As the summer heat fades into a fond memory, we want to be reminded of those blazing mid-July afternoons when even Chicago felt like a tropical destination. That’s why we asked Zeke Franco to crank the summer vibes up to eleven, and our man didn’t disappoint.
To create a signature cocktail to pair with our poolside lounging favorite Fruity Fruity Bang Bang, Zeke transformed a boozy classic, the Mai Tai.
Traditionally whipped up by tiki hut bartenders in mesmerizing floral shirts, using a mix of several rums and fruit juices, Mai Tais have the pitfall (or benefit, depending on your perspective) of being rather strong. Like, drinking and talking like a pirate strong. That means that even if you’re on vacation, you probably want to limit yourself. Safety first, boys and girls. Especially near the pool.
Zeke wanted to turn the fruity and sweet but strong classic into something that actually tastes like it was made for adults. But how? The solution was pure genius: he tweaked the base of the drink from rum to lower-proof Oloroso sherry. Don’t worry, the S/hy Tai still incorporates two different types of rum (just in smaller amounts), plus Amaretto and RhineHall Mango Brandy to give it plenty of complexity.
Zeke also created a custom Popcorn and Almond Orgeat to really play with the nuttiness of the sherry. Lime and two types of bitters (Tiki and Dill) finish off the summertime masterpiece. It’s a clever innovation, as the sherry provides more depth of flavor than simple white rums do, while reducing the booziness to a sustainable level for us mere mortals who must work in the morning.
But for now, forget the office. Just kick off your flip flops and whip up a batch of these while nibbling on your favorite colored popcorn… before it’s too late. ❄️
S/hy Tai Recipe
1 oz Oloroso Sherry
0.5 oz RhineHall Mango Brandy
0.5 oz Plantation Pineapple Rum
0.25 oz Duquesne Agricole Rhum Blanc
0.25 oz Amaretto
1 oz Popcorn and Almond Orgeat
0.75 oz lime
2 dashes Tiki Bitters
2 dashes Dill Bitters