Even though it falls near the bottom of our rankings of the top Mai-Kai cocktails, there’s nothing really wrong with the Strawberry Daiquiri. Like the Banana Daiquiri, it’s a superb version of an often-maligned “slushy drink.”
I’ll admit, this was the last drink I sampled on my initial journey through the entire Mai-Kai menu. The Strawberry Daiquiri’s reputation as a girly drink definitely preceded it. But as Larry David says when confronted with something seemingly unpleasant: “It’s not that bad.”
True, it’s the antithesis of all the high-octane concoctions the Fort Lauderdale institution is known for, just one step above the non-alcoholic selections. But there’s a place for milder drinks, especially when they’re authentically prepared with fresh fruit this expertly.
I remember the anticipation vividly. It was mid-2010. My new copy of Beachbum Berry Remixed had just arrived via Amazon, and I tore open the package to find what secrets lurked on its pages. Sure, I had already devoured the Bum’s Grog Log (1998) and Intoxica! (2002), perfecting most of the 150 or so recipes within, but Remixed promised to be more than just a rehash of those classic Tiki tomes.
It not only completely revised and updated those books, it promised 107 additional recipes, including “41 newly discovered, previously unpublished vintage Tiki drink recipes from the 1930s to 1960s.” To me, this meant only one thing: Another secret Mai-Kai recipe would likely be revealed. Every one of the four previous Jeff Berry titles – most notably 2007’s Sippin’ Safari – had unearthed recipes by The Mai-Kai’s master mixologist, Mariano Licudine.
First, I admired the gorgeous design. Hundreds of vintage color photos and artwork adorn the 248 pages. And the creative drink photos raise the art to a new level. It addition to the recipes, it also contains tons of history and stories, similar to Sippin’ Safari. Appendixes included new drinks by the Bum as well as new recipes from the Tiki revival.
Then, finally, I found it on Page 43 as an added bonus recipe to the Grog Log section on the daiquiri, which Berry calls “tiki’s template.” The Mai-Kai’s legendary … Banana Daiquiri? That’s it? I got myself all worked up over one of the most common tropical drinks ever created? Initially, I was let down. C’mon Jeff, I thought. You can do better than this. Where’s the elusive Jet Pilot or Mutiny?