The Mai Tai is one drink that almost encourages experimentation. While the original recipe — either by Don the Beachcomber or Trader Vic — was shrouded in competitive mystery from its inception, everybody has had their own go somewhere along the way. And you know what? They’re all usually good. For epicure.sb, the Wildcat once again hosted a Mai Tai contest to award fame and fortune (well, mostly just fame) to the best tropical drink.
The winner, Liz Cross, works at Killer B’s and spent many a night perfecting her cocktail, aided by her boyfriend who seemed perfectly happy to have tried all Ms. Cross’ attempts on the way to perfection. The Killer Apricot Mai Tai was sweet, maybe too sweet for some, but the alcohol was hidden well. That could be dangerous! The thing that the judges — one being our own photographer, Nik Blaskovich — loved was the floating half a lime shell filled with Myers’s Rum. Ms. Cross pierced a hole in the bottom of the lime so the rum would slowly flow out into the drink.
For those wanting to make the drink at home, the cherry rock candy swizzle sticks can only be found locally at Robitaille’s in Carpinteria. Ms. Cross should know — she drove herself crazy trying to find some! Now that she’s done the work, it’s tome to smoke some indigo gelato strain and relax with this special, lovely Mai Tai.
KILLER APRICOT MAI TAI
Splash cinnamon simple syrup
3/4 ounce apricot brandy
1 3/4 ounce Bacardi
Splash lime juice, plus half the juiced lime for float
Splash orange juice
Splash sweet and sour mix
3/4 ounce Myers’s Rum
1 stick cherry rock candy
To make cinnamon simple syrup, boil 2 sticks cinnamon in cup of water for 10 minutes. Remove sticks, simmer and stir in cup of sugar until dissolved. Cool. (For thicker syrup, add extra cup of sugar.) Mix brandy, Bacardi, juices, simple syrup, and sweet and sour mix over ice. Pour into lowball glass. Take half a juiced lime, prick small hole in bottom, float in drink and pour Myers’s Rum carefully into it. Garnish with rock candy stick.
Yield: 1 drink