Minimalist Tiki

Mai-Kai cocktail review: This daiquiri is the real deal, thank you berry much

See below: Our Strawberry Daiquiri review | Tribute recipe
Related: No monkeying around, this is one fine Banana Daiquiri | Mai-Kai cocktail guide

Strawberry Daiquiri, July 2011. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward)
Strawberry Daiquiri, July 2011. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward)

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.

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The official menu description

Strawberry Daiquiri
STRAWBERRY DAIQUIRI

Fresh fruit and rum are blended to create this frosty favorite.

Okole Maluna Society review and rating

Size: Medium

Potency: Mild

Flavor profile: Strawberry, sugar syrup, a slight hint of rum.

Review: This could easily be on the dessert drink menu. Very smooth, sweet and fruity.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5 stars (see how it ranks)

Ancestry: Constante Ribailagua, the bartender at El Floridita bar in Havana during the 1920s, created a number of variations on the classic daiquiri, including the first frozen one. There’s no evidence, however, that he invented the strawberry version. Both the Floridita Daiquiri and the Strawberry Daiquiri were added to the menu some time after The Mai-Kai’s 1956 opening as the popularity of frozen drinks grew. Some of The Mai-Kai’s early fame came by way of another frozen drink, the acclaimed Derby Daiquiri.

Agree or disagree? Share your reviews and comments below!

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Tribute to The Mai-Kai’s Strawberry Daiquiri

Strawberry Daiquiri by The Atomic Grog, November 2011. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward)
Strawberry Daiquiri by The Atomic Grog, November 2011. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward)

* 1/2 ounce fresh-squeezed lime juice
* 1/2 ounce rich sugar syrup
    (2 parts sugar to 1 part water, heated and cooled)
* 1 1/2 ounces white Puerto Rican or Virgin Islands rum
* 1/2 cup of fresh, sliced strawberries
* 4 ounces (1/2 cup) crushed ice

Put everything into a blender. Blend at high speed for at least 30 seconds, until smooth. Pour unstrained into a cocktail glass.

Notes and tips for home mixologists

* No big surprises here. This tribute is based on the previously published Banana Daiquiri recipe, with a few slight tweaks. White rum replaces gold rum, and an extra-strength sugar syrup is used to give the drink more sweetness.

Like the Banana Daiquiri, we recommend the strawberry version as an after-dinner or dessert drink. Or perhaps as a cool accompaniment to one of The Mai-Kai’s spicy dinner entrees.

Okole maluna!

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