Take Your Mai Tai To The Next Level: The Hawaiian Classic Cocktail Recipe

Elevate Your Mai Tai: Hawaiian Cocktail Recipe

Make Mai Tai Cocktails

Do you have a craving for something sweet, tropical and refreshing? The mai tai cocktail is the perfect drink to satisfy your thirst! Originating in Hawaii, this iconic classic has been enjoyed for generations. But what exactly makes a mai tai so special?

The Mai Tai cocktail is made with white rum, orange curacao liqueur, lime juice, simple syrup, and orgeat syrup. The combination of sweet and tangy flavours makes it a great choice for any summer occasion.

In this blog, we’ll dive deep into the history of this popular beverage and explore why it’s become an international favourite. We’ll also look at what types of rum are best suited for a mai tai and provide step-by-step instructions on how to make one from scratch.

So let’s mix up a batch of this delicious Hawaiian treat and get ready to enjoy some island vibes!

The History Of The Mai Tai

The Mai Tai is a classic tiki cocktail that has been around since 1944. It was invented by Victor J. Bergeron, better known as Trader Vic, to showcase the flavour of a 17-year-old J. Wray and Nephew Jamaican rum.

The original Mai Tai recipe called for white rum, orange curaçao liqueur, lime juice, simple syrup, and orgeat syrup to be shaken with ice and served over crushed ice in an old-fashioned glass.

Over the years, many variations of the Mai Tai have been created by adding different ingredients like dark rum, pineapple juice, grenadine or other fruit juices. Because of its popularity, it is said that by the 1950s, world rum supplies had been depleted due to demand for this cocktail! 

The Mai Tai remains popular today and is a must-have at any summer party or gathering.

No Mai Tai is complete without rum, and choosing the right rum can make all the difference. The key to getting the perfect flavour for a Mai Tai is using a combination of light and dark rums.

Light rum adds a sweet, mellow flavour, while dark rum adds depth and complexity. A good quality white rum like Bacardi Silver is an excellent choice for light rum, as it has a smooth taste with subtle notes of citrus and vanilla. For dark rum, you may want to try a gold or black spiced rum like Mount Gay Black Barrel – this will add just the right amount of sweetness and spice to your drink.

Whether you’re looking for something simple or something more complex, plenty of great rums will make your Mai Tai truly special!

Original Vs More Commonly Used Rums

The original rum used is still the gold standard when making a Mai Tai. Rhum Clément VSOP Martinique rum and Appleton Estate Reserve Blend Jamaica rum are considered by many to be the best combination for a classic Mai Tai.

However, this combination can be expensive and hard to find, so many people opt for cheaper alternatives like Bacardi Silver light rum and Kraken or Mount Gay Black Barrel dark spiced rums. These more common rums will still provide a delicious Mai Tai but won’t have quite as much complexity or depth of flavour as their more expensive counterparts.

Ultimately, the decision is up to you – if you’d like to experience the classic Mai Tai recipe as originally intended, go for the higher quality rums. But if you’re looking for something simpler and cheaper, then one of the alternative rums will do just fine!

The Ingredients Used To Make Mai Tai

The Mai Tai cocktail is a classic tiki drink that will please any crowd. It consists of light and dark rums, pineapple juice, Cointreau or other orange liqueur, orgeat (an almond syrup), and fresh lime juice. To make the perfect Mai Tai, it’s important to select the right ingredients.

Light rum (also known as silver or white rum) should be used for the lighter base of the drink. Popular brands include Bacardi Silver, Sailor Jerry’s White Rum, and Don Q Cristal. For darker notes in your Mai Tai, reach for a dark rum such as Kraken Black Spiced Rum or Mount Gay Black Barrel Dark Rum.

For a sweet note in your cocktail, you’ll need an orange liqueur like Cointreau or triple sec. Orgeat syrup adds a unique almond flavour that can’t be replaced with anything else – look for one labelled “Bar Syrup” at your local liquor store for the best results.

Finally, don’t forget the pineapple juice! This tropical addition isn’t traditional but adds great flavour and texture to your Mai Tai. Make sure to use freshly squeezed lime juice instead of bottled concentrate – its tartness perfectly balances all the sweetness!

Orgeat: What It Is, And Why It's Important

Orgeat is an almond syrup essential for making a classic Mai Tai cocktail. It is made with blanched almonds and orange flower water, creating a unique flavour that can’t be replicated with other ingredients.

Its creamy and nutty taste adds a layer of complexity to the drink, making it one of the most popular tiki drinks around. Although orgeat can be difficult to find in many stores, it’s worth the effort as its flavour elevates the Mai Tai experience. You can substitute Disaronno or almond syrup if you cannot find orgeat specifically for this recipe.

How To Make A Mai Tai Cocktail From Scratch

The Mai Tai is a classic tiki cocktail that will make a splash at your next gathering. To make this delicious drink from scratch, you need pineapple juice, light rum, Cointreau, lime juice, and orgeat. Start by combining all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake well until chilled. 

Strain the mixture into a glass filled with fresh ice and top with dark rum for an extra kick of flavour.

Finally, garnish with a lime wheel or pineapple wedge and enjoy! Orgeat is an almond syrup that can’t be replicated, but Disaronno or almond syrup can be substituted if you cannot find it. You can create a delectable Mai Tai right at home with just a few simple steps!


The Mai Tai is a classic Hawaiian cocktail that has been enjoyed for generations. Made with rum, orange liqueur, lime juice, and orgeat syrup, it’s a sweet and tangy drink perfect for any summer gathering. Whether you’re on a beach in Hawaii or just dreaming of one at home, this refreshingly tropical classic will surely transport you immediately.

Now, you know how to make these amazing and perfect Mai Tai cocktails for your night outs. Make your own at home and enjoy!


Is Mai Tai a strong drink?

Most mai tai recipes are potent drinks, mixing up to around 20% ABV (40 proof) with two 80-proof rums. The amount of alcohol will vary; some mai tais are stronger, while the fruitier recipes are slightly lighter.

Why is it called a Mai Tai?

The story goes that one evening in 1944, Bergeron tested a new drink on two friends from Tahiti, Ham and Carrie Guild. After the first sip, Carrie is said to have exclaimed, “Mai tai-roa aé”, which in Tahitian means ‘out of this world – the best!’. Thus, Bergeron created and named the Mai Tai cocktail.

What flavour is a Mai Tai?

A classic Mai Tai is a tart and strong cocktail with a prominent rum flavour and a bit of orange and lime flavour on the backend. It’s not a particularly sweet cocktail, although you can change the flavours to your liking.

Contact Us

Company Address:

Pearl Lemon Catering Ltd.
International House,

47 Blandford St, London W1U 7HQ, United Kingdom

Contact Details:

UK: +442081632608


Recent Posts

Contact Us