Home Sea Fare Summer with a Twist

Summer with a Twist

by James O. Fraioli
Mai Tai
Photo by Union Square & Co.

Toast to breezy, balmy July with an ice cold, summery Mai Tai cocktail that mixes the rum-based drink’s iconic tropical flavors with a few fresh additions.

By James O. Fraioli /Photo by Union Square & Co.

Enjoying an ice cold Mai Tai (meaning “out of this world” in Tahitian) is a refreshing escape during our warm summer months. One sip and you’ll easily find yourself basking on an island or sandy beach. The iconic blend of rum, lime, and orgeat (a sweet almond syrup with hints of orange flower water) perfectly complements the sunny, breezy July conditions we’re having on the water. This version, which includes a splash of curacao and an orange-cherry topper, is from the cocktail book Tiki with a Twist by Montauk native Lynn Calvo, whom I had the pleasure of working with on this fun-filled project.

For anyone interested in cocktail history, Ernest Gantt, who spent time with his rum-running grandfather in Haiti and Cuba, helped launch the tiki culture by opening Don the Beachcomber Cafe in Hollywood, California. When Victor Bergeron came across Don the Beachcomber, he realized Gantt’s idea had legs. Bergeron—later known as Trader Vic—spread the tiki vibe further by founding the famous Trader Vic’s chain. Both men claim credit for inventing the Mai Tai.

As you cruise along this month, enjoy the drink’s tropical flavors that will invigorate your senses, making each moment more vibrant. Whether you’re anchoring in a serene cove in the San Juan Islands or gliding over sparkling waves across Puget Sound, this Mai Tai will elevate your boating experience to a delightful, unforgettable time. (Do remember to keep that experience safe and fun for all by drinking responsibly!)

The Summer Mai Tai

Serves 1

1 ounce light rum
½ ounce curacao
½ ounce orgeat
½ ounce fresh lime juice
1 ounce dark rum
1 orange wheel, for garnish
1 maraschino cherry, for garnish

Add ice to a cocktail shaker, and add the light rum, curacao, orgeat, and lime juice. Shake for about 10 seconds, then strain into a large rocks glass filled with crushed ice. Float the dark rum on top and garnish with the orange slice and maraschino cherry.

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