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.