The Mai Tai Recipe

Posted in Rum on March 3, 2014


The Mai Tai is a very famous cocktail which is mostly associated with the Polynesian culture. In Tahiti, the name of the cocktail literally means “very good”, but it is spelled differently. The history of Mai Tai is pretty controversial. It is supposed to have been invented in the 40s at a Californian bar known as Trader’s Vic. The owner prepared it for its Tahitian guests who exclaimed “Maita'i roa ae!" in their native language. This is how the cocktail allegedly got its name. However, this story was contradicted by a rival of Trader’s Vic who claimed he invented the recipe first. Nevertheless, there were significant differences between the two recipes. Even nowadays, there are numerous variations of this cocktail. The original recipe was using rum, curacao and lime juice, but it was altered in time.

The Mai Tai was very popular in the 50s and the 60s. Its popularity was increased by the fact that it was featured in an Elvis Presley movie. Nowadays the cocktail is strongly associated with tikki culture. Trade’s Vic, the restaurant who claimed the invention, still exists and decided to popularize the cocktail even more by opening Mai Tai bars. Their purpose is to serve cocktails and appetizers.

How to Prepare the Mai Tai

You need the following ingredients:

  • 1 oz. of light rum.
  • 1 oz. of dark rum.
  • ½ oz. of curacao.
  • ½ oz. of orgeat syrup.
  • ½ oz. of lime juice.
  • A maraschino cherry for garnish.

All the ingredients except the dark rum and the cherry should be put into a shaker with ice. Shake them well and strain in an old-fashioned glass over some ice cubes. Use the dark rum to top off the drink and garnish with the maraschino cherry.

A very popular variation of the Mai Tai includes pineapple juice. Some experts argue that this is not the real thing, but nothing can stop you from preparing it at home if you like it. The ingredients for the pineapple version are slightly different:

  • 1 oz. of light rum.
  • ½ oz. of dark rum.
  • ¼ oz. of lemon juice.
  • 1 ½ oz. of orange juice.
  • 1 ½ oz. of pineapple juice.
  • ½ oz. of triple sec.
  • A dash of grenadine.
  • A maraschino cherry for garnish.

The preparation method is similar. All you have to do is to shake well all the ingredients except the dark rum which should be used for topping the drink. This is perfect if you enjoy fruity flavors. On the other hand, if you want the original Mai Tai, you should go for the other recipe.

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