Tiki Drink: Hot Buttered Mai Tai

Well, it is Mixology Monday time again, folks! That is our monthly round up of cocktail bloggers, posting in harmony on a single theme. This month’s festivities are being hosted by Nancy, The Backyard Bartender. The theme that she has decreed for us is, “Some Like it Hot!”

Now, I’m not much of a hot alcoholic beverage guy, at least not yet. (We’ll see after I read everybody’s posts) But as it happens, the announcement for this month’s MxMo came across my reader less than an hour after I had discovered the perfect drink for me for this month’s entry.

See, this is the last post I’ll be putting up during Tiki Month 2011, my annual month-long exploration of all things Tiki. Tiki drinks are hardly a bastion of hot beverages, tending more to the delicate chill of crushed ice. so it was fortuitous indeed, perhaps fated, that I find this idea.

One of the classic hot drinks, perhaps the classic hot drink, is the Hot Buttered Rum, and I’m sure we’ll see a few of these this Mixology Monday. One of the classic Tiki drinks, perhaps the classic Tiki drink, is the Mai Tai. The Mai Tai is made with rum. Hmmm.

Let’s Tiki, an excellent Tiki blog I just discovered this month, had a post late last year producing this cosmic convergence, the Hot Buttered Mai Tai. He even produced a good video of the process for making it, but since I’m stealing his drink for my MxMo post, I’ll make you have to visit his blog to see it.

Like any good Tiki drink, this one is a little complicated to make and requires a two step process. First, you have to whip up a batch of the mix. Simply combine 4 tablespoons of softened butter with 1/4 teaspoon of almond extract. Then stir in 2 tablespoons of orange zest. This is going on all the zest you can get from a single large orange. (Remember when zesting to not abrade the orange too deeply. Orange zest is yummy, the orange pith which dwells a millimeter deeper is not.) This is enough to make four Hot Buttered Mai Tais. I don’t know for sure, but if you keep it sealed in plastic wrap in single serving sized dollops, it should keep a good while.

When you are ready to make your drink, here’s the recipe.

HOT BUTTERED MAI TAI

  • 2 oz. good dark rum
  • 1 tbsp. mix
  • 2 tsp. honey (to taste)
  • hot water

Combine rum and mix in a small coffee cup. Add a small amount of hot water and stir to dissolve. Add honey to taste.

The resulting drink is interesting. It combines the basic Mai Tai taste elements, but from often different directions. It is pretty good, but is very easy to screw up as well.

First, don’t scrimp on the quality of the rum. Just because this is a hot drink doesn’t mean you can get away with any old rum.
I know.
I tried.
Just as with a regular Mai Tai, you need a rich, full-bodied dark rum, or even a blend of rums. (Rum blending for Mai Tais can lead you down the rabbit hole of obsession, so be careful). I tried this first with Mount Gay Eclipse, a perfectly serviceable dark rum which I’d never use in a regular Mai Tai, to totally bland results.

The other way you can ruin this drink is too much hot water. Add a small amount at a time. And try to find the smallest Tiki vessel you can to mix it in. Let your mix get to room temp before you make the drink and you won’t need much to dissolve it and the honey. Then add a bit more for heat and to taste.

The Hot Buttered Mai Tai is a worthy last drink for Tiki Month, and a fun challenge to make with a tasty result. It won’t replace the classic in my repertoire, but I’ll keep it in my quiver for the right occasion. Now, head back to Nancy’s place and check out every one else’s hot drinks. Some like it hot, maybe you will too!

That’s it for Tiki Month. As usual, I have about thirty posts still in my draft queue that I just couldn’t get to. I may hit a few throughout the year, and the rest will have to wait for Tiki Month 2012! It’s been a gas, thanks for all the readers and the comments. Stick around as we return next month to our usual classic frivolity!

About the author

Doug

I am 48 years old, married with two young daughters. My interests are tennis, reading, computers, politics, and of course cocktails. I run a murder mystery party business that caters to both corporate and private events, Killing Time, murder consultants.

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