As I spent part of last week mewling about, there’s nada mucho booze left up in this maison, and I’m trying to hold off replenishing the stock until after the holidays. (My liver may be titanium-grade, but my bank account contains only tumbling tumbleweeds.) However, that’s not the reason I invented the Ghetto Mai Tai. Like the Ghetto Julep, the Ghetto Mai Tai speaks not to my neurotic frivolity (although there is that) nor my proclivity towards the fabulously trashy (oh, don’t go there, Mizz Hmm!). It’s just about how some nights I enjoy achieving a mild pickling via a fun, supermarket ingredient-friendly, easy peasy glass of silly.
And isn’t it nice to know that a Mai Tai, despite its orgeat and crushed ice and other lovely, particular fixings, can be respectably faked with just dark rum, Tropicana and a couple shakes of bitters? That final ingredient is what makes all the difference. Left to mingle by themselves, dark rum (light, too, I believe) and OJ result in an oddly bifurcated flavor dichotomy of dark-rum-over-here, orange-syrupy-sweetness-over-there. It’s always struck me as weird, because on paper, orange and rum, which grew up practically down the street from one another, seem totes MFEO. But together in a glass, they are about as appealing as a vodka and Coke.
(That’s another one that needs to be studied. How can the world’s two most lowest-common-denominator beverages taste so off-putting together? It’s tantamount to the characters on “Friends” not liking Hootie and the Blowfish. Which I happen to know for a fact they do.)
The bitters add a lovely darkness to the flavors inside the glass. Insert funny end of blog post here. (Whoops, mild pickling has been achieved…)
The Ghetto Mai Tai
2 ounces Rhum Barbancourt
Tropicana orange juice, “No Pulp” (unless you like “Some Pulp” or “Lots of Pulp,” in which case, ick)
In true ghetto style, don’t bother shaking this concoction in an ice-filled shaker before straining it into your glass. Just combine all ingredients in an ice-filled highball, stir with coffee swizzle, index finger, teaspoon, what have you, and slurp up.
I prefer this with two dashes of the Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel-Aged Bitters. The PhoBlograpHusband prefers Angostura. The former lends a whiff of cinnamon to the glass, while the latter imparts licorice-like grace notes. You can do one dash of each kind if you can’t decide.