Random Appetites: Trader Vic’s Mai Tai


And back to the booze! Well, sort of…

While at Dragon*Con 2008 Todd and I had dinner at Trader Vic’s. Let me tell you: it was phenomenal! What we had:

Shared Appetizer: Cosmo Tidbits (BBQ Spareribs, Cha Sui pork, Crab rangoon and crispy prawns)
Shared Starter: Bongo Bongo Soup
Todd’s Entree: 20oz Ribeye
Jenn’s Entree: Pancetta Scallop Skewers
Todd’s Dessert: Banana Fritters
Jenn’s Dessert: Trio of Creme Brulee (mai tai, coffee, and coconut)

Holy Cats! but that was a good supper! There really wasn’t anything that we didn’t like and we both took some of our dinner back up to the room because it was just a lot of food. There was only one little thing that struck me as odd: The Cosmo Tidbits appetizer is meant for 2 and while it is 12 pieces, there’s 3 of each thing. Now, we’re really good at sharing, lol, but it seems like it would make a lot more sense (and this goes for a lot of shared dishes where there’s a definite quantity) to have even numbers of each item to make it that much simpler to split. But it’s a minor complaint and certainly didn’t impact the experience. And I totally need to find or create a recipe for the Bongo Bongo soup.

And, of course, there was drinking. Again, if you’ve never been there: the drink menu alone is massive! So many options that by the time I read through it I had totally forgotten what I’d read at the beginning! Todd ordered one of the various punches (I’m having trouble remembering which one he went with) and I had to order the special of the house: a Mai Tai. I wasn’t really sure I’d like the Mai Tai, so I also ordered (we only had to take the elevator to the room, not like I was driving anywhere!) a Samoan Fog Cutter. Wouldn’t you know it: I like the Mai Tai best! Todd and I worked on the Fog Cutter together (it was a big drink, very citrusy).

Now, I have three different bar books in front of me and none of them have the exact same recipe for a Mai Tai. Trader Vic’s is where the drink started so I trust them–wouldn’t you?

The Original Mai Tai

2 oz. 17-year old J Wray Nephew Jamaican Rum
1/2 oz. French Garnier Orgeat
1/2 oz. Holland Dekueper Orange Curacao
1/4 oz. Trader Vic’s Rock Candy Syrup
Juice of 1 large lime

Hand shake and garnish with half of the lime shell inside the drink and float a sprig of fresh mint at the edge of the glass.

Pretty specific ingredients there but I think there’s some wiggle room. The key seems to be that the rum be a golden Jamaican variety and the Orgeat syrup. Since the syrup might be hard to find, I did find a great recipe for making it at home (that I haven’t tried yet, but plan to). In fact, the entire “Art of Drink” site is phenomenal for anyone interested in cocktails and mixology.

Remember how I said the entire dinner at Trader Vic’s was phenomenal? Well, as dinner was nearing an end I asked our waiter (I wish I could remember his name! Kai? something like that…) about purchasing the glass that my Mai Tai came in: it was the 60th Anniversary glass with a quote and the original recipe on it. Well, turns out they no longer stock those for purchase but he transferred what was left of my drink to a regular glass, washed mine out and wrapped it up for me! Also, since there was so much of the Fog Cutter left, he asked if we were staying at the hotel and then put the majority of the drink in a plastic logo-cup so I could finish it later.

Alas, the porter managed to break my Mai Tai glass as we were leaving the hotel. Of the 5 glasses in the bag, that was not only the best wrapped on but the only one to break. Just my luck. The hotel made good on it, though, and in a couple of weeks I had my replacement so all was once again as it should be. Anyone want to take bets on how long it’s going to take me to frame and hang the cocktail art I bought at Dragon*Con?