Drink of the Week: Mai Tai (with a side of lobster)

It’s not often I get to sample the taste of Hawaii and Nova Scotia at the same time, but the planets aligned in such a way last week. Or shall I say, Earls Restaurant Shepard Flats, the chain’s newest Calgary location, flew in a slew of Nova Scotia lobsters in advance of its annual three-day Lobster feast, and I was lucky to shell and eat one of the critters. I also got to sample from Earls’ cocktail menu, which features classics like the margarita and Moscow mule, all mixed with fresh juices and house-made syrups. I opted for the Mai Tai, a yummy, rummy number with a unique flavour thanks to its almond syrup.

Earls' Mai Tai, a tart and tropical classic cocktail, pairs nicely with shellfish.

Earls’ Mai Tai, a tart and tropical classic cocktail, pairs nicely with shellfish.

First, I love the glass. The restaurant has sourced tiki-style rocks glasses for this drink, which I think is very cool. Second, this cocktail is seriously delicious. I have always been wary of Mai Tais (perhaps I remember those too-sweet versions served at Waikiki bars during happy hour?), but I loved this drink’s simplicity: it’s just rum, triple sec and lime juice, with almond syrup that adds a distinct toasty flavour to the perfectly balanced combo of sour, sweet and strong. I managed to save some in my glass for when my 1-1/2 lb. lobster arrived.

It's a little disconcerting to dismember a whole lobster, but I got the hang of it in a hurry. Omyomyom.

It’s a little disconcerting to dismember a whole lobster, but I got the hang of it in a hurry. Omyomyom.

Earls’ “A Lobster of a Feast” takes place in Calgary October 3-5. The restaurant chain flies in thousands of live Atlantic lobster, boils them and serves them with prawns, grilled corn on the cob, fingerling potatoes and sourdough bread that’s baked in-house (ideal for dipping into the Chardonnay-butter sauce). Oh, and it only costs $25. Nice. If you miss the lobster event you can just go for the Mai Tais — they’re on the menu all year.

Mai Tai

  • 1-1/2 oz Appleton VX rum
  • 1/2 oz Triple Sec
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • 3/4 oz toasted almond syrup (or use orgeat syrup, available at the Cookbook Company in Calgary)

In a shaker combine the rum, triple sec, lime juice and toasted almond syrup. Add ice and shake vigorously to combine ingredients. Strain over fresh ice into a rocks glass. Garnish with a pineapple chunk, mint sprig and a skewered cherry. Add a straw, if desired.

– Recipe courtesy Cameron Bogue, Earls

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