Friday, October 1, 2010

Michigan Mai-Tai

Something on a lighter note to usher in the weekend after all this talk of cancer and surgery and the like - Introducing: The Michigan Mai-Tai

The back story:
Our good friends Kate and Will used to travel back to Kate's hometown in Michigan every year to visit parents and siblings. Each time they returned they would present me with a special gift: a six-pack of Vernor's Ginger Ale. At the time, the product was not available to us here in Oregon. This woman would lug six heavy bottles of this delicious golden concoction in her luggage. It was "manna from Michigan" to me.

Upon experimentation with this product, I found that mixing it with a splash of rum accentuated the sweet biting taste of this ginger ale and it quickly became my favorite drink.

Since then the Vernor's marketing conglomerate extended it's product base to the wilds of Oregon and so I can now pick up six-pack cans at the local grocery store. After a while I was introduced to the Cosmopolitan Cocktail which became my new favorite.

As my cocktail science began to diversify, I started making Cosmos out of all kinds of juices; blueberry (pretty good), pomegranate (mediocre), cherry (mmm, no). But mango worked wonderfully well and so my Mango Cosmo became the new family favorite.

Then one day I found myself out of Mango vodka; though I had rum and, of course, the fridge was well stocked with Vernor's. Well, science is all about experimentation, so I poured some rum over ice in a cocktail glass then added a jigger of Mango Nectar, floating Vernor's ginger ale over the top to fill the glass. The result was a lovely gradient of yellow to gold and an exquisitely tropical lilt to the palate. It was like a Mai-Tai but with ginger ale.

I dubbed it the Michigan Mai-Tai in honor of Kate who introduced me to Vernors by graciously lugging her luggage from the mid-west weighted down with bottles of ginger ale.
Half-fill a highball glass with ice. Add:
1 jigger rum
1 jigger Mango nectar
fill with Vernor's ginger ale
Add a "squirt" of grenadine to give it a sunset blush
Drop in a maraschino cherry for good luck.
Mango Cosmo:
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add:
2 jiggers Mango vodka
1 jigger Triple-Sec
1 jigger sweetened lime juice
1 jigger Mango nectar
Shake well then strain into (very important:) "chilled" martini glasses after coating the rims with a dusting of sugar.


Gorilla Bananas said...

I think you belong in Hawaii, wearing a colourful shirt and making cocktails for waitresses in grass skirts to serve. Does the ginger ale taste good on its own? How is it different from Schweppes?

PeterDeMan said...

WOW! Vernors in the Northwest; who'd a thought? I grew up in Michigan drinking Vernors. I so remember my grandmother drinking it from a glass and giggling because it tickleed her nose. Our family doctor actually prescribed it for upset stomach.

We have it in Florida because of so many Michigan Showbirds and I drank some last night. All I've ever seen here though are the two litre bottles

You referred to is as Ginger Ale, as I do, but legally it's called a Ginger drink. There was some kind of lawsuit many, many years ago that prohibited them from using the term Ginger Ale, even though they were the original; don't know the details.

It's one of my favorite drinks.

DJan said...

I'm a wine aficionado and rarely drink hard liquor, so I probably won't run out to get this. But a good ginger ale (or drink) is hard to beat. That's quite a lovely looking drink and definitely looks worth a sip.

The Mother said...

I have recently become a Cosmo convert, and I have a whole stock of Vernors (diet, though), so I'll have to give this a try.

Robert the Skeptic said...

Bananas I have been observed frequently wearing colorful Hawaiian shirts, truth be told. Schweppes is a much "dryer" ginger ale and very pale amber in color. Vernor's has a very distinct ginger flavor and a deep and rich amber color (or colour) which is somehow part of the brewing process. It is therefore sweeter than the Schweppes. If you ever had Vernor's you would likely never go back to Schweppes.

I am told that ginger ale brewing became big business in the US during the time of prohibition... or perhaps it was a front for illegal brewing of beer going on in the back room. Who knows?

Peter Yes, it seems the popularity has spread. After Kate got me "hooked" on it I was buying it online. Heavy, the shipping cost as much as the product to deliver.

I checked, looking at the can; you are CORRECT, it says "Ginger SODA", not ale. Of course we call all tissues "Kleneex" as well. I always called it ginger ale and never noticed until you brought that to my attention. Thanks!

DJan It is very much worth the try. Even if you don't mix it with alcohol, I make "virgin" variations for our non-drinking friends and the grand kids. Vernors with a splash of Mango nectar is just as tasty. Try it.

Dr. Mom The Cosmo is so versatile, Nancy also likes my Blueberry Cosmo (she loves blueberries). I found the diet version of Vernors to have the unpleasant after-taste so I went back to regular. I am judicious about injecting high-fructose corn syrup in my diet; but this is my only vice in that concern. I don't drink any other forms of soda/pop, and no colas whatsoever.

KleinsteMotte said...

Seems the people in Canada have discontinued the soda. I suppose it might work with Canada Dry Ginger Ale but that would not be the same. Still I love your idea of being create with beverages.

Orhan Kahn said...

Some time in the distant future I'm going to build myself a bar and own every one of my favourite liqours. And it is going to be mobile so it can be parked near the pool, the TV or in the bedroom.

Entre Nous said...

In a word, YUM.

Madame DeFarge said...

There are fewer things finer in life than cocktails. Instant sophistication is bestowed upon one's inebriation.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Vernor's was a surprise treat brought home by my father to celebrate the sale of a magazine article. In Pasadena in the 1950s it was not sold everywhere but could be found and, once tasted, never forgotten. The introduction of the diet version was welcome and it is still a go-to grocery store treat - there is one local place that still sells it. We just take it straight around here but none of its tangy goodness is lost no matter how you serve it. Mmmmmm

Kay Dennison said...

I love Vernor's and we can get it in Ohio. Yay! Chicken soup and Vernor's is a part of many moms' treatment for a bad cold here -- including me!!!! LOL

kara said...

how fitting that you're getting into fruity cocktails just as i'm getting into whiskey. it's like we're switching age-appropriate palates.

GutsyWriter said...

I just printed out the Michigan Mai Tai which sounds so good and I have to make when my oldest son is in Ann Arbot and coming home for Christmas. Thanks Robert.