All the snow this winter got me to thinking about the beach.
I don’t actually love the beach. I have very fair, freckled skin and spent my youth getting red and sunburned, then peeling, then back to very fair and freckled. Never got a tan. What was the point of even trying?
But beach sounds good when it’s 18 degrees out and there is a foot of snow on your lawn and more coming.
Ed and I did take short beach vacations occasionally. And it’s those I was thinking about in the past couple of days. Those days away gave us a chance to sleep late, do nothing and drink more than usual for 3 or 4 days. Not that we drink much when we’re home.
But on one particular occasion when we were really really tired and needed a good rest, we took ourselves to the Bahamas and on the first full day there we sat ourselves down at the beach at 10:30 a.m. and some nice woman came over and asked if she could get us something to drink. By 10:45 we downed our first Mai Tai.
If you’ve never had a Mai Tai, let me just say, they are potent. Especially if you start drinking them at 10:45 a.m. Even if they are watered down at a resort bar.
A real Mai Tai is made with rum, orange Curacao, lime juice, sugar syrup and orgeat, which is an almond flavored syrup. At beach resorts they sometimes add pineapple and/or orange juice.
I don’t know if the Mai Tais we drank were authentic or not. They tasted good. They must have because Ed told the woman to come back every hour with another round and so by the time we left the beach in the afternoon we had had, let’s say, quite a few and were feeling pretty merry. We had french fries for dinner and called it a day.
The original Mai Tai may have been a creation of Victor Bergeron Jr. (Trader Vic). He said that he concocted the drink at his Oakland, California restaurant in the 1940s and when he served it to some Tahitian friends they said “Mai Tai Roa Ae,” which apparently means “this stuff is beyond wonderful” or “out of this world” or “the best” and that’s how the cocktail got its name.
Vic’s competitor during the Polynesian food and drink trend (popular post World War II), was a man named Ernest Gantt (who changed it to Donn Beach), and he said he invented it at his restaurant, Don the Beachcomber, back in the 1930s.
I don’t care who was first. I’ll leave that debate to the men’s heirs.
All I know is, this tastes really out of this world and I have a feeling there will be one in my near future.
1 ounce light rum
3/4 ounce lime juice
1/2 ounce Orange Curacao or Triple Sec
1/4 ounce sugar syrup
1/4 ounce orgeat
1 cup crushed ice or about 12 ice cubes
1 ounce dark rum
Place the light rum, lime juice, Curacao, syrup, orgeat in a cocktail shaker filled with the ice. Shake vigorously. Pour the mixture into a tumbler. Pour the dark rum on top, stir gently. Add a sprig of mint for garnish. Makes one