The Aku Aku is a refreshing cocktail that is a…
When you go to craft cocktail bars, you’re like to see a wide variety of infused spirits, along with fresh juices and house-made syrups. In tiki, we have a long history with fresh juices and house-made syrups, but the infused spirits are a bit less common. You could attribute this to the fact that rum is one of the most diverse and exciting categories of spirit in the world, which gives tiki-tenders a wide range of flavor profiles to pull from, but you could also attribute it to the fact that it’s simply more popular now than it used to be. And there is no reason that you can’t pull the craft cocktail trend of house-made infusions into the world of rum.
This mai tai riff is infused with chamomile tea. Call it a Chamo-mai Tai, if you prefer (we do, but it sounds better out loud than it looks written down!). We love sipping drinks that have been infused with tea and making our own. Tea is a readily available ingredient that is very easy to work with – which means you can make both small and large batches of infused spirits. We recommend a large batch for a party, but you can infuse enough just for one cocktail by using a short infusion period and a teabag.
To infuse the rum, you’ll need about 1 tea bag per cup of rum. We would recommend using 4 to infuse the whole bottle for a party. With one tea bag, one cup of rum will pick up a nice infusion in 45-60 minutes. Taste the rum periodically, just to ensure that your tea doesn’t need a longer infusion, as it can vary a bit from brand to brand. If you want to only make enough for one drink, 10-15 minutes with 2 oz of rum and 1 tea bag is all it will take.
The resulting rum is very floral and aromatic, giving a wonderful aroma to the cocktail. Since we only used white rum here (we opted for Flor de Cana, which we often use for infusions), we added a little bit of honey syrup to compliment the flowery tea flavor and give the drink a touch of additional sweetness. Lime juice, triple sec and orgeat round out the rest of the ingredient list. It’s a much lighter version of the original mai tai, compared to some that are made with richer, darker rums, and as a result it is very easy to drink. It’s light, refreshing and ideal for a hot afternoon.
Chamomile Mai Tai
2 oz chamomile-infused white rum
3/4 oz lime juice
1/2 oz triple sec
1/2 oz orgeat
1/4 oz honey syrup
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass or shaker. Fill with ice and shake vigorously strain into a tiki mug (or large rocks/mai tai glass) filled with crushed ice. Garnish with mint and chamomile flowers.