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Mai Tai Madness … Yahoooooooo!!!

You may recall that a while back your humble correspondent entered Matt’s “Mai Tai Madness” contest and our post won.  While I would have been happy with simply getting a little recognition – being a newbie cocktail blogger, receiving a shout out on highly popular blog like Matt’s was reward enough for me – Matt was kind enough to send a nice care package of goodies for mixing up said cocktail (hello, Mai Tai’s) including a bottle of Appleton Extra, Clement Rhum Vieux Agricole VSOP and a bottle of Clement Creole Shrubb.  Prior to receiving this little package of goodies I had never tried the VSOP or the Shrubb. Some sampling was in order prior to the madness beginning and I must say that both are fantastic products.

Having won a contest called “Mai Tai Madness” I felt obliged to undertake something a little larger then just mixing up one Mat Tai and calling it a day; as I am apt to do I wanted to turn this into a fun experiment/learning project trying several different rum and curacao combinations to see how the drink was either improved or if not, how to alter that mixture.

So how to proceed?   It wasn’t too hard, after all we have a recent stint in Tikiville under our belts to serve as a guide – using the Mai Tai recipe sourced from the Dood’s site as our starting point bottles of rum, curacao, fresh lime juice and orgeat were assembled and together with my two designated tasters (for this experiment at least) the Boss and Gran-baby a whole lot of madness took place over two separate tasting days.

The Mai Tai (Mai Tai Madness base formula)

Recipe sourced from Matt’s site at Rum Dood

  • 1 oz Jamaican rum
  • 1 oz Martinician Rhum
  • 3/4 oz fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 oz Orange Curacao (Senior brand)
  • 1/2 oz orgeat (Trader Tiki brand was used in all variations sampled)
  • 1/4 oz simple syrup (rich 2:1 demerara sugar syrup was used in all variations sampled)

Assembly: Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker, add ice, shake well for at least 30 seconds until well chilled and double strain into a serving glass fill with crushed ice.  Garnish with mint, sip and think about all that is good in this world.

Note: Each of the variations below used the above base formulation and any changes to this recipe are noted in the variation description.

Mai Tai Madness, Day 1

-        Variation #1: 1 oz of Appleton Extra 12 year Rum / 1 oz of Clement Rhum Vieux Agricole VSOP / Clement Creole Shrubb (substitute for the Orange Curacao)

-        Variation #2: 1 1/2 oz El Dorado 15 year Rum and 1/2oz Lemon Hart Overproof Rum (as substitutes for the listed types of rums) / Grand Marnier Cent Cinquantenaire (substitute for the Orange Curacao)

-        Variation #3: 2 oz of Cruzan Aged Rum (as a substitute for the listed types of rums)

Method behind the madness: No real method to the madness just an interest in seeing how things changed when we moved beyond the base formula.  How would a single dark rum taste versus the base?  Sub in two deep, richly flavored rums plus a little decadence in a curacao choice and does the mix improve any? After each sample we tried to note if a combination worked or didn’t and if not then how could it have been improved.

Preferences (by taster):

theSpeakista’s: Variation #2 followed by #1 and #3

the Boss’: Variation #3, followed by #2 and #1

Gran-baby’s: Variation #1, followed by #2 and #3

Tasting notes: while we all ended up with a different first place selection it would seem that overall number two was the winner.  Going in I was keen to see how number two would taste versus the base recipe – in my humble opinion I thought Variation #2 rocked with a depth of flavor, spice and richness in a nice balance with the citrus and sweetening agents that more then overtook the other two selections.

Mai Tai Madness, Day 2

-        Variation #4: 1 oz of Mount Gay Eclipse and 1 oz of Angostura 1919 (as substitutes for the listed types of rums) / Clement Creole Shrubb (substitute for the Orange Curacao)

-        Variation #5: 1 1/2 oz Cruzan Black Strap Rum  and 1/2oz Wray and Nephew White Overproof Rum (as substitutes for the listed types of rums) / Clement Creole Shrubb (substitute for the Orange Curacao)

-        Variation #6 (recipe sourced from Blair Reynolds, aka Trader Tiki): 1 oz of Appleton Extra 12 year Rum and 1oz Barbancourt Rhum 5 Star (as substitutes for the listed types of rums) / 1/4 oz orgeat (vs the 1/2 oz in the base recipe) and the recipe calls for Rock Candy Syrup but the rich simple syrup was still used

Method behind the madness: Again, theSpeakista was lacking a certain crystal ball by way of magic (yes, I have seen the Dood’s write up on a month of Mai Tai’s and could have cheated a little better …) and on the first two variations in this go around opted more for the “grab what you can find” method.  In Variation #4 I was trying to see what a Haitian rum and rum from Trinidad would yield and similar to our method behind Variation #2, the #5 was built on two strongly flavored (and proof profiles) rums with a hope that the magic in #2 would be reborn.  Variation #6 was a feeble attempt at homage to Blair and his fine work (this variation was adapted from the video presented herein).

Preferences (by taster):

theSpeakista’s: Variation #2 followed by #3 and #1

the Boss’: Variation #3, followed by #2 and #1

Gran-baby’s: Variation #2, followed by #3 and #1

Tasting notes: Ok, ok … everyone’s a critic.  Variation #4 was a play on different rums and well, it turns out that our esteemed panel of tasters was not all that wowed but its Rummy goodness. It seemed to lack a certain “sparkle” and maybe could have yielded a little something more by slightly upping the sweetness factor as a means of coaxing more out of the rums. The final variation reminded me some ways like the base formulation but with a certain something missing – I think that the VSOP adds a certain extra richness in the taste profile that when paired with the equally nice 12 year Appleton yields a nice drink.  On the middle variation I am reminded of how there is something quite nice about Black Strap Rum in general but when mixed with the equally beguiling heat and unique flavor profile of the Jay Wray and the Shrubb you have a really fine variation on the Mai Tai.

So there it is … a little Mai Tai Madness courtesy of theSpeakista and most definitely our host, Matt (aka the Rum Dood).  Hopefully this post encourages you try a little madness of your own and if not with rum, then pick your spirit of choice and get some madness.

theSpeakista asks:

1. What do you think of the above go at Mai Tai’s?

2. Share with us your prior attempts at experimenting with this fine drink?

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{ 1 comment… add one }

  • Jordan November 14, 2010, 2:20 am

    If you haven’t tried it, make sure to get your hands on some Smith & Cross Jamaican rum. It is more or less the ultimate Mai-Tai rum as it is absolutely chock full of funky flavor. Mt. Gay Sugar Cane Rum pairs with it rather well, though that one may be a bit tricky to find since they’ve discontinued it. The only problem with that variation is that after making Mai-Tais with S&C, I’ve noticed that I have to bump up the rum volume if I’m using only 80-proof rums in my Mai-Tais as they don’t have the same kick.

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