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my mai tai problem

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Ralph posted on 11 Apr 2017 6:49 PM

Well, it's not so much a problem for me, quite frankly I think my mai tai is a work of pure art and is my summertime delight.  This summer's orgeat will be a masterpiece.  But if you look at the recipe for the original, it is, and mine is as well, a pretty boozy drink.  Which leads me to the problem, it is just too boozy for some of the people that I have made it for.  So, how to tame it a bit?  I firmly believe the bastardization of the mai tai is borne out of booziness of the original formula. The idea may seem like heresy, but I have been pondering a) how to keep it as close to the original recipe as possible, and b) how to tame it just a bit.

So, in keeping with this I have thought about using a fuller flavor rum such as wray and newphew, but cutting the proof down to 60 or so.  I don't want to cut the curacao, or use a lower proof (and lower quality) brand.  You can't really do anything with lime juice proportions, or the orgeat.  

Or is there  lower proof rum already that will still give me the great flavor of rum that is a bit lower proof to make it a little less potent?

That's about it, just something to get a discussion going.  not a lot of traffic on the site lately, thought this might stir up the collective thought a bit.  Thanks!!!!

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Hello Ralph, I use to choose this recipe:

1 1/3 oz. Wray and Nephew

3/4 oz. Myer's

1/2 oz. Bols Curacao

1/2 oz. Monin Orgeat

1/2 oz. Fresh Lime juice

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Top 10 Contributor
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I suppose the booziness can depend on the drinker. The Mai Tai is basically 2 ounces of rum, with (in my recipe) 1/2 ounce of liqueur.

The recipe that I use is:

  • 2 ounces rum
  • 3/4 ounce lime juice
  • 1/2 ounce orange curacao
  • 1/2 ounce orgeat

I haven't settled on "a" rum (or rum blend) to use here, mostly I just try to get something with some nice rich flavor, often I have on hand an Appleton XO, to which I'll add a splash of one of Ed Hamilton's rums. For the orange curacao, I try to use Marie Brizard when possible.

If this seems too boozy for your guests, you would adjust the rum down to perhaps 1-1/2 ounces, but being careful to try to keep some good rich flavor going on. Perhaps using 1 ounce Appleton, 1/2 ounce Meyer's dark?


Top 10 Contributor
1,174 Posts

You can find Jeff Berry's current Mai Tai recipe that he is using at Latitude 29 here:

Latitude 29 Mai Tai

  • 1 ounce Rhum Clément VSOP Martinique rum
  • 1 ounce Appleton Estate Extra dark Jamaican rum
  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 ounce orange Curacao
  • 1/2 ounce Latitude 29 Formula Orgeat
  • 1/4 ounce sugar syrup

Add at least 2 cups of crushed ice, then shake well for around 10 seconds.
Pour unstrained into a double old-fashioned glass.
Sink your spent lime shell in the drink, and garnish with a mint sprig.


Top 25 Contributor
145 Posts

actually found a formula that has proven pretty successful, for starters I have scale (metrically!!) the total alcohol to 60ml (app 2 ounces).  I have been using 1 oz of appleton estates rum, .5 oz batavia arrak for that deep rum flavor, or sometimes wray and nephew overproof rum instead.  Then .5 oz curacoa, usually the pierre ferrand.  Seems to split the difference enough to get a good flavor and cut the booziness back a bit.  The orgeat is still a work in progress, have been making some different batches, some better than others.  I am debating getting a package of bitter almonds from amazon and adding it to the next trial batch.  Thanks for the recipes hints!! 

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