Mai tai one on.

12 Mar

I’m fully vaccinated but still reluctant to venture inside a restaurant. So I continue to perfect my bartending skills so I can enjoy an occasional cocktail Chez Sandler. I found my latest conquest in Food & Wine’s 2007 annual cookbook. It is a drink which originated in Trader Vic’s Polynesian restaurants – and is the perfect tropical drink to remind you of happier times on a beach. It’s the Mai Tai – which in Tahitian means “very good.” And yes, I would agree it is a very good cocktail!

I headed to the liquor store for the necessary components like I always do. What I didn’t expect was how difficult it was going to be to find one key ingredient. Finally found the elusive almond syrup in the fifth liquor store – thank you Haskell’s. Better known as orgeat syrup, it gives the drink it’s distinctive bitter taste. I’ve made the drink twice now and discovered crushed ice, not ice cubes, is essential. No ice crusher? Use your blender to crush ice or a rolling pin or mallet to crush ice cubes in a sealable plastic bag. And of course that garnish offers a certain authenticity! Treat yourself!

Trader Vic’s Mai Tai

1½ ounces aged Jamaican rum

½ ounce orange curacao

1 ounce fresh lime juice

½ ounce almond syrup

¼ ounce Simple Syrup* to taste

Mint sprig (optional) for garnish

Maraschino cherry, for garnish

In a cocktail shaker filled with crushed ice, shake the rum, curacao, lime juice and almond and simple syrups well and strain over crushed ice. Garnish with the mint spring and cherry.

Makes one cocktail

*Sure you buy simple syrup but WHY?? Simply combine equal parts sugar and water in a saucepan and stir over high heat until the sugar dissolves. I keep a small container in my frig at all times – ready for mixing!

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