You know that the Mai Tai is my favorite drink, so I won't go into that again. Instead, I want to tell you about a variation of the Mai Tai I just discovered — that doesn't have any rum in it.
"But Professor," I hear you crying. "Rum is the cornerstone of the Mai Tai! How can you make it without rum?"
That's a good question. In this case, the answer is: you make it with Bols Genever Gin and rye whiskey. Sounds crazy, I know. But it works! Here's the recipe:
Recipe by Elizabeth McElligott and Jacob Grier
Shake with ice:
1 oz Bols Genever
1 oz rye whiskey
1/2 oz Combier
3/4 oz orgeat
1 oz lime juice
Strain and serve on the rocks or straight up. (I recommend on the rocks.)
At first sip, the flavor is reminiscent of a less sweet Mai Tai. But then the other flavors start to poke their heads up. There's a malty flavor, sort of like cereal grain. And there's also the spice of the rye, but it's subtle. It's definitely not rum, but it's not completely different from rum either.
Genever is the original gin, made in Holland centuries ago and only recently resurrected. It has a milder, slightly sweeter flavor than London Dry gin. It reminds me a little of fresh bread, while still maintaining the juniper and botanical flavors we typically associate with gin. A very interesting spirit.
It turns out that the Genever marries very well with the rye. (I used Rittenhouse 100-proof.) This kinda makes sense, as one of the grains Genever is made from is rye, along with corn and wheat. It's not a combination I'd ever have thought of — especially not as a substitute for rum — but it works.
Combier is a high-end triple sec. If you don't have it you can substitute Cointreau or a good, basic triple sec (like Bols). There's really no substitute for orgeat in this recipe, so get some.
A very tasty drink. I'll be making this one again.