Monday, April 30, 2012

The Mai Tai

320 Main's Mai Tai

When one thinks of Tiki, they think of sailing around the South Pacific, sipping drinks out of pineapples or coconuts, and lounging around white, sandy beaches whilst the breeze gently presses its way through the palms overhead. Here at 320 Main we may not have the coconuts and pineapples, but we still have the beach and, more importantly, we have the Mai Tai – the King of Tiki Drinks.

The Mai Tai was created in 1944 by Victor Bergeron – better known as Trader Vic (yes, that Trader Vic). By that time, Trader Vic's had locations in Oakland and Seattle, modeled after successful Polynesian Palaces like Don The Beachcomber's.

Vic Bergeron a.k.a Trader Vic
To create the Mai Tai, Vic combined Jamaican rum, curaçao, lime juice, rock candy syrup, and orgeat – an almond syrup created in France. The drink – full of flavors funky, tart, and just enough sweetness – proved so delicious and became so popular that Vic's restaurants eventually depleted the entire world supply of the Wray & Nephew 17 Year Old rum (you can occasionally find bottles in private collections for as little as $56,000 today). Vic was forced to try to recreate the rum's distinctive flavor by combining other Jamaican rum with rum from Martinique.

Mai Tai
.75 oz Appleton Estate Reserve Rum
.75 oz Rhum Clément VSOP
.75 oz House-Made Mai Tai Mix*
.75 oz Lime Juice
* Clément Creole Shrubb, house-made orgeat, and rich simple syrup

Shake with crushed ice and pour into an Old Fashioned glass. Garnish with a lime shell and fresh mint.

320 Main may not be the beating heart of Faux Polynesian Faire, but we can't help but tip our straw hats to Trader Vic and what may be his greatest creation and an experience that is sure to make you proclaim, “Mai tai roa ae!”*

*”Out of this world – the best!” in Tahitian

Matt “RumDood” Robold is a bartender at 320 Main and, in his spare time, runs, where he writes about rum, rum cocktails, and rum history.

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