Friday, 15 April 2011

Two 'Tiki' Classics: The Mai Tai & The Zombie

I love my rum, and in particular, rum based cocktails. The Daiquiri, Mojito and rum Old Fashioned are some of my all time favourites.  But as all rum drinkers will tell you, you can't go past 2 of arguably the most famous 'Tiki' cocktails of all time, the Mai Tai and the Zombie.

For those who don't know what i mean when i say 'tiki', I'm referring to a style of bar which became huge in the US during the 1930s. Tiki bars were themed bars which were based around a tropical style. These bars usually contained palm trees, torches and were commonly located near beaches. The very first tiki bar was opened in Los Angeles in 1933 named, Don the Beachcomber. It's owner was a man who today is known as the 'father of tiki', Donn Beach (a.k.a Ernestt Gantt, who changed his name to Donn Beach in 1937). Tiki bars were also famous for tiki cocktails, which were rum based, tropical and fruity cocktails which were often served in things like coconut shells. Tiki bars were huge mainly throughout America, but also all over the world for the next 30 years, but then fell out of style. However the tiki theme has been revived in the last 15 years with popular tiki cocktails finding there way back on to drinks menus.

As the success of Donn Beach's bars grew, so did the number of other bar owners trying to take the reigns as one of the top bars in America. One of Beach's main rivals was bar owner, Victor J Bergeron. Bergeron was the founder of the bar and restaurant chain, Trader Vic's (which started in Oakland, California). Bergeron claimed to create the first Mai Tai at his bar in 1944, however Donn Beach claims to have invented the first Mai Tai at his establishment in 1934. There is no proof who was first, but Beach's version of the cocktail is a little different to Bergeron's.  As I'm writing this blog, i decided to google the Mai Tai just to see how many different variations there are, and without searching around for to long, i came across at least 20 different ways of serving this drink and I'm sure there are more out there. So I'll go over the way i personally like to serve my Mai Tai's.
Start with a shaker an add 15ml white rum (Bacardi superior is usually my white rum of choice), 15ml Amaretto (almond liqueur), 15ml Cointreau, 15ml dark rum (again, Bacardi 8yo is my dark rum) the juice of half a lime and a dash of sugar syrup and about 30ml - 45ml of pineapple juice. Add ice and shake. Now... you don't need to shake your Mai Tai's, you can quite easily build them over ice. However, shaking this mixture with the pineapple juice gives the cocktail a nice creamy foam when you pour it into your glass. Once your done shaking, simple pour it into your glass. One of the rules with tiki cocktails is that you need to garnish your drinks with as much fruit and decoration as you can, so go nuts with you garnish, don't hold back!

Donn Beach may have 'claimed' to create the Mai Tai in 1934, but we know he definitely did create the Zombie. The Zombie is very similar to the Mai Tai. This cocktail contains white rum, gold rum, dark rum, apricot brandy, pineapple juice and papaya juice (or orange juice if papaya is hard to source). Donn Beach created this drink in 1939 and launched and served it at the New York world fair. Since then, many variations have also been created for the Zombie. When serving a zombie i prefer to build the cocktail in a tall glass. Start with 15ml Bacardi Superior, 15ml Bacardi gold, 15ml Bacardi 8yo and 15ml apricot brandy. I find a dash of mango puree' and passion fruit pulp works great with this drink too. Next, add ice and top up with pineapple juice and orange juice. Give it a bit of a stir then finally pour a dash of grenadine down the centre of the drink and watch it sink to the bottom.  Like the Mai Tai, don't hold back on you garnishes.

These are top drinks to serve up at parties. Especially poolside in the summer. Very tropical and are designed to be lots of fun. If your a rum drinker like i am, you'll have a lot of fun making your own versions of the Mai Tai and the Zombie. Enjoy!!!

The Mai Tai:
In a shaker,
15ml White Rum
15ml Dark Rum
15ml Cointreau
15ml Amaretto
Dash of Lime Juice
Dash of Sugar Syrup
30ml - 45ml Pineapple Juice
Add Ice
Shake and Pour into glass

The Zombie:
In a Tall glass,
15ml Bacardi Superior
15ml Bacardi Gold
15ml Bacardi 8yo
15ml Apricot Brandy
Dash of Mango Puree
Dash of Passion fruit Pulp
Add ice and stir together
Top up with Pineapple juice and Orange Juice
Sink a dash of Grenadine

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