Saturday, July 15, 2023

My Kind of Mai Tai

Here's a little summer sipper for you if you worry you don't produce enough insulin for a more typical tiki drink. Because this one mostly contains gin. That's the Empress Mai Tai, featuring Empress 1908 gin, which, thanks to the addition of butterfly pea blossom, is strikingly blue-violet (if you're old enough, think Liz Taylor's eyes). Some of the other botanicals in addition to the pea blossom are ginger and rose petals and Fairmont empress tea, so it's a quite bright and floral gin, not a piny juniper bomb like some.

Which means it somehow plays well with rum. Lately I've been fond of that Appleton Estate you see in the picture, a solid cocktail rum in that you don't feel bad paying for it and not just sipping it. As for the necessary orgeat (a French almond syrup, originally made from barley and used as a shelf-stable substitute for milk) to make anything be mai-tai-esque, I've been using one from Small Hand Foods. Their website description helps: "Made from California almonds and a small proportion of apricot kernels to give it a distinct 'marzipan' flavor without the addition of extract. Organic cane sugar, orange flower water and biodynamic California brandy are added to result in a rich, flavorful syrup with delicate floral notes."

If you're going floral, might as well garnish with an edible flower, too, and our yard is so blanketed with volunteer nasturtiums this year, I figured I could sacrifice a couple for mixology. (Do check them very carefully for bugs, though. Lots of places to hide.)

The recipe comes from the Empress 1908 website, that even features boozy popsicles we might get around to freezing up as the temperature keeps rising. 

for two cocktails

3 oz Empress 1908 gin

1 oz dark rum (Appleton Estate suggested)

1 oz Triple sec (I subbed Citronge and that worked well)

1 oz orgeat (Small Hand pods suggested)

1 oz freshly squeezed lime juice

lime wheels and edible flowers for garnish

Shake all ingredients on ice. Strain into chilled rocks glasses over fresh ice (one big cube per glass is a good way to go to prevent too much dilution of the drink). Garnish with a lime wheel (nicely retro) and an edible flower.

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