Tiki Summer 2021: The Only Mai Tai Recipe You Need

History Of The Mai Tai

Imagine a cocktail so popular it depleted the supply of a specific liquor throughout the world. That’s what the Mai Tai did! In Oakland, CA in 1944, The Trader Vic’s restaurant gave birth to the Mai Tai.

Originating from the Tahitian word Maita’i, meaning “excellence,” once you take a sip you can’t deny the well-fitting name. Made of rum (plenty of rum), lime juice, orgeat, and orange curaçao. Many variations exist that add in pineapple juice, grenadine or other fruity ingredients. My recipe stays very close to the Trader Vic’s recipe, with a small addition of 1oz. pineapple juice.

What is orgeat?

Mai Tai

Orgeat is a syrup made from sugar, almond, rose and orange. It’s very popular in tiki cocktails and has a specific taste that is so important to the flavor of a mai tai.

There are several recipes to help guide you orgeat online, but if it’s your first time using it at home go for the store bought stuff. Bevmo or other well-stocked liquor stores should have orgeat syrup available on their shelves.

What is curaçao?

This is a liquor made from the dried peel of laraha fruit. This fruit is indigenous to the island of Curaçao. Many of you have either had or seen a bright blue cocktail before, right? It is a blue curaçao that makes the drink blue. While the blue visual makes the drink taste somehow “blue” it is still just the orange flavor. Blue food coloring is added to that liquer to make it blue. Who would have guessed.

Time to make a Mai Tai!

Tiki Summer Mai Tai

The Ultimate Summer Cocktail

Course Cocktails
Cuisine American
Keyword cocktails

Prep Time 5 minutes

Servings 1 Person

Cost 8


  • Cocktail shaker
  • Jigger
  • Glassware of your choice


  • 1.5 oz. Light rum
  • 1 oz. Fresh lime juice
  • 1 oz. Pineapple juice
  • .75 oz.  Orange curaçao
  • .5 oz. Orgeat
  • .5 oz. Dark rum
  • Lime wheel, cherry, mint or garnish of choice


  • Add the light rum, curaçao, pineapple juice, lime juice and orgeat into a shaker with ice and shake lightly for 3-5 seconds
  • Pour into glass
  • Top with dark rum
  • Garnish with preferred topping