This is not the version of Elena’s virtue that I intended to make for you, but it is the one I unwittingly made, and therefore, it is the one you get. I first learned about this drink when I was researching the Kingston Club, and it did not take me long to find the original over at Cask Strength. Unfortunately, I googled for it again and instead I found a really gimmicky PDF full of Mai Tai variations in from various Seattle restaurants, and one of them was a different version of Elena’s virtue, published by the same bartender, but modified to include the rum that sponsored the promotional PDF, which was half full of drink recipes and half full of ads for a rum that tricked me.
Anyway, when I went to make the drink, I followed the PDF rather than the blog post, because I was not paying attention, and as a result I did not make the drink that I intended. What I made ended up being pretty good, also, it just did not achieve the goal of a mai tai flavor using only Italian liqueurs. The original omitted the lime juice, and substituted Amaro Nonino in place of rum. Using rum and lime guarantees a flavor much closer to a Mai Tai, but the original also, I am sure, would achieve the impression of a Mai Tai.
1 oz Aged Rum
.5 oz Amaro Montenegro
.5 oz Lime Juice
.25 oz Tuaca
.25 oz Luxardo Amaretto
.25 oz Ramazzotti
Shake ingredients and strain over crushed ice. Garnish with an orange zest and basil, then pour .25 oz Ramazzotti amaro into a decanter, fill with hickory smoke, and pour over the drink.
— Mixologist: Andrew Bohrer
I did all of that, except I did not smoke any Ramazotti. Instead, I added a dash of mezcal to .25 oz of Ramazzotti and poured that over the drink.
Let’s face it; you’re probably not going to go around smoking a decanter of Ramazzotti in your home. I certainly don’t care to. Mezcal may not have a hickory flavor, but it certainly adds a lot of smoke. Even though I made the more mainstream version, it’s easy to see how an ounce of Nonino instead of rum, and no lime juice, would be Mai-Tai like. Amaro Montenegro has a noteworthy lime flavor, and the combination of Amaro Nonino and Tuaca does a passable impression of rum, while remaining true to its bitter roots.
Morever, Ramazzotti has a pronounced orange flavor, taking the place of the curacao in this drink, and Amaretto, although made with peach pits, has a flavor very similar to orgeat. All of the elements are there, but they are present in the form of tones of flavor in liqueurs and bitters. Mr. Andrew Bohrer’s drink is very clever, and you should read his blog.