Mai Tai is a Polynesian-inspired cocktail made with rum, orange curacao, lime juice, and almond syrup. It gained popularity in the 1950s and 1960s and is often associated with tiki culture.
Mai Tai recipe
- 30 ml amber Jamaican rum
- 30 ml Martinique molasses rhum
- 15 ml orange curaçao
- 15 ml orgeat syrup (almond)
- 30 ml fresh lime juice
- 7.5 ml simple syrup
Add all ingredients into a shaker with ice. Shake and pour into a double rocks glass or a highball glass.
Directions for how to make the Mai Tai
- Fill a shaker with ice.
- Add 30 ml amber Jamaican rum, 30 ml Martinique molasses rhum, 15 ml orange curaçao, 15 ml orgeat syrup (almond), 30 ml fresh lime juice and 7.5 ml simple syrup to the shaker.
- Close the shaker and shake it well.
- Prepare an Old fashioned glass or a highball glass.
- Strain the Mai Tai mixture from the shaker into the glass.
- Garnish with a slice of lime and a sprig of mint (optional).
- Serve the drink and enjoy!
Tips for how to make the perfect Mai Tai
- Use fresh juices: The Mai Tai is all about balance, and fresh lime and orange juice are key to achieving that balance. Avoid using bottled juices that can add unwanted sweetness or acidity. Squeeze the juice yourself or use a high-quality store-bought brand.
- Use high-quality rum: The Mai Tai relies heavily on rum, so it’s important to use a good quality one. Aged rums with caramel and vanilla notes work particularly well. Avoid using spiced or flavored rums as they can overpower the other ingredients.
Alcohol-free alternative to the Mai Tai
A tropical fruit punch could be a great alcohol-free alternative to Mai Tai. Mix together equal parts of pineapple, orange, and passion fruit juice with a splash of grenadine syrup. Serve the fruit punch in a tiki glass with a colorful umbrella, sliced pineapple, and a maraschino cherry as a garnish. This refreshing and fruity drink is perfect for any occasion, particularly on hot summer days.
Mai Tai fun facts
- The original recipe for the Mai Tai was created by a bartender by the name of Victor J. Bergeron in Oakland, California in 1944.
- The name “Mai Tai” actually means “good” or “excellent” in Tahitian.
- The Mai Tai was a favorite drink of Elvis Presley, who would reportedly order them frequently during his stays at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki.
- In 1953, the Mai Tai was recognized as the best drink in America by the New York Times.
- The Mai Tai is traditionally garnished with a sprig of fresh mint, a lime wedge, and a totem pole shaped like a tiki idol.