I am someone who, when ‘inspired’ to do something, will stop at nothing to achieve my desire. Not just ‘oh I think I’ll do that’, but something clicks within me. Like many years ago, given the challenge to fix an ‘Anniversary’ clock. Someone put this thing down in front of me, said “I’ll bet you can’t get this going again” and left me with it. Of course, such a challenge to me is more like a red rag to a bull. Let me explain to those of you not in the know, just what an ‘Anniversary’ clock is. You may have seen one. It has a circular wooden base, with a clock movement atop it, below the clock part, at the top of four metal posts, is an arrangement of four (for want of a better word) balls. These spin around, like a circular pendulum, making the clock tick as they stop one clockwise revolution and tock as it completes an anti-clockwise one and so on. All of this is covered by a glass or plastic dome. The anniversary part, is due to the fact that it should run for about 400 days or thereabouts, so if you get it as a gift, you then wind it up on the anniversary of receiving it. I’m not talking about a silly, battery operated one either. No, this was as mechanical as it gets, the four-balled pendulum dangles by a thin strip of metal, like a kind of spring that gets wound up and unwound on each alternating spin and it was this that was the main problem of this clock. My instructor informed us that the best way to see why a clock DOESN’T run, is to watch a working one and try to discover exactly why it DOES run. So I sat there for a few hours watching a good one to see what made it tick (and tock). I’m digressing, so will cut this short. Basically, although it took me about a week of tweaking and watching, (while doing other things as well of course), I completed the challenge and fixed the clock!
The main point of this post, which has taken me ages to reach is that for years, I have wanted to try a (rum-based) ‘Mai Tai’ cocktail. I used to drink a lot of rum when younger and believe that I may have, single-handedly, helped keep the Barbados government budget afloat with my rum-drinking efforts! However, having ‘asked around’, it seems that no-one local, or within over a thousand miles even, makes or sells such a concoction! I kept asking and even printed out the ingredients and handed them to various barmen in pubs, inns and hotels all around, all to no effect. I finally accepted that no such cocktail would be imbibed by me, unless I made one myself. I gave myself a challenge to drink one on Christmas Eve 2015 at the latest. So armed with the internet, (thankfully, as I could NEVER have done it without), I set about researching the history and ingredients of the previously unsourceable Mai Tai. It would have been much easier if I had simply had the funds to take a holiday in Hawaii, the Caribbean or even just California and other such places that DO make and sell such a thing. But it wasn’t to be and so, burning the midnight oil and poring over web-based documents, like Gandalf, trying to research the history of THAT ring. During my search, I discovered interesting characters such as “Don the beachcomber” and “Trader Vic” and their infamous, colourful histories, while trying to find the original and best version of my much sought after libation. Not happy with just any old Mai Tai was I, oh no, I had to find the actual, proper one as, apparently, nearly every bartender and ‘mixologist’ makes a different version. So I eventually found the real one and then spent a few more weeks trying to find the ingredients locally(!) Not an easy prospect at all! I bought some ‘bits’ in the shops, had to find others on the internet and even had to resort making my own in the kitchen! Did I succeed? Of course I did, but the first version, created just the day before Christmas eve, was not very good, although I did it! But have made a much better and more enjoyable one since, but oh my heavens is it strong!? (I had a different cocktail abroad last year, an ‘Aviation’, only it tasted very good, but very weak as, obviously, the bar wanted to make it with hardly any alcohol, in order to make a massive profit out of me)!!! So now I shall probably have to ‘water down’ my own Mai Tai, in order to save me from being blown away by booze, every time I fancy a cocktail. I’m not much of a drinker anymore and thank goodness for that! I hope this hasn’t left you all shaken? (Or stirred, come to that). Happy New Year! Hic!
P.S. The picture above IS an original Mai Tai and not like any of the red, orange, pink or whatever people will tell you is the correct versions, when they’re not. It’s the taste that counts. Maita’i roa ae. Look that up, if you have the time!