Tutu’s Mai Tai

You could say my most recent visit to Hawaii left me with a bitter taste in my mouth. The island of Oahu is becoming so congested by cars, tourists and our nations military that it doesn’t feel like an island anymore. The roads feel like the freeways of Los Angeles. And, the rows of shops in Waikiki look straight off the strip malls of Las Vegas.

Thus said I am so grateful to have a local family I can call my own. I’m struggling to understand how they are adapting, once again to the growth of their homeland. Growth that has been steadily moving forward since the late 40′s, welcome as it was at that time. The feeling of aloha is getting harder and harder to find.

Lovey at the Tahitian Lanai

Lovey at the Tahitian Lanai

So you see – hanging out with Tutu (Lovey) is definitely a highlight when I visit Honolulu. I could sit for hours and listen to her stories about the history of Waikiki in its heyday, all told with a fair amount of piss and vinegar.

Tahitian Lanai

Tahitian Lanai

Lovey was a bartender for close to 40 years, working under the umbrella of restaurants owned by the Spencecliff organization, which included Tops, Queen’s Surf and the legendary Tahitian Lanai. She claims to have made the best Mai Tai in town, and only at a cost of $1.50. Even though the cocktail didn’t originate on the island, it’s roots were clearly tropic. Nowadays it’s almost impossible to find a “real” Mai Tai in Waikiki, so many variations are being made to please the palates of cocktail-umbrella seeking tourists.

Tutu’s Mai Tai

1 oz dark rum
1 oz light rum
1/2 ounce Orange Curaçao
1/4 ounce rock candy (simple) syrup
Juice from one fresh lime (about 3/4 ounce)

Pour all of the ingredients except for the dark rum into a shaker with ice cubes. Shake vigorously. Strain into an old-fashioned glass half filled with ice. Top with the dark rum. Garnish with a cherry.

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