I'm having some friends over for dinner on Saturday & my boyfriend is making some Hawaiian food for all of us to enjoy. Shoyu chicken, sunomono, sticky rice, & coconut pudding to be exact. I'd like to have a cocktail for us to enjoy w/ the predinner munchies that might fall under the same theme...but I don't want to do some sickly-sweet pineapple & rum concoction. Does anyone have any ideas they could throw my way? Any & all help is much appreciated!
Go for the original Trader Vic's preparation of the Mai Tai. Unlike any other Mai Tai you may have had, it's a wonderfully balanced concoction, and certainly not as saccharine as the many impostors out there.
1 ounce each gold and dark rum
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
1/2 ounce orange curacao
1/4 ounce simple syrup
1/4 ounce orgeat syrup
2 cups crushed ice
Shake everything together in a shaker, pour into a double rocks glass, garnish with a sprig of mint, and a speared pineapple piece and maraschino cherry.
Another excellent possibility is the Royal Hawaiian, the signature drink of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel back in the 1950's.
1-1/2 oz gin
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
1 ounce pineapple juice
1/4 ounce orgeat
Shake well with ice, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
How about Sam Choy's Li Hing Mui Margarita (if you can find Li Hing Mui):
One and one half oz. Tequila (1.5 oz)
Three quarter oz. Cointreau (3/4 oz)
One half teaspoon Li Hing Mui Powder (1/2 teaspoon)
Add liquors to blender, squeeze fresh lemon & lime. Add Li Hing Mui powder and blend. Rim glass with lime and Li Hing Mui Powder. Garnish with pig tails. Lemon and sword.
You might not have enough time, but my friends LOVE pineapple infused vodka. Fill a glass jar with a cut up pineapple (or canned pineapple), and pour enough vodka in to cover everything. Leave in the fridge for at least a week, or until the pineapple becomes paler and the vodka becomes yellower. Delicious in cocktails, or even as shots. The pineapple juice actually dilutes the vodka and makes it a lot safer to drink by the shot than unadulterated vodka.
You could do this with canned lychee too, or do one infused vodka and add the juice of the other to make a not-too-sweet cocktail.
Let me second the Trader Vic's Mai Tai, which is less an authentic Hawaiian cocktail than a 50s-vintage Tiki bar classic. I bought an ice shaver specifically to make this cocktail, as shaved ice makes a huge difference (and arguably adds a real Hawaiian touch, given the popularity of shave-ice, aka snow cones, there). My version is slightly different from Grence's:
2 oz gold rum (I use Appleton Estate, which I believe Vic favored)
1/2 oz Curacao (shun the blue stuff, of course)
1/2 oz Orgeat syrup (an almond-flavored syrup, easy to find in better liquor stores)
1/4 oz simple syrup
Juice of 1 fresh lime (fresh juice is absolutely essential)
Stir the ingredients together and pour into a double old-fashioned glass packed with shaved ice. Add one spent lime shell and garnish with spring of fresh mint. A short straw makes this easier to drink.
Delicious and potent, and as previously noted, featuring a lovely balance of tart and sweet (I can't abide icky-sweet drinks).
re: MC Slim JB
The color of the curaçao is inconsequential, they both taste exactly the same. However, orange curaçao will make a handsome tawny color, while blue will look rather ugly.
The vintage of the Mai Tai is back a little further, namely 1944. It got its name just after Trader Vic himself made the cocktail for the first time. He was about to taste it, when the maitre'd told him his friends Ham and Carrie Guild from Tahiti were in the restaurant. He made a couple more of them and took them over to the Guilds. Carrie took a sip, her eyes lit up and she exclaimed "It's maitai! It's maitai roa a'e!" Vic looked at her and said "What the hell does that mean?" to which she replied "It means it's out of this world, the best!" He simply said "Fine, I'll call it the Mai Tai." The rest, as they say, is history.
re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester
Of course, like many cocktail origin stories, this history is contested. Don the Beachcomber claims to have invented the Mai Tai years earlier at his own bar, with rather different ingredients, though the most widely-made version is based on Vic's recipe.
Gotta say that color is not an inconsequential factor in cocktails for me. Keep that Windex-y looking stuff away from me! I can remember a time when frozen blue Margaritas were a party novelty, but I've since come to consider frozen Margaritas of any color an abomination.