Mai Tai

Mai Tai


  • 60ml Jamaican rum
  • 15ml Curaçao
  • 22.5ml lime juice
  • 15ml orgeat
  • 7.5ml rich simple syrup
No. of Servings:


Mint sprig and spent lime shell


  1. Pour all ingredients into a shaker with ice.

  2. Shake until chilled.

  3. Strain into a rocks glass with crushed ice.

  4. Garnish with a mint sprig and a spent lime shell facing down (representing an island).


  1. There are countless Mai Tai recipes, each with its own spin. The main recipe posted above is closer to the original and it’s meant to get you started on Mai Tais. Understand the main flavor profile of the cocktail and then start experimenting with all the variations out there.

  2. Orgeat is relatively easy to make at home, and it will taste miles better than store-bought options out there. The marzipan flavors are key to this drink, so making the extra effort will go a long way.

  3. If you want to experiment with your Mai Tai recipe, consider flavors that go well with the ingredients already present in the drink: Amaretto, vanilla, falernum, Angostura bitters, etc.

  4. Go easy on the variations, otherwise you’ll overpower the drink – for instance, 7.5ml of Amaretto is fantastic, but more than that and it will dominate the Mai Tai.

  5. Experiment by adding a few drops of vanilla extract to your simple syrup.

  6. You can also add a dark rum float, providing a caramel aroma that will play well with the mint sprig.

  7. Some recipes use a few drops of saline solution. Saline solution is simply salt dissolved in water. The reason why you would use it in a drink is the same reason why you’d use it in cooking - salt emphasizes flavors.

  8. In this particular cocktail, note that almonds (and nuts in general) pair really well with a little bit of salt. You only need a small amount: a few drops of saline solution will elevate your drink without making it salty.

  9. Using guava juice in Mai Tais is particularly popular in Hawaii. It will give the cocktail a slightly pink hue.

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  1. This drink is most likely the creation of Victor Jules Bergeron, most commonly known as Trader Vic, in 1944.

  2. As the story goes, as he was developing this recipe, he offered it to a couple of friends from Tahiti. After tasting it, they exclaimed “Mai Tai-Roa Aé!” which loosely translates to “Out of this world, the best!”.

  3. Another famous personality in the world of Tiki, Donn "Don the Beachcomber" Beach, claimed that the Mai Tai actually came from one of his own drinks, The Q.B. Cooler, created around 1933. Trader Vic disagreed entirely with this statement in Trader Vic’s Bartenders Guide, writing: "anyone who says I didn’t create this drink is a dirty stinker."

  4. The Mai Tai is potentially the most iconic cocktail from Tiki culture. Its popularity exploded in the 50s and 60s.

  5. The Mai Tai was one of Richard Nixon’s favorite cocktails (he was really fond of this style of drinks; see Navy Grog).

  6. The drink was heavily featured in 1961s film Blue Hawaii (also the name of another Tiki-style drink) starring Elvis Prestley.

  7. The drink was so popular that it apparently depleted the world’s rum supplies in the 40s and 50s.

  8. The original recipe features 17-year-old J. Wray and Nephew Jamaican rum, which is no longer available. It is among the rarest and most sought after rums in the world. The only bottle known in the world is owned by Martin Cate from Smuggler's Cove.

  9. Once the 17-year-old J. Wray and Nephew Jamaican rum became unavailable, Trader Vic switched to the 15 year variety, which also ran out. This forced Vic into creating his own blends trying to get as close as possible to the original. 

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