I’m not really sure precisely when I met Matt “Hurricane” Harris, but I’m pretty positive it was at Noise Pop in the late ‘90s. We just clicked. He’s smart, hilarious, loves his food/music/alcohol and we know all the same people. Family! Plus, he didn’t completely mock me for the great hula-hooping accident of ’02, for which he scores bonus points…
Flash to SxSW ’01, when I arrived in Austin a little early and spent quality time hanging with my SF posse – including the Hurricane. Hilarity ensued. Bonds were re-forged. There was a botched late night attempt to buy more beer and I think I ended up in the back of a pick-up truck very late in the evening, driven by the Hurricane and quite possibly involving our UK pal Johnno. Legendary.
I was managing the Posies at the time and happened to take Mr. Stringfellow to a Listen.com party featuring Oranger, Matt’s primary band, a couple days into the fray. After a Posies tour of Spain that culminated in a disastrous shouting match in a hotel lobby in Mallorca that led me to point out we could find another bass player (not to mention a “do you have any rice” story that is the stuff legend is made of,) I pointed at the stage and said, “That’s your bass player.”
So Matt became a Posie. I also accidentally introduced him to Ian Moore, and now they’ve done an album together. The story of how that all came about is classified, but the result is brilliant – a combination of their shared talents. Pop genius meets soulful, intellectual genius. Genius all around.
I’ve probably lost years of my life hanging out with the Hurricane, but I wouldn’t trade a minute of it. The guy is a treasure, and – tissue damage aside – one of my favorite human beings on the planet, not to mention one of the more exceptional musicians out there. Plus, he’s curious enough to get to the heart of the Mai Tai.
Mai Tai and its mysterious ingredient, falernum.
Well…Ol’ Hurricane here to impart some wisdom on one of the Tiki world’s most fabulous cocktails:
The Mai Tai
After 3 months of touring the globe with The Posies, our last stop of the Blood/Candy 2010 Tour was Hawaii. One of the best planned end of tours, ever.
Being a lover of all things Exotica and Tiki you can imagine my excitement to embark on a Tiki drink bonanza while visiting the islands!
I had one thing on my mind…my quest simply was after the Mai-Tai. One of my favorite cocktails in the Tiki realm and just simply heaven on a beach, sizzling away in the winter sun.
I found that next door to the hotel was “The Mai Tai Bar” at The Royal Hawaiian Hotel…how convenient!
Now there is a ton of history with the Mai Tai which I will not go into but if you want check it out, it’s here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mai_Tai.
At the Royal Hawaiian I was told they had 2 kinds of Mai Tai’s: the house recipe which was basically Trader Vic’s recipe, and the “scratch” recipe which they used Falernum, that was made in house ,which was a Don the Beachcomber recipe.
Of Course I tried both
The first was the Trader Vic’s Mai Tai recipe(see below) in the traditional state.
• 1 oz gold rum
• 1 oz dark rum
• 1 oz triple sec
• 1/2 oz lime juice
• 1/2 oz Orgeat syrup
• Garnish: maraschino cherry, pineapple, mint sprig
The second was very different yet similar to Don the Beachcomber recipe(see below):
Lots of spicy ginger, clove, lime and toasted almond flavors with dark and golden rum…and that mysterious FALERNUM!
• 2 oz (or 1/4 cup) water
• 3/4 oz or 1-1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
• 1 oz or 2 tablespoons fresh grapefruit juice
• 1 oz or 2 tablespoons sugar syrup
• 1 oz or 2 tablespoons dark rum
• 1-1/2 oz or 3 tablespoons golden rum
• 1/2 oz or 1 tablespoon Cointreau or triple Sec
• 1/4 oz or 1/2 tablespoon Falernum syrup
• 2 dashes or scant 1/2 teaspoon Angostura bitters
• 1 dash or scant 1/4 teaspoon Pernod or other anisette-flavored pastis
Shake all the ingredients in a shaker with ice and strain into a tall highball glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with fruits and serve with a straw.
AMAZING! A different cocktail completely!
After a few “scratch” Mai Tai’s I managed to coax the bartender to tell me the house Falernum recipe, which specific details have be “misplaced”…
However…the basic recipe for Falernum dates back to it’s roots in Barbados.
1 Part Lime Juice
2 Parts Sugar Syrup (simple syrup)
3 Parts Rum
4 Parts Water
As they said in the West Indies:
“One Pint of Sour, two of sweet, three of strong and four of weak!”
I’m sure that you can imagine with mixology’s popularity today, there are tons of variations and different recipes of Falernum!
This is a recipe from Paul Clark:
• 6 ounces Wray & Nephew Overproof White Rum
• zest of 9 medium limes, removed with a microplane grater or sharp vegetable peeler, with no traces of white pith
• 40 whole cloves (buy fresh ones — not the cloves that have been in your spice rack since last Christmas)
• 1 1/2 ounce, by weight, peeled, julienned fresh ginger
Combine these ingredients in a jar and seal, letting the mixture soak for 24 hours. Then, strain through moistened cheesecloth, squeezing the solids to extract the last, flavorful bits of liquid.
• 1/4 teaspoon almond extract*
• 14 ounces cold process 2:1 simple syrup (two parts sugar to one part water, shaken in a jar or bottle WITHOUT HEAT until all the sugar is dissolved)
• 4 1/2 ounces fresh, strained lime juice
Shake it all together and serve.
You can add many different ingredients to mix it up and make your own like these fellas:
I myself, prefer a beach, Quiet Village gently playing in the background and a fresh Mai Tai with homemade Falernum!!
-Matthew “Hurricane” Harris
Orgins of Falernum: