Sunday, April 15, 2012

Tiki Classics: the Q.B. Cooler

This cocktail is one of the creations of Don the Beachcomber and plays an important role in the Eternal Mai Tai Controversy. Simply put, Don claimed that Trader Vic's Mai Tai was a copy of Don's Q.B. Cooler. If you want the full story, pick up a copy of Beachbum Berry Remixed, in which the Bum lays out all the available evidence.

Q.B. Cooler
1 oz orange juice
0.5 oz lime juice
0.5 oz honey syrup
0.25 oz falernum
1 oz soda water
1 oz gold Jamaican rum
1 oz light Puerto Rican rum
0.5 oz Demerara rum
2 dashes Angostura bitters
0.25 tsp ginger syrup

Combine all ingredients with a handful of crushed ice. Blend for 5 seconds, then pour unstrained into a double old fashioned glass with more crushed ice. To be perfectly authentic, garnish the drink with several mint sprigs.

The sip leads off with rich rum flavors augmented by the Angostura bitters. Fruit flavors and the ginger syrup follow, leading into the falernum spiciness and honey sweetness, then finishing with the return of the rum and bitters. If I really squint, I can kind of see how you might confuse this with a mai tai, but it's not a completely obvious connection. The lime and Jamaican rum are both there. Falernum has almonds in it, which could in a sense sub for the mai tai's orgeat. There's orange juice instead of orange liqueur. The sharper flavors of the ginger syrup and falernum might be analogous to the agricultural notes of rhum agricole. But even if this was the inspiration for the Mai Tai, Trader Vic's creation is superior, both in terms of results and ease of construction (the Q.B. is pretty fiddly, even for a tiki drink). So while this is definitely solid, it's entirely warranted that the Mai Tai outshone it.

No comments:

Post a Comment