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IBA official cocktail
Commercial frozen mayarí served in a pint and poco glass respectively
Type Cocktail
Served Straight up: chilled, without ice
Standard garnish ½ orange slice and half a banana
Standard drinkware
Cocktail Glass (Martini).svg
Cocktail glass
IBA specified
Preparation Pour all ingredients into cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well. Strain in chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with half orange slice and half a banana.
Mayarí (/ˈmaɪəriː/) or mayari is a family of cocktails of Sierran Creole origin. The drink mainly consists of rum, orange juice, pineapple juice, and syrup or some other sweetener such as agave nectar, usually served either straight up or shaken with ice. It is well known for its characteristic light orange hue and its potent sweetness. Mayarís are usually garnished with either a slice of orange, half a cut banana, or both. Modern approaches to the drink often call for additional ingredients including tapioca boba. Additional variations exist including frozen mayarís, which are frequently sold at drive-thru mayarí shops. The mayarí is the official provincial beverage of the Sierran province of the Gold Coast, where the drink originated from, and is considered one of Sierra's national and most iconic beverages. The drink has relatively low alcohol content (roughly 11% alcohol by volume) and is one of the few alcoholic drinks allowed to be consumed in the public in certain Sierran cities.

Created during the 1960s, its international recognition and popularity was fueled by its frequent, prominent appearances in various Hollywood films and television shows. The drink is a popular alcoholic beverage of choice, especially among Sierran college youth, and is commonly sold at most establishments which are licensed to sell alcohol and liquor. Mayarí is the traditional drink served in airlines with domestic flights within Sierra, as well as international flights heading to Sierra. The mayarí's non-alcoholic variant is also popular amongst underaged minors, which substitutes the rum with soda. Mayarí-flavored ice picks and ice cream are also commercially sold throughout Sierra and is a traditional dessert offered at fast-food restaurants.

History[edit | edit source]

The name Mayarí comes from the eponymous town in the Antillean Cuban province of Holguín. The word itself is of Taíno origin. The inspiration for the name may have likely transpired from Cuban trova musician Compay Segundo, who produced two songs which referenced Mayarí by name: "Voy para Mayarí" ("I'm going to Mayarí") and Chan Chan. Prototypical versions of the drink first appeared in the Gold Coast's Sierran Creole community during the 1920s. It has been speculated that the drink was an attempt to recreate the similar daiquiri albeit using altered ingredients.

Several establishments have claimed to be the birthplace of the mayarí, including the hotel, the Château Suchet, where bartender Charles Berthier claimed he created the drink. Although mayarí's original creators and birthplace have never definitively proven, mayarí exited obscurity when it was introduced to the Sierran public at the original Grands Ballons location of the Dessiné Shop in 1943. The Dessiné Shop, a well-established restaurant which specialized in classic Sierran Creole dishes as well as store creations, was already a popular eatery and drinking place in the city. The primary people attributed to introducing and serving the mayarí at the restaurant were bartenders Achille Garnier and Leon Lafon. Although neither of the men claimed responsibility for the drink's creation, they both take credit in formulating the beverage's official recipe.

It took five months of experimentation and feedback from bar patrons, before Garnier and Lafon settled on the modern recipe for the mayarí. Consumption of the drink quickly caught on beyond the Grands Ballons metropolitan area, as the recipe disseminated to the rest of the country. The dessiné fast food chain restaurant Beauxmont started selling their own version of the drink, solidifying the drink's connection with dessiné and association with Sierran Creole cuisine. It became popular due to the shortage of whiskey and vodka from Eastern Anglo-America (from war rationing in World War II) and simultaneous readiness of rum. This abundance in rum was the result of Sierra's friendly foreign policy towards Latin American countries, as well as Sierra's possession of Hawaii and Tondo.

Mayarí became an international sensation during the late 1940s and 1950s as it was featured in prominent Hollywood films including The Drums That Never Beat, the original Strangers from Space, Only Once in Paris, and Mr. Tillerson Returns to Sea. The drink was also mentioned in numerous pop songs and was the subject itself in The June Bugs' 1953 song, "The Look She Gives", which has been colloquially referred to as the "Mayarí Girl Song". Since the drink was never patented, numerous companies have created and sold their own commercial brands and versions of the drink. Its popularity and recognition continued to spread amongst members of the Sierran Crown Armed Forces, with mayarí at one point becoming the "preferred drink of G.I.s". The ease of its preparation also caught on as a popular party drink among college students, so much so in proliferation and prevalence, the drink acquired connotations with the college drinking scene for its widespread use. Non-alcoholic versions of the mayarí proved successful among children and adolescents when Eiselé began producing Balmy G's, a bottled soft drink that incorporated the flavors of the drink, in the 1990s.

Today, the mayarí is celebrated annually on National Mayarí Day on September 2.

Variations[edit | edit source]

The mayarí has inspired numerous variations and alterations to the original recipe that some have become recognized as their own drink in their own right, including:

  • Super mayarí – regular Mayarí using two and a half jiggers of white rum with salt on the rim
  • Midnight mayarí – regular mayarí with banana replaced with cherries and lime juice
  • King's Goblet - substitutes rum with Creole liqueur
  • Virgin mayarí – without the rum (non-alcoholic)
  • Vladarí – substitutes rum with vodka

Any mayarí which includes tapioca balls (boba) or rainbow jelly are known as treasured mayarí, thus a virgin mayarí with boba would be referred to as treasured virgin mayarí.

Preparation[edit | edit source]

Although various recipes and variations have been created, the original recipe, according to bartenders Achille Garnier and Leon Lafon who popularized the drink, is the following:

Pour 1 ounce (30 g) of fresh, pulp-free orange juice, half an ounce (15 g) of pineapple juice, half an ounce (15 g) of agave nectar, 1.5 ounces (44 g) of white rum, and ¼ cup (32 g) of bananas into a shaker, and shake very well until the consistency is smooth and frothy. Pour into chilled glass, and add two teaspoons (11 g) of lime juice, then garnish with a slice or half a slice of an orange, and half a slice of a banana, and lightly salt the rim with celery salt.

– Achille Garnier, The Porciúncula Times 1965 Interview

Garnier and Lafon claimed to have learned and perfected the drink recipe by imitating the drink they found being made and sold throughout Grands Ballons. Neither of the men took credit for creating the drink, and insisted that they never knew who the original creator was. They also refused to patent the drink for these reasons, claiming the drink "belongs to Grands Ballons as a whole".

Most mayarí today is served straight up as the original recipe called for the mayarí to be served in chilled glass. Modern versions have often allowed the drink to be served on the rocks or in crushed ice. In versions of mayarí where tapioca balls or rainbow jelly are added to the drink, the extra ingredients are allowed to sink to the bottom, and may be drunk up through wider, cylinder straws, compared to standard cocktail straws. The versatility of the drink allows for unconventional or non-traditional additions including chia seeds or chopped aloe vera, depending on consumer preferences and inventory availability.

In addition, due to the drink's origins in Grands Ballons dessiné shops, the drink traditionally accompanies chicken dessiné dishes, serving both as a drink and dessert to the dish. The pairing has become so prominent in Sierran Creole cuisine that the meal and drink have been declared quintessential components to dining in Saintiana, and has even been declared as one of Sierra's greatest culinary inventions. Soft drink versions of the mayarí conversely are often paired with the hot box version of chicken dessiné or Salsi shawarma plates.

The original recipe is officially recognized and reproduced by the International Bartenders' Association (IBA). Garnier's original mayarí is classified as one of the Contemporary Classics, and frequently appears at the IBA's annual World Cocktail Competitions and World Flairtending Competitions.

Frozen mayarí[edit | edit source]

Frozen mayarí is a common version of the drink that can be made with a variety of flavors and garnishes. Frozen mayarí's ingredients are typically blended in a blender with crushed ice, and further pulverized to create a consistency similar to a smoothie or a slushie. In stores, both non-alcoholic and alcoholic versions of the beverage can be sold, and ice cream or ice pick treats may be prepackaged with mayarí solutions. Such drinks are very popular to consume during the summer, and are often drunk as a digestive, following a lunchtime meal.

Mayarí shop[edit | edit source]

Gully's is the most famous mayarí shop chain

In the 1990s, mayarí shops began to appear throughout the Creole Coast and beyond as cities began lifting restrictions on drinking in the public. Public consumption is permitted in "wet cities", provided that alcohol be carried in plastic or styrofoam cups, in order to prevent dangerous glass or metal debris on the streets. Mayarí shops began off as convenience stores that included a full-service bar, before evolving into standalone bars. Drive-thru service was first introduced at the Gully's in 1998, and despite stringent laws against driving under the influence, provincial law did not explicitly prohibit drinking while driving by the drivers or their passengers. In order to avoid liability, most mayarí shops now post explicit signs warning customers not to consume alcohol while driving, or driving when intoxicated. Some stores have refused to sell the drink altogether to drive-thru customers if the intended drinker is the driver themselves, and is driving alone, or is the only one legally allowed to operate a vehicle. Such establishments declare the drink must be consumed on the premises if a designated driver cannot be presented. Peer-to-peer ridesharing companies such as Uber and Lyft have worked to provide designated drivers for mayarí shop customers.

In popular culture[edit | edit source]

Mayarí gained international exposure and popularity after its preparation was filmed faithfully in the 1944 Brazorian-Sierran film The Drums That Never Beat. It appeared in the final scene as the protagonist, Jim Kennedy, asked for a mayarí for himself and a stranger he sat next to.

Likewise, in Only Once in Paris, in the scenes where the main characters visit Grands Ballons, they are offered mayarí on several occasions, and Buddy remarks how he could not stop drinking them. In various other films during the early Cold War-era, the drink made minor appearances, but was commonly portrayed as a welcoming refreshment.

The popular 1953 hit song by The June Bugs, "The Look She Gives" mentions the drink in its hook and chorus, repeating the drink's name for a total of 15 times. The name was so prominent that it confused most listeners, who began calling the song as the "Mayarí Girl Song" rather than by its actual title. Consequently, sold copies of the song carried the name, "The Look She Gives (The Mayarí Girl Song)".

Sierran indie pop artist LoWavCee recorded a song referred to and titled as "Mayarí" which compares the singer's life experience to the process of creating and drinking mayarís, and how he drinks it to escape life's problems.

See also[edit | edit source]