Sam Elliot’s character in The Big Lebowski famously asks, “Do you have any good sarsaparilla?” and finally bartenders across the land can say, “Sioux City”, and actually mean it.
This drink is from regular contributor Jason O’Bryan (@jobryan1206 instagram) who is currently holding court at Kettner Exchange (Kett-X to the cool kids) in San Diego. O’Bryan takes a traditional Mai Tai and throws a couple of Coen-esque twists into the mix. Instead of an aged rum, he uses a slightly over-proofed silver rum and in order to reclaim some of the vanilla notes lost by the rum switch, he adds two dashes of R&D Co.’s Sarsaparilla Bitters. The cool thing about these bitters is that not only do they add some vanilla notes back in to the Mai Tai, but they add some licorice notes and also, well, sarsaparilla.
If you’re unaware of what sarsaparilla (pronounced Sas-pah-ril-uh) is, well…in short, it’s what root beer tastes like. If you don’t know what root beer tastes like, you have problems bigger than this blog can handle.
We’ve discussed orgeat before, so let’s skip over that and talk Orange Curacao (pronounced Cure-a-souw). If it’s a good one, it will generally be brandy based. Poorer quality ones (aka triple-sec) will be neutral grain spirit based, and that’s boring as hell. Curacao adds velvety richness on top of being all orangey and delicious. Plus, it’s a liqueur so its natural sweetness means you don’t have to add additional sugar (We’re all about low glycemic indexes ‘round here.).
So you’ve got some lime, some orange, some vanilla, some root beer, some almond, and some booze. You shake all that up and serve it over some ice. Tell me Dude, does that not sound like a good sarsaparilla to you?
Sioux City Mai Tai
2 0z Silver Rum (O’Bryan uses Caña Brava)
.5 oz orgeat
.5 oz Orange Curacao
1 oz fresh lime juice
2 dashes R&D Co. Sarsaparilla Bitters
Combine all your ingredients in your trusty shakers, add some ice, and shake like you’re in a bathtub with a marmot. Strain it all out over some fresh ice and garnish with a lime wheel. It will really tie the room together.