I don’t know what it is, but there is something about Tiki that makes my heart sing. Maybe it’s the creative glassware, maybe it’s the garnishes, or maybe it is the rum – all I know is that every time I have a well made (and properly adorned) Tiki cocktail I’m immediately whisked away to a tropical island where the sun is shining and all my day-to-day problems seem to melt away. Like I said, maybe it’s the rum.
This cocktail is a rift on a classic Mai Tai, but with a very cherry twist (I have a bit of a long standing cherry obsession going on). The recipe follows the structure of the Mai Tai from Chicago’s Hale Kahiki Tiki Lounge, but adds a few fresh cherries and a splash of Luxardo Sangue Morlacco, one of my favorite modifiers.
The Sangue Morlacco has such a velvety cherry flavor – it is a macerated liqueur so it maintains a nice fresh cherry taste, which I love since it’s nearly impossible to get cherries year round. It’s such an easy way to add a surprising flavor to cocktails. This product is made from the same cherries as the Luxardo Cocktail Cherries, so if you’re a fan, you’re going to love this liqueur!!
The orgeat on the other hand, is either expensive or a pain to make – but it’s worth it. There are no substitutions for orgeat – it adds a level of richness and nutty complexity to every drink it touches.
I really love this cocktail, and I had such a fun time styling it. The glass is a vintage find (a planter bookend, perhaps?) but one of my most treasured tiki vessels.
Cherry Mai Tai
Modified by Gastronomista
1/2 oz white rum
1/2 oz gold rum
1/2 oz blended rum
1/2 oz aged blended rum
1/2 oz Luxardo Triplum Triple Sec
1/2 oz Luxardo Sangue Morlacco
1 oz lime juice
Shake with ice and strain into a tropical vessel. Top with crushed ice, and garnish with orchids, pineapple leaves, and three Luxardo cocktail cherries.
1 Cup Almonds
1 Cup Water
1 Cup Sugar
In a food processor, pulse almonds until coarsely ground. In a pot, boil sugar, water and almonds until fully mixed. Line a sieve with cheese cloth and place over a large bowl. Pour the almond mixture into the cheesecloth and let sit. Occasionally squeeze the cheese cloth to extract more of the syrup. Transfer the syrup to a non-reactive container and store in the refrigerator.