Traditional Mai Tai

Traditional Mai Tai Cocktail

Base Spirit: Rum

Type: Classics, Tiki / Tropical

Served: On the Rocks

Preparation: Shaken

Strength: Medium

Difficulty: Medium

Flavor Profile: Sour, Sweet

About the Traditional Mai Tai Cocktail

In Tahitian, “Mai Tai” means “The best—out of this world,” as exclaimed by the first person to taste Trader Vic’s original version. The iconic tiki drink was created to showcase the flavor of good quality rum, and should never be neon-colored or overly sweet. A proper Mai Tai is a deep amber hue and allows the rum to shine through.

Ingredients in the Traditional Mai Tai Cocktail

  • .75 oz Fresh lime juice
  • .25 oz Rock candy syrup (2 parts sugar, 1 part water)
  • .25 oz Orgeat almond syrup
  • .5 oz Orange Curaçao
  • 2 oz Premium aged rum (Appleton Estate 12-Year-Old, El Dorado 12- Year-Old)

Garnish: Lime rind and fresh mint sprig

Glass: Double Old Fashioned

How to make the Traditional Mai Tai Cocktail

Add all the ingredients to a shaker and fill with crushed ice. Shake vigorously until the shaker is well-chilled and frosty on the outside. Pour (unstrained) into a double Old Fashioned glass. Garnish with half of a juiced lime and a fresh mint sprig.

More Great Food & Drink Stories from Across the Web


  1. Kahuna Kevin says

    That drink’s picture is FAR too light to include the listed ingredients. Aged and Demerara rums are dark amber to nearly black when holding the bottles.

    And if you like Tiki cocktails then please stop by my KahunaKevin[dot]com website and facebook page.

  2. I agree with K.K. That looks like a Mojito to me!

  3. “Premium aged rum?” Seriously?

    Go back to the proper recipe, please. This is weak.

  4. Midwest Imbiber says

    I used Mount Gay Special Reserve and thought this was delicious. Next time I make it I will use all orgeat and no sugar syrup ’cause I like almond flavor. I added a little fresh OJ halfway through drinking it and both versions were great.

  5. Hi Everyone! I don’t know the Martin Cate and i’ve never been there but in my opinion that recipe of the Mai Tai is wrong! Probably the Martin Cate is a very nice bar and I’m sure that they make very good drinks but i think that we can’t call it Mai Tai. I suggest you to read the blog of mr Jeff Berry the man who dedicated a big part of his life researching tiki culture.

    “A proper Mai Tai has a deep amber hue, because it’s the liquor that should dominate the drink, not the sweeteners. Unfortunately, 17-year-old J. Wray & Nephew rum is a thing of the past. But by replacing it with an aged Martinique rum mixed with a premium Jamaican rum we can approximate Vic’s original goal of “creating a drink that would be the finest drink we could make, using the finest ingredients we could find.”

    I think that Appleton Estate works very well in this kind of drink. and we have to remember that the goal of mixing different kind of rum in the tiki mixology was to create a distinctive aroma. Thus, in the case of Mai Tai simply maintaining the style of the two rum used in the “original” recipe (dark Jamaican and Martinique Aged) and varying the brand (i.e. Meyers instead of Appleton etc…) we can get significantly different results .

    And about rock candy syrup…
    I think it an over-saturated sugar syrup (in proportion of 3:1 or more).
    It was named that way for the sugar crystals that didn’t melt in the water.

    Obviously this is just my opinion after having studied and experimented a bit the wonderful world of tiki culture.
    Thank you and sorry for my bad english!

Speak Your Mind

leaderboard bottom