MxMo LX: The Bitter Mai Tai

Summer is rapidly winding down – I blinked and the days are already getting shorter.  In the Bay Area, its fully into the gloom and chill of Fog-ust.  Meanwhile, back East where I’m vacationing, muggy heat is doing battle with torrential downpours.   In either case, getting away to a tropical island under sunny, blue skies sounds just about right.  Or the liquid equivalent –  a tiki cocktail.

I’ve been wanting for a while to try this contemporary twist on the classic mai tai.   Its intense color just grabs your attention – its such a bright deep…pink.  Thankfully, the “Come to Your Senses!” theme for this month’s Mixology Monday provided the inspiration.  As host David Solmonson at 12 Bottle Bar describes it:

 We all know that cocktails are supposed to taste good, and for this event, we’re going to take that as a given.  What we’re looking for, instead, are drinks that truly excite one or more of the other senses: touch, smell, sight, or even hearing.  Of course, it you want to get scientific about it – and why wouldn’t you – there are even more sensations which can be played with (echolocation, anyone?)

In addition to the intense hue, it has a nice spicy citrus aroma and the large handful of mint garnish is always welcome.  The flavor is definitely different – you can pick up the mai tai, but the bitter Campari is definitely playing equal billing.   It adds a really nice lean complexity to a tropical drink.

Bitter Mai Tai

1 ½ oz. Campari
¾ oz. Jamaican rum (Smith & Cross)
1 oz. lime juice
¾ oz. orgeat
½ oz. curacao

Shake & strain into double Old Fashioned over crushed ice.  Garnish with mint sprig.

Recipe courtesy of Jeremy Ortel, Dram via Imbibe.