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That's a Nice Mai Tai You're Wearing


Being a California native, I have a lot of poolside memories. But it wasn't until my mom married Fred that mai tais joined the party. And Fred made the best mai tais.

He got his recipe while vacationing in Tahiti. There he drank the finest mai tai of his life and asked the bartender to share the recipe. But the bartender wasn't sharing. Fred said fine, then simply sat back, ordered another and carefully watched the bartender make the drink.

A mai tai party is a terrific way to celebrate Labor Day around the pool. Times Test Kitchen Director Donna Deane came to the rescue with recipes for the perfect tiki-themed appetizers to complement our drink of honor.

One word of warning if you make this menu: These Mai Tais once turned an 11-year friendship into a marriage.


Fred's Mai Tais


Shrimp Spring Rolls With Peanut Sauce

Polynesian Chicken Drumettes

Cucumber With Salmon Cream and Caviar


1/2 pint bottle dark rum

1/2 pint bottle light rum

1/2 pint bottle coffee liqueur

1/2 pint bottle orange liqueur

1 pint pineapple juice

1 pint orange juice

1 Japanese or hot house cucumber

1/4 pound cream cheese

1 small tube prepared wasabi paste

1/4 pound smoked salmon

1/4 pound fatty salmon roe

1 small package nori (dried sushi seaweed)

14 chicken drumettes

1 small package sesame seeds

60 dried apricot halves

1 (5.5-ounce) package goat cheese

1/2 pint whipping cream

1 bunch fresh rosemary

1 bag pine nuts

1/2 pound bacon strips

1 head savoy cabbage

1 cup bean sprouts

2 carrots

1 bunch Thai lemon basil

1 small package shelled peanuts

1 bottle fish sauce

1 (1 1/2-ounce) bundle rice noodles

1 package spring roll wrappers

3 dozen cooked, peeled and deveined shrimp

1 bunch cilantro





Ginger root

Green onions

Soy sauce




Rice vinegar


Peanut oil

Hoisin sauce

Peanut butter

Chicken broth



Night before: Marinate drumettes for Polynesian Chicken. Prepare cabbage filling for Spring Rolls.

Morning of party: Prepare Cucumber With Salmon Cream and Caviar. Prepare Rumaki, but don't grill. Prepare Peanut Sauce for Spring Rolls.

2 hours before: Fry rice noodles, combine with cabbage filling and assemble Spring Rolls.

1 hour before: Mix Mai Tais and refrigerate.

15 minutes before: Grill Rumaki and drumettes.


You can use your favorite brands to mix your mai tais. Fred uses Myers's dark rum, Bacardi light rum, Kahlua for the coffee liqueur and Cointreau for the orange liqueur.

Crushed ice

1 cup dark rum

1 cup light rum

1/4 cup coffee liqueur

1/4 cup orange liqueur

2 cups pineapple juice

2 cups orange juice

1 lime

Fill 8 tall glasses with crushed ice.

Combine dark rum, light rum, coffee liqueur, orange liqueur, pineapple juice and orange juice in large pitcher. Stir well.

Pour mixture over crushed ice into glasses. Cut lime into 8 wedges. Squeeze 1 wedge into each glass. Top with fruit umbrella if desired.

Makes 8 servings.

Each serving contains about:

233 calories; 2 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 0 fat; 15 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram protein; 0.12 gram fiber.


These look good garnished with green onion curls.

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 teaspoon minced ginger root

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup catsup

14 chicken drumettes

Toasted sesame seeds

Combine garlic, ginger, soy sauce, honey and catsup. Pour over chicken in shallow glass baking dish. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Remove drumettes from sauce and grill on stove-top grill pan sprayed with nonstick cooking spray or grill over hot coals until drumettes are cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Makes 14 drumettes.

Each drumette contains about:

66 calories; 352 mg sodium; 20 mg cholesterol; 2 grams fat; 7 grams carbohydrates; 5 grams protein; 0.01 gram fiber.


1 (5.5-ounce) package goat cheese

1 tablespoon whipping cream

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts, chopped

60 dried apricot halves

30 bacon strips, cut in half

Blend together goat cheese and cream until smooth. Stir in garlic, rosemary and salt until blended. Stir in nuts. Chill until firm. Spoon scant teaspoon cheese filling onto half of the apricots and top each with remaining apricots. Wrap half strip of bacon around each. Cover and refrigerate until ready to grill.

Grill on stove-top grill sprayed with nonstick cooking spray until bacon is browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Serve hot.

Makes 2 1/2 dozen rumaki.

Each rumaki contains about:

115 calories; 143 mg sodium; 13 mg cholesterol; 3 grams fat; 5 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams protein; 0.22 gram fiber.



2 cups shredded savoy cabbage

1 cup bean sprouts

1 cup shredded carrots

2 green onions, minced

2 large cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup chopped Thai lemon basil

1/4 cup peanuts, chopped

2 tablespoons Vietnamese fish sauce

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 1/2 tablespoons sugar

1 (1 1/2-ounce) bundle rice noodles

Peanut oil for frying

12 spring roll wrappers

3 dozen cooked, peeled and deveined shrimp

Cilantro leaves

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