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Exclusive Yummilicious Mai Tai Recipes No One Ever Gave You Before

Mai Tai Recipes
Need a summer-y, cool cocktail to concoct in a jiffy? Try the original Mai Tai recipe or one of its myriad adaptions.
Kashmira Lad
Last Updated: Feb 16, 2018
The year was 1944. I had enjoyed success with several exotic rum drinks but felt a new one was needed.

I knew that the key to a successful cocktail was simplicity, and so, at the service bar of my Oakland restaurant, I took down a 17-year-old J. Wray Nephew rum from Jamaica. It was medium-bodied, but held the rich pungent flavors of Caribbean rums. This great rum was never meant to be overpowered, so I simply took a lime, some orange curacao from Holland, a dash of rock candy syrup and a dollop of French orgeat for its subtle almond flavor, then added shaved ice and shook it by hand. I finished it off with a branch of fresh mint and gave the cocktail to two of my dearest friends, Ham and Carrie Guild from Tahiti, who were there that night.

"Mai Tai - Roe Ae," Carrie said after a single sip, which means "Out of this world - the best". And, at that moment, one of the world's most famous and delicious drinks was born.

~ Victor J. "Trader Vic" Bergeron in an interview given in San Francisco (1970).

And that is exactly how this delicious rum-based cocktail was first concocted. The original recipe is as follows.
The Original Victor J. "Trader Vic" Bergeron's Formula (1944)
mai tai
  • 17-year-old J. Wray & Nephew Rum, 2 oz. (over shaved ice)
  • Holland DeKuyper Orange Curaçao, ½ oz.
  • French Garnier Orgeat [enunciated or-ZHAT] Syrup, ½ oz.
  • Trader Vic's Premium Rock Candy Syrup, ¼ oz.
  • Lime juice, yield of 1 lime
  • Mint sprig, 1
In a cocktail shaker, pour in all the ingredients.

Shake very well. Pour the mixture into a highball glass. Garnish with a fresh mint branchlet and serve with a colorful straw.
cocktail shaker
Cocktail shaker and Highball glass
Colorful straws
Colorful straws
There exists two other Trader Vic versions with slight modifications here and there.
Trader Vic's "Old Way" Mai Tai Formula (1972)
The second version came in after a while.

  • 15-year-old Dark Jamaican rum, 1 oz. (8-year-old would also do, over shaved ice)
  • Saint James Martinique Royal Amber Rum, 1 oz.
  • Lime juice, ¾ oz. (fresh)
  • Orange curaçao, ½ oz.
  • Orgeat syrup, ¼ oz.
  • Rock candy syrup, ¼ oz.
  • Mint sprig, 1
In a cocktail shaker, pour in all the ingredients. Shake very well. Take a handful of crushed ice and put them into a lowball glass and wait till it frosts. Pour the drink into the precooled glass and garnish with a fresh mint sprig.
Today's Trader Vic Mai Tai
This is the version of Mai Tai served at Trader Vic's today.

  • Royal Amber Rum, 2 oz.
  • Trader Vic's Mai Tai Mix, ¾ oz.
  • Lemon juice, ½ oz.
  • Lime squeeze, ¼
  • Maraschino cherry, 1
  • Mint sprig, 1
  • Pineapple wedge
  • Ice (crushed)
In a cocktail shaker, pour in the rum, the Mai Tai mix, and lemon juice. Shake vigorously. Strain the shaken drink into a highball glass with crushed ice in it. Squeeze the lime into the drink and then drop it into the glass. Garnish with pineapple, maraschino cherry, and mint sprig. Serve with a straw.
Obviously, there exist other variations of this delectable drink and we will see some of them below.

But before we go on to the recipes, it must be noted that garnishing plays a vital role when it comes to this cocktail. Mai Tais are generally garnished with the following:
Slice Of Pineapple
Pineapple spear
whole  Mint
Mint (whole or bruised)
lemon peel
Lemon peel
orange slice
Orange slice
Maraschino cherries
Maraschino cherries
Besides these, edible flowers and other fruits are also used.

And now, for the recipes.

Quantity Guide: 2 ounces = 4 tablespoons = ¼ cup
International Bartenders Association (IBA) Version of Tai Mai
Mai Tai is included under the category of "Fancy Drink - Long, medium, short" in the International Bartenders Association's (IBA) list of Official Cocktails with specified ingredient quantities.

  • White rum, 40 ml.
  • Dark rum, 20 ml.
  • Orange curaçao, 15 ml.
  • Orgeat syrup, 15 ml.
  • Lime juice, 10 ml. (fresh)
  • Pineapple spear
  • Lime peel
In a cocktail shaker, pour in the white rum, orange curaçao, orgeat syrup, fresh lime juice and ice cubes. Shake very well. Strain the shaken drink into a highball glass and then pour the dark rum on top. Do not stir to mix. The dark rum layer must float on the white rum layer. Garnish with pineapple spear and lime peel. Serve with a straw.
Adaptation of the "Trader Vic" Formula
Since it is rather difficult to lay hands on all the ingredients mentioned in the original recipe, here's a variation that can be tried at home. But first, you must make the rock candy syrup. For that you shall require the following.

  • Water, ½ quart
  • Sugar, enough to supersaturate the water
Begin by setting a double boiler up with the inner container being a 1-quart Mason jar.
Fill the jar with the water and heat until a steady yet very slow simmer sets in. Now, start pouring in the sugar bit by bit, very gradually and keep stirring the solution to facilitate the complete dissolution of the sugar. The solution will merely bubble with the addition and dissolution of more and more sugar. You will have to keep adding sugar and stirring incessantly for up to 17 - 20 minutes in order for the solution to get supersaturated. The indication that the solution cannot absorb any more sugar is when a few crystals will stay intact and refuse to dissolve no matter how much you stir. Take the Mason jar out of the boiler at this juncture and let it stand unperturbed for 10 minutes. Refrigerate it after that.
mason jar
1-quart Mason jar half-filled with water
  • 12-year-old Appleton Estate Jamaican Rum, 2 oz. (over crushed ice)
  • Holland DeKuyper Orange Curacao, ½ oz.
  • Amaretto Di Amore® liqueur, ½ oz.
  • Homemade rock candy syrup, ¼ oz.
  • Lime juice, yield of 1 lime
  • Mint sprig, 1
  • Lemon wedge, 1
In a cocktail shaker, pour in all the ingredients. Shake very well. Pour into a glass and garnish with a lemon wedge and fresh mint sprig.
Pineapple Mai Tai or "Pai Tai"
  • Light rum, ¾ oz.
  • Dark rum, ¾ oz.
  • Amaretto, ½ oz.
  • Grenadine, ½ oz.
  • Triple sec, ½ oz.
  • Orange juice
  • Pineapple juice
In a cocktail shaker, pour in both the varieties of rum, amaretto, and triple sec. Shake very well. Pour the cocktail into a tall Collins glass filled with ice.
Now, to fill the empty top half of the glass, first pour 1 part of orange juice, followed by an equal amount of pineapple juice. Pour in the grenadine right on top and serve without stirring.
collins glasses
Tall Collins glasses with colorful straws
Samurai Steve's Iowa Mai Tai
  • Pineapple juice, 4 oz.
  • Orange juice, 2 oz.
  • Paramount White Rum, 1 oz.
  • Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum, 1 oz.
  • Bacardi O (orange) Rum, 1 oz.
  • Malibu Rum, 1 oz.
  • Sour mix, 1 oz.
  • Grenadine, ½ oz.
In a cocktail shaker, pour in the both the varieties of rum along with the ice and shake vigorously. Pour the cocktail into a tall glass. Now pour in the pineapple juice followed by the orange juice, the sour mix, and finally the grenadine. Decorate with a colorful cocktail umbrella and serve with twirly straw.
cocktail umbrella
twirly straws
O'Sheas Famous Vodka Mai Tai
  • Raspberry vodka, 3 oz. (over shaved ice, regular vodka would also do)
  • 7 Up, 3 oz.
  • Cranberry juice, 3 oz.
  • Orange juice, 3 oz.
  • Pineapple juice, 3 oz.
In a cocktail shaker, pour in all the ingredients. Shake very well. Serve either after straining or as it is, if you want the icy bits.
Don the Beachcomber's Mai Tai Version
  • Water, 2 oz.
  • Golden rum, 1½ oz.
  • Dark rum, 1 oz.
  • Grapefruit juice, 1 oz. (fresh)
  • Sugar syrup, 1 oz.
  • Lime juice, ¾ oz. (fresh)
  • Cointreau, ½ oz. (triple sec would also do)
  • Falernum syrup, ¼ oz.
  • Angostura bitters, ½ tsp.
  • Pernod, ¼ tsp. (Herbsaint or any other anisette-flavored pastis would also work)
  • Maraschino cherry, 1
  • Mint sprig, 1
  • Pineapple wedge
  • Ice (crushed)
In a cocktail shaker, add the water, golden rum, dark rum, grapefruit juice, sugar syrup, lime juice, Cointreau, falernum syrup, Angostura bitters, Pernod, and the crushed ice. Shake vigorously. Strain the shaken drink into a highball glass. Garnish with pineapple, maraschino cherry, and mint sprig. Serve with a straw.
Australian Mai Tai Cocktail or "Aussie Beachcomber"
  • Spiced rum, 2 shots
  • Cointreau, 1 shot
  • Orgeat syrup, 1 shot
  • Mint sprigs, 3
  • Agave nectar, a splash
  • Ice (crushed)
Begin by precooling a old-fashioned glass (a.k.a. lowball glass or rocks glass) with ice.
In a cocktail shaker, add the Spiced rum, Cointreau, orgeat syrup, mint sprigs, agave nectar, and more crushed ice. Shake vigorously and pour into the precooled glass with the ice.
Old fashioned glass
Old-fashioned glass with ice
Fuji & Jade Garden Mai Tai Version with Guava-flavored Rum
  • Cruzan Estate Light rum, ¾ oz.
  • Cruan Guava rum, ¾ oz.
  • Zaya 12-yr Trinidad rum, ¾ oz.
  • DeKuyper Triple Sec Liqueur , ½ oz. (Cointreau would also do)
  • Trader Vic's Macadamia liqueur, ½ oz. (¾ oz. of Amaretto can also be used instead)
  • Nellie & Joe's Famous Key West Lime Juice, ½ oz.
  • Velvet Falernum, ½ oz.
  • Mint sprig
  • Orange slice
  • Pineapple spear
  • Ice
Begin by adding the light rum, guava rum, macadamia liqueur, triple sec, lime juice, and falernum into an iced mixing glass and stir well to mix. Once thoroughly mixed, pour the drink into a 12 US fl. oz. double old-fashioned glass. Finally, pour the Zaya 12-yr Trinidad rum right on top as the floater. Garnish with mint sprig, pineapple spear, and orange slice and serve with a straw.
Maui Mai Tai
  • Light rum, 3 oz.
  • Dark rum, 3 oz.
  • Guava juice, 2 oz.
  • Lime juice, 2 oz. (fresh)
  • Pineapple juice, 2 oz. (fresh)
  • Orange curaçao, 1 oz.
  • Orgeat syrup, 1 oz.
  • Rock candy syrup, 1 oz.
  • Mint leaves, to garnish (crushed)
  • Pineapple wedges
  • Lime wedge
Precool 2 highball glasses with shaved ice. Add the light and dark rum, guava juice, lime juice, pineapple juice, orange curaçao, orgeat syrup, and rock candy syrup into a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously for 10 minutes straight. Once thoroughly mixed, strain and pour the drink into the iced glasses. Garnish with bruised mint, pineapple spear, and lime wedge and serve with a straw.
Mango Mai Tai
  • Margarita mix, 1½ oz.
  • Pineapple juice, 1½ oz.
  • Captain Morgan Parrot Bay Mango Rum, 1¼ oz.
  • Orgeat syrup, ¼ oz.
  • Grenadine, ¼ oz.
  • Pineapple slice, 1
  • Cherry
  • Ice
In a cocktail shaker, pour in margarita mix, pineapple juice,mango rum, orgeat syrup, grenadine, and ice cubes. Shake very well. Pour drink into a highball glass and garnish with pineapple slice and cherry. Serve with a straw.
So, there you have it - recipes of the original Mai Tai as the drink was intended to be as well as flavored versions of the cocktail. Mai Tai makes for a delicious and refreshing drink for the summers when the heat is beating us all down. Drink with discretion though and avoid driving after enjoying it. Solution? Concoct this colorful delight at home and enjoy!
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Mai Tai Cocktail