There are few drinks that scream "tropical cocktail" quite like a mai tai, but it's also a spectacularly boozy drink, which isn't always the best choice when you're dealing with hot, humid weather. That's why this non-alcoholic mai tai, from Bar LunÀtico in Brooklyn, New York, is a refreshing change of pace—though it still has a kick, much like the original. That's because this mai tai mocktail is made with cold brew concentrate instead of rum. And though the cold brew is great for waking you up and cooling you off, the nutty, chocolate notes of the coffee also "deepen the almond qualities of the orgeat" that's traditional in a good mai tai as Cameron Holmes, Bar LunÀtico's bar manager, explained in an email.
Holmes's take on this non-alcoholic tropical drink is made with acid-adjusted orange juice, which, he says, "provides the zip alcohol normally offers." Holmes basically turns up the acid content of the orange juice by adding citric acid, the same stuff that makes sour candies sour. "Some folks are more exacting and use a pH meter," he notes, "but I usually do it to taste." You can make your own acid-adjusted orange juice by mixing eight ounces of fresh-squeezed, strained orange juice with about one tablespoon and one teaspoon of food grade citric acid, until it's about the acidity of lime juice.
Using this amped up orange juice in combination with the cold brew coffee and orgeat will leave you with an easy-to-make tropical mocktail that's "complex, bright, caffeinated, and especially excellent when consumed on our back patio," says Holmes, though any outdoor seating will do in a pinch.
Cold Brew Mai Tai
- Yields: 1 drink
Combine all ingredients with ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake and strain over fresh ice in a double old fashioned glass. Garnish with mint bouquet.