When warm weather arrives, I start thinking about the Mai Tai. Not the sickly sweet concoctions of rum, juice, and sour mix that sometimes masquerade under that venerable name, but rather the real thing, made with real orgeat. When mixed correctly it’s a drink that needs no improvement.
It does, however, welcome variation. Last summer at Metrovino we offered the Transatlantic Mai Tai, an all-grain take on the cocktail that substitutes genever and rye for the usual rums. This year we’re trying something different using one of my favorite cocktail ingredients, beer.
The genesis of this drink is the Brewing Up Cocktails Spirited Dinner that Ezra Johnson-Greenough and I are putting on at Tales of the Cocktail next month. One of our sponsors is El Dorado, maker of exceptional rums in Guyana. We thought their rum went fantastically in a Mai Tai — or, for this event, a Mai Ta-IPA:
1 oz El Dorado white rum
1 oz El Dorado 8 year aged rum
1 1/2 oz IPA
1 oz lime juice
3/4 oz B. G. Reynolds’ orgeat
1/2 oz Combier liqueur d’orange
Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into an ice-filled collins glass. Garnish with a cherry (on a parasol, of course!).
The classic Mai Tai offers a perfect balance of sweet, sour, and spirituous elements. It doesn’t offer anything bitter. The addition of a hoppy IPA brings just a touch of bitterness to the drink while the carbonation makes it deliciously light and frothy.
If you’re attending Tales of the Cocktail this year, make reservations for our dinner with El Dorado and Drambuie at Emeril’s Delmonico Steakhouse, where we’ll be offering this and three more beer cocktails. Or if you’re in Portland, come by Metrovino to find a Mai Ta-IPA on our summer cocktail menu.