Inspired by the chilly weather we've been experiencing this week here in California, I decided to find a drink with psychologically warming effects, as opposed to the hot toddy's instantaneous comfort.
The mai tai is a classic California drink popularized during the
post-World War II restaurateur obsession with all things tropical and tiki.
has it Don the Beachcomber invented the drink sometime in the 1930s,
though it's also reported the drink was invented at a restaurant in
Oakland in the '40s. Who knows? While we sit here debating historical
minutiae, we're missing out on valuable drinking time.
The beauty of a
place like Scott's Restaurant and Bar in Costa Mesa is that its upscale clientele demands
a competent wait staff capable of mixing basic drinks. Too often, a thirsty patron will walk into a bar
looking for a classic such as a mai tai, or even a Manhattan, only to
be met with a blank stare from a slack-jawed barback. Scott's, on the other hand, competently pours
a sweet, tropical-themed drink packing a nice little wallop. Here's the
breakdown, which is open to experimentation:
1 part Malibu rum
1 part pineapple juice
1 part grenadine
1 part Myer's dark rum
the drink is usually garnished with a pineapple and cherry, Scott's
forgoes this last embelishment, instead pouring the drink into a
long-stemmed glass with a flared rim.
The result was a sweet
little sipper evoking images of palm trees and grass skirts. As
mentioned before, it will quickly put you on your arse. Despite the
drink's fruitiness, there is no room for the alcoholic in denial to
delude himself–the flavor of the booze is clearly present, as is its effect
immediate. So enjoy, be careful, and designate a driver, rummy.