Sunday, August 19, 2012

New Tiki Classics: the Stormy Mai Tai

The Stormy Mai Tai comes from Guiseppe Gonzales, who revealed the recipe in Paul Clarke's post about the bitters-heavy Trinidad Sour, a drink that I reviewed a while back. Both of these drinks invert the normal ratio of spirits to bitters, using 90-proof Angostura bitters as a base spirit and liquor as an accent.

Stormy Mai Tai
1.5 oz Angostura bitters
1 oz lime juice
0.75 oz orange liqueur
0.75 oz orgeat

Combine all ingredients, shake with ice, and strain into a chilled rocks glass full of cracked ice. Float 0.5 oz of light rum on top and garnish with a sprig of mint.

The nose is pleasantly funky from the float of Banks 5 Islands rum, with some background spices from the bitters. The sip begins with pleasantly nutty sweetness care of the orgeat and orange liqueur, then segues into a briefly sour interlude of lime, quickly transitioning to massive spice flavors of cinnamon and clove from the Angostura bitters. As the drink continues to dilute, the spice flavors become more integrated, spreading across the sip and joining up with hogo from the light rum float.

This may very well be my new favorite tiki drink. I think I'm going to have to stock up on Angostura bitters, because this is too delicious to not make again and again. While the flavors are massive, everything integrates beautifully, with tasty transitions that leave the finish pleasantly dry and more-ish. I'm a little bit sad that I didn't have any mint on hand to do this one up properly, but the choice of Banks 5 Island rum was a good choice, as it's hogo flavors mesh well with the Angostura bitters' spices. The combination of bitters and B.G. Reynolds' orgeat also give the drink an incredibly thick mouth feel, which is part of what makes this drink so great.


  1. OK - my resistance to this madness is gradually wearing down (and my bottle of Ango bitters languishes while I explore Fee Bros & Dr. Adam's more interesting flavor profiles in my Old Fashioneds). I have a mechanical question: how do you pour 1.5 ounces of Ango bitters? Do you pull out the plastic insert that lets you pour dashes? Can you put it back if you want to pour dashes once again in the future? What is the preferred method of pulling the plastic insert. Or do you stand there filling your jigger cup shaking it out dash by dash like a Tabasco mad sailor?

  2. Yeah, I have a bottle of bitters that I've taken the top off of. Definitely don't want to try it with the dasher as things will splash all over the place and Angostura bitters stain like nothing else.

  3. I usually use the dull side of a knife (tableware knife, not kitchen-sharp knife) and wedge it in between the dasher and the bottle, and kind of pop it out. Steady hands help to not splash it all over the place.

    Do you just do a small float of the 5 Island, say a quarter- or half-ounce? I don't see it listed in your ingredients. I've been all about the Mai Tais lately and this looks great.

    And Damon Dyer, formerly of Rum House, is the biggest Ango fan I know. He made me this (as far as I know) nameless drink consisting of equal parts (3/4 oz.) Domaine de Canton, joven mezcal, pineapple juice, and Angostura bitters. It shouldn't work, but it absolutely sings. (Though I wonder if I'm burning a hole in my stomach as I drink it.)

    1. Oops, yes, the light rum float is supposed to be 0.5 oz.

      That is also a moderately terrifying recipe, but I'm quite intrigued. I'll report back if I ever try making it.

    2. Completely unrelated to the original blog post, but I can't help but ask you a question.
      I had the pleasure of coming across Damon Dyer at The Rum House in 2011 and again in early 2012. I was only just able to venture back this past weekend and, obviously, had heard that Damon had left Rum House. I have reason to believe he is employed by Brooklyn Gin now, but would you happen to know if he has a regular bartending position elsewhere?

  4. If you don't have a few Ango stains here and there you're just not making your drinks right.