My first bartending job was at a popular Spanish tapas restaurant in Berkeley, CA. We took pride in our cocktails. Our bar manager put together a great list, always going above and beyond to assure we had the freshest ingredients on hand. I can confidently say that we had, at the time, some of the best margaritas, mojitos, and caipirinhas in town. We did not, however, make very many mai tais. In fact, the first time a ticket came through for this classic rum-based cocktail, I frantically searched through the several recipe books we kept behind the bar. Each book had a different recipe, all calling for some combination of rum, grenadine, and tropical juices. None of which, unfortunately, were the least bit accurate.
Sadly, this trend still continues today. The mai tai is misinterpreted more than most. My intent is to share this classic version that I’ve enjoyed over the years. This iconic tiki drink is meant to highlight the rum, rather than syrups and juices. If you can’t find Jamaican rum and/or rhum agricole, substitute a premium aged rum of choice. Needless to say, I still feel bad for the diner that ended up with my unenthusiastic pineapple umbrella medley.
If you cook, bake, or are like me and enjoy making cocktails at home, you’re likely to squeeze a ton of citrus. Being the gadget nerd that I am, I’m constantly on the lookout for cool new tools for the kitchen. While the Breville electric citrus press is my favorite for large batches, it hardly beats the satisfaction of hand-juicing your own using one of these charming designs.
Call it cliché but my mom is obsessed with roses. Obsessed. I even recently learned that when I was born she demanded there be a bouquet of roses by her side. With little response (good job Dad) she finally took it upon herself, while in labor, to pick some from the local rose garden! That being said, when creating a Mother’s Day brunch cocktail, I had one required ingredient . . . rose. This cocktail is a combination of two classic cocktails, the Clover Club and the Ramos Fizz. It is beautifully light and festively pink. Perfect for brunch and perfect for mom.
Combine sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a simmer and then remove from heat and let cool completely (approximately 30 minutes) before adding the raspberries. I like to combine the raspberries once the syrup has cooled because you get a bright, fresh flavor, rather than a cooked, jammy flavor.
Once you’ve added the raspberries to the saucepan with the syrup, use a potato masher to crush them to a pulp. If you don’t have a masher you can use a large spoon or the bottom of a glass. Pour the resulting mixture through a fine mesh strainer to remove the pulp.
To make the cocktail
Add the egg white to your shaker and shake for 10 seconds without ice or any other ingredients. This will help you to create the lovely light foam that gives this drink its silky texture. Once you’ve agitated the egg white, fill your shaker with the remaining ingredients, except for the sparkling water. Add ice and shake vigorously for a full 30 seconds.
Once thoroughly shaken, add ice and the sparkling water to your glass and double-strain the shaker contents overtop. I like adding the sparkling water to the bottom of the glass, pouring overtop, so that the bubbles incorporate throughout the drink without stirring. Garnish with a rose petal and straw.
I love roses. I have a weakness for white chocolate. And I adore strawberries. Combine the three components into one glorious cake and honestly, life really doesn’t get any sweeter. And top it all off with a bed of fragrant rose petals? Only Joy would think of something so exceptional. Head on over to her blog for the full recipe!
Erica and I are totally obsessed with eggs and not so coincidentally so is our mom, who is the most supportive mom any two girls could ask for! So as a small– minuscule– token of my appreciation, I always make sure to include an egg dish in our Mother’s Day brunch tradition. Baking eggs are a great way to entertain for brunch without having to stand over the stove flipping eggs, but you just need to keep a watchful eye on the eggs as they can overcook quickly. Normally, I bake them in ramekins, but for a special occasion like Mother’s Day I like to make them in mini tart shells and add a heart-shaped parmesan crisp!