The SF Chronicle has always had a talent for tiki spotting. Back in 1941 Herb Caen gushed over the original Trader Vic’s, proclaiming that “The best restaurant in San Francisco is in Oakland.” The brand would continue to grow over the 50’s and 60’s, with 25 additional restaurants opening around the world. Tiki’s fortunes faded in the 70’s, reaching something of a low point in 1989 when Donald Trump made the decision to close the Trader Vic’s at his newly purchased Plaza hotel because it had “gotten tacky.”
Well the Chronicle wasn’t convinced, doing their part to reignite the tiki flame by sharing the original Mai Tai recipe in 2004, even calling for the specific blend of rums Victor Bergeron insisted on in his bars.
“If you know what to ask for, the best Mai Tais are still made by Trader Vic's bartenders. Beware that if you just ask for a Mai Tai, they'll make it using a pre-bottled mix, and the drink will be lighter and sweeter, with less cherry flavor and a thinner texture. You want what they call the Original Mai Tai, which is: 3/4 ounce fresh lime juice, 3/4 ounce Orange Curacao, 3/4 ounce Orgeat syrup, 1 ounce Coruba Dark Jamaican rum, 1 ounce dark Lemon Hart & Son Demerara Rum from Guyana, and pineapple chunk, maraschino cherry and mint for garnish.
Fill a wide-mouthed glass with crushed ice. Squeeze the juice from the lime halves. Reserve one squeezed lime half. Pour in the lime juice, Orange Curacao and the orgeat syrup. Pour in the Jamaican rum, followed by the Guyana rum. Dump the contents of the glass into a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously for 30 seconds. Pour everything back into the glass, and garnish with a chunk of pineapple and a maraschino cherry skewered on a swizzle stick. Drop in the squeezed lime half and add a sprig of mint.”
The entire article has been preserved on SF Gate.
Find Lemon Hart and Coruba Rum in the shop and online at www.babliquor.com