mogul Vic Bergeron (aka — Trader Vic) in the 1940s. His recipe was a huge hit and was timed well as the nation fell in love with tiki culture in the 50s and 60s. Unfortunately, the original recipe has since been slaughtered by bartenders using pineapple juice, orange juice and cloyingly sweet bottled mixers.
With the exception of the rock candy syrup that Bergeron preferred, the following recipe stays true to Trader Vic’s original vision. Mix up one soon, in front of the fire, in board shorts or a bikini and flip flops. Cheers!
Kevin Hopper mixes drinks at State Street cocktail house, Capitol Bar (thecapbar.com).
2 oz. quality gold rum (such as Appleton Estate or Wray & Nephew)
3/4 oz. fresh lime juice
1/2 oz. Orgeat (almond syrup)
1/4 oz. orange curacao (or Cointreau)
1/4 oz. simple syrup
In a mixing glass, combine all ingredients and top with crushed or shaved ice (regular ice cubes are fine too, but the texture will suffer). Shake in a cocktail shaker for 30 seconds and pour it all into an old-fashioned glass. Garnish with the spent half of a lime and think warm thoughts.