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The original Mai Tai was created in a tiki restaurant in California in 1944 by Victor Jules Bergeron, better known as Trader Vic. His goal was to create a new exotic rum drink inspired by the simplicity and success of the daiquiri and manhattan.
Though the Mai Tai recipe has been adapted throughout the years, the traditional recipe is a great combination of tropical flavors that we have recreated in our ShakaCan RTS Mai Tai, which is a blend of Something Something Rum Blend XXV, our own bitter Curacao orange distillate, clarified lime juice, bitter almond extract, and sugar.
To recreate the original recipe, we chose a rum by a local Amsterdam supplier, which was actually inspired by a blend Trader Vic used in his recipe. Something Something Rum Blend XXV is a superb blend of rums from Martinique, Guadeloupe, Jamaica, and Guyana.
Though the original recipe used Orange Curacao made from bitter oranges from the Island of Curacao, we chose to create our own orange distillate. In the 1940s, Orange Curacao was higher in the bitter orange note than what we have available today, so it was important for us to maintain the same flavor for the overall taste.
We approached a local Amsterdam distillery and combined dry Curacao Bitter Orange zests and fresh Navel Oranges, resulting in an orange distillate with the same signature bitter orange note that would have been a signature of Orange Curacao used by Trader Vic in the 1940s.
Because fresh lime juice is critical in the recipe, we made sure to source fresh limes from InStock, an Amsterdam company that reduces food waste by rescuing food surplus from stores and markets. Once squeezed, the lime juice is then clarified and passed through a UV-C pasteurization unit.
In order to round out the recipe and avoid nut allergy limitations, we chose to use bitter almond extract as the base of our Orgeat Syrup. The bitter almond extract is the same almond compound found in almonds but is derived from apricot kernels, which carries no major nut allergies.
Enjoy the ShakaCan RTS Mai Tai in either a lowball/old-fashioned cocktail glass or highball/tiki cocktail glass over ice (crushed ice if available) and garnish with fresh mint leaves.
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