Uai Tai – MxMo LXIV – Tiki
Portuguese version by Inês Vieira
English version by Tony Harion
Yes! It´s February! Probably the most expected month of the year here in Brazil!
First because it’s when Carnaval happens (and you know the year doesn’t really start before carnaval, right?!). On top of that, some genius declared February “international” Tiki Month around the cocktailosphere. As if it wasn´t enough, this month the Pegu Blog is hosting Mixology Monday LXIV and the theme is Tiki.
While in some parts February is a month to enjoy exotic drinks to warm up your winter, here in Brazil, where 30 ºC / 85 F means a cool day, tiki drinks come as a much deserved refreshment while going on a parade.
Contrary to what one might think, Carnaval is not all about Guilt Free Sex… It is much more than that. In fact, it has a lot more to do with the Tiki ideology than most people imagine. As with Tiki, Carnaval is a great way for you to transport your mind and soul to a “fantasy land like” place. It extracts you from the ordinary and the routine of day to day things, making you almost forget that it will end in another two days (or not…).
The tiki fever never really caught around here as it did in the US, but more and more people realize how well the Brazilian´s palate is designed for exotic drinks (and who´s isn’t?). To celebrate the growing interest in tiki mixology in our shores, our drink suggestion for MXMO had to be a tasty twist on the Mai Tai. You know, great drinks tend to inspire interesting variations.
Although it’s a bulletproof drink and much research has been done to perfect it, the big icon of tropical mixology is one of the most butchered and abused drinks of all times. Much due to guys like this, many people insist in getting the Mai Tai wrong. Fortunately, this intriguing rum drink has lots of history behind, and thanks to people like The Bum, information about it is now plenty. If you are not into that whole paternity discussion of Vic´s vs. Don´s Mai Tai and just need a clear and easy path to a great drink, watch a video or two to set the mood.
That said, let´s take a look at our variation on this classic:
Uai Tai (pronounced “Why Tai”)
1 oz Dark Jamaican rum
1 oz Oak aged cachaça
0.5 os Orange curaçao
0.5 oz Orgeat do Pará or Brazil nut Orgeat
0.75 oz lime juice (or half a lime muddled if you´re in for some Samba)
0.25 oz simple syrup
Method: Shake ingredients with ice (including the spent lime shell or pieces of lime). Strain into a glass over fresh crushed ice. Garnish with a sprig of mint or lemon balm/melissa as we did.
To make the Orgeat do Pará (as we call it) or Brazil nut orgeat, a good starting point is using Kaiser Penguin´s orgeat recipe changing the almonds for Brazil nuts. The orange flower and rose water can be omitted without much problem. MAKE. THIS. SYRUP. Just do it. It is delicious and adds a lot to many tiki style drinks.
Substituting the second rum in the blend for and aged cachaça brings out some lovely fresh, grassy and earthy notes to the Uai Tai, especially when combined with the Brazil nut orgeat. The essential oils of the nuts are a bit more round and abundant than those of the usual almonds, floating to the top of the drink carrying a lovely nutty aroma. Truly fantastic stuff.
Choosing a good cachaça is of course essential here. Opt for a cachaça from Minas Gerais with as much oak as you can find. Go for the top shelf stuff, you´ll thank me later. Usually we go for Aurea Custódio 5 years; cachaça João Andante is also a great choice if you, much like our host, enjoy a heated intellectual property discussion. (read here)
About the name: “Uai” is a very common expression used in Minas Gerais that can mean anything or absolutely nothing. To master its use you either need some cachaça straight from the alembic on site, or a doctorate in colloquial linguistics. Everything depends on the context and the tone.
Hopefully you give this one a spin. It´s very worth it!
Gotta go now, we have a parade to catch.