The Honi Honi is the forgotten little brother of the Mai Tai that uses bourbon instead of rum. Trader Vic was probably just catering to dyed-in-the-wool bourbon drinkers when he came up with the Honi Honi (which apparently means “kiss kiss”) but it doesn’t seem to be a drink that really caught on. I can see why not. It just doesn’t sound like a great idea – but bear with me here. In recent years there has been much renewed interest in the original Mai Tai with a great deal of discussion on which rums to use to get either the most authentic – or just the tastiest – result. You know, at this point you might want to re-read my Mai Tai article… …OK, welcome back. Anyway, the largely forgotten Honi Honi never had the luxury of the same treatment. That seems wrong. Recently I’ve been thinking that it’s strange that we think nothing of blending a number of different rums in a Tiki drink to get exactly the balance of flavours we want but we never think to do the same with, say, whisky. You can see where I’m going with this, right? All the Honi Honi recipes simply call for two ounces of “bourbon”. That sounds a bit vague to me so I ran a few experiments using different bourbons. I soon discovered here was little benefit in using similar bourbons but I hit pay dirt combining the super smooth Gentleman Jack with the powerful and spicy Wild Turkey 101. With an ounce each of these two the Honi Honi just snaps right into focus – but as with the Mai Tai I do encourage further experimentation. With the right attention to detail the Honi Honi need no longer be the poor sibling of the Mai Tai.
1oz / 30ml Wild Turkey 101*.
1oz / 30ml Gentleman Jack*.
1oz / 30ml fresh lime juice.
1oz / 30ml Mai Tai mix. (2:1:1 mix of curacao: rich simple syrup: orgeat).
Shake hard with about half a shaker of crushed ice. Pour, unstrained, into a DOF glass.
The usual Mai Tai garnish of a lime shell and mint sprig is a bit more optional in this version.
Toast The Trader – yet again.
*Feel free to try other bourbons and ryes but I suggest similar spicy/smooth combinations at least as a starting point.