Two weeks ago we went out to a "fancy" seafood place in Manchester and Bill ordered a Mai Tai. He was met with a blank stare and a "let me see if the bartender can make this." Our server came back and informed us that a Mai Tai was impossible but that there was a very nice rum punch on the cocktail menu and suggested that maybe he would like to try that. I was puzzled by their response because from where we were sitting we could see the fully stocked bar. Even if the bartender didn't know how to make one and didn't have a book behind the counter, the recipe was only a Google search away. Why not make one?
Now Manchester, NH may not be a tropical paradise but in the summertime there's nothing like rum punch. I'm partial to Planter's Punch myself, preferably accompanied by a lobster roll overlooking the ocean, but I digress. I went to my cocktail books and the Mai Tai was surprisingly difficult to find. While many books made mention of the cocktail, very few had recipes. Rather it was referred to as a relic of bygone days, over-used, and now out of fashion.
by Gary Regan
It was originally created by Victor Bergeron of Trader VIc's in 1944 and has crossed the world and gone through countless variations, many of which bear very little resemblance to the original. Still, as with my Planter's Punch, many drinks are tied to our memories and we want them for the way they make us feel, as much as for the way they taste. Bill ordered the rum punch but it was not the same. I'm happy to report that this week another seafood restaurant in Concord was much more accommodating and he got his Mai Tai from the bartender. And now that we have a good starting point we'll see what we can whip up for him here at home. Everyone deserves a good cocktail, if they want one.