Todd Maul – The Mai Tai

Todd Maul cocktail photography

This drink is probably the best known and worst executed drink in the tiki universe. It is a drink that has a storied origin and colorful past but lets just settle on a recipe and move on. For me: it is a slight variation of Trader Vic’s recipe from his book “Trader Vic’s Bartender’s Guide Revised

1oz aged Agricola rhum
1oz Antigua rum (a round sweeter rum is needed)
1oz fresh lime juice
½ oz. orgeat
½ oz. orange clement schrubb (I like this because it’s a rum based orange)

Lets put the actual drink aside for a moment. How do you garnish this masterpiece at home? How do you make this drink pop at your deck party, or hell for just a sunny Saturday afternoon at home?  I like to think it is in the presentation that separates good from great. I like to think that every part of the drink should be accounted for, meaning: Ice, vessel, and garnish. Garnish is its entirety.

Lets look at the ice situation first. I like to serve my Mai tai’s on crushed ice. For me at home or in a bar, the best way to achieve this ice is with a vintage Ice-O-Mat. (You can find them on Esty). You want to pack the ice down well, and have it just overflow the mug.

I like tiki mugs for the “glass” –  the color, style and shape are really a reflection of how you see tiki. You can find a great selection on Amazon – Tiki Farm is a good source.

Now that we have the ice and the glass accounted for, how do we garnish this beverage? For me, I like a little surprise, a garnish that isn’t quite what it seems. I like to use two different cherries in concert and have them just taste different than your guest would expect. I like to start with the horrible Bing cherries, yes those bright red sugar bombs. Let’s lean into that bright red bomb. Be honest, it’s eye catching and going to make your drink pop, only problem, they are terrible. Solution, soak them in amaretto with some orange zest. Orgeat is an almond based syrup, this will tie the drink and garnish together.

The next cherry you want to use is a Luxardo maraschino cherry. They are excellent as is, but I like to manipulate them to give a “what the f&*k” note to the drink. I like to soak them in bitters and lime husk. It makes something that your guest thinks is sweet into bitter. The contrast of flavors, sweet and bitter, is further marked esthetically by the different shades of the cherries.

We are going to use a wooden skewer to hold the cherries. I like the combo of Bing, Luxardo, Bing, but this is really up to how you want to see tiki.  After this, we need a way to keep this garnish above the ice. I use an 8th of a lime husk, (remove the meat of the fruit with a knife) use the triangle husk as a “stopper”  and put it at the bottom of the cherry combo.

This husk will keep the skewer/garnish above the drink, in an eye-catching fashion.  You can use fresh mint to create a dry aroma around the top of the drink, again, lean into the esthetic and make it yours.

(Note for the real drink nerds: I like to soak my skewers in rum or orange schrubb, it gives off a aromatic that the drinker can’t figure out where it is coming from.)

toddmaul

Todd Maul is Co-Founder of Cafe ArtScience in Cambridge, MA and an amazing mixologist who has revolutionized the way we see cocktails.

Todd Maul – Valentine’s Day Nectar

I think a lot of people overthink Valentines Day, fancy this or surprise that. I think it is at its core a day to say “I don’t take you for granted”.  Going out to dinner or staying home, simply just saying thanks for being part of my life is going to hold up better than stuff that ends up in a drawer or in a box in the attic.

This leads me to the drink that I would have, as it is a winter wonderland here in the Northeast – I would serve a Frank Sullivan. This classic drink, the Frank Sullivan, does what it is intended to do very well. It is a riff on the Corps Reviver #2 but with cognac. It does everything that a Side Car is supposed to do but better. It says thanks for understanding and drinking the better beverage.

If you are sitting by a fire with your best guy/gal I would strongly suggest listening to Django Reinhardt.

biography-of-django-reinhardt-part-iii-l-xufiqs

He was a very talented gypsy jazz guitar player. He played before amplification, and was a big influence on Charlie Christian and Les Paul. He played with a sense of purpose and quiet beauty. Hopefully, these will be the words used at the end of your Valentine evening.

Frank Sullivan

1oz congac
1oz luxardo triplum
1oz blonde lillet
1oz lemon juice

Shake and strain into a large coupe glass – garnish with lemon twist.

toddmaul
Todd Maul is Co-Founder of Cafe ArtScience in Cambridge, MA and an amazing mixologist who has revolutionized the way we see cocktails.

Todd Maul – Pairing Holiday Tunes and Cocktails

So, It’s the holiday season. For many its holiday party time and the cheer flows and the music plays. I figure I would give you a bit of help in the holiday music and drink category. For me being born in the late 60’s my Mom and Dad listened to a great deal of early 60’s music especially around the holidays.  Several such records / discs that hold a special place in my heart are:

  1. Ray Conniff’s “We Wish You A Merry Christmas”
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To me this is perfectly paired with an aged rum. In particular I would suggest: El Dorado 12. Demerara rum that ages beautifully. The smoothness of the rum with go magnificently with the camp of the music. I would suggest listening and drinking this in a smoking jacket by the fire.

2. My next music selection is Robert Goulet’s “Wonderful World of Christmas”

robert

To me this is perfectly paired with a bone dry Beefeater Martini. Preferably stirred and served in a chilled martini glass.  I would suggest the drink be made 16 to one with dry vermouth and a dash of orange bitters. The most important part is that the lemon twist is misted across the the top of the drink. You want to hold your channel knife at a 45% angle and aim the opening of the knife toward the surface of the beverage – to the point that you can see the top of the drink actually move.

I suggest you drink this wearing a madman suit smoking a pipe after building a snowman.

3. Lastly I would suggest Burl Ives “the Christmas Collections”

burl

To me this is best paired with eggnog.  Homemade eggnog made with both rum and cognac. I recommend that you whip both the egg whites and the egg yokes. You want to make sure the cinnamon content is in balance so that the cream and the dryness of the spice work in tandem.

I would suggest drinking this while watching Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer in Black and white, while wearing a black turtleneck.

toddmaul

Todd Maul is Co-Founder of Cafe ArtScience in Cambridge, MA and an amazing mixologist who has revolutionized the way we see cocktails.

Todd Maul – Fall Daquiri

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We have all had a daiquiri rum, lime and sugar. It is one of my favorite drinks. The Daiquiri is a simple yet complex drink and on a hot day what else are you going to drink? and on a cold day…. why not.

It is a magical beverage brought into the American consciousness as an aside from  the after effects of the Spanish-American War. The beverage has morphed from citrus and sugar in rum  to cut the rum harsh flavor to the “Army Navy Daiquiri” to the Papa Doble aka Hemingway daiquiri made famous at the El Floridity in Havana, to any number of other variations.

I have made several variations in my time behind the bar. The latest is one anyone can make in their home.

The Fall Daiquiri 

2oz Dos Maderas PX rum
1oz Clement sirop De Canne
1/2oz lime juice (we clarify the lime at CAS but it is not necessary to enjoy this drink. It stands up to regular lime.)

Todd Maul

Todd Maul is Co-Founder of Cafe ArtScience in Cambridge, MA and an amazing mixologist who has revolutionized the way we see cocktails.