Mai Tai Drink Recipe

Learn how to make this iconic cocktail, made popular by The Royal Hawaiian hotel on Oahu.

March 29, 2018

There’s some debate about who invented the first Mai Tai. Victor J. Bergeron, aka Trader Vic and founder of the tiki bar of the same name, claims to have invented the rum cocktail in 1944. He made the drink for his friends from Tahiti, who were visiting his original outpost in Oakland, California. As the story goes, after tasting his concoction, one of his friends said, “Maita’i roa ae,” which translates to “the best,” and the name Mai Tai was born. Don the Beachcomber disputes this invention, arguing that the Mai Tai is based on his own libation, the Q.B. Cooler, invented in 1933.

The Mai Tai became associated with Hawaii when it was served by Oahu’s iconic “Pink Palace,” The Royal Hawaiian. Bergeron was hired to create the hotel’s drink menu, and he made a new version of the Mai Tai to appeal to visitors who wanted to sip fruity cocktails on the beach. (We can relate.) It became so popular, it was featured in the Elvis movie Blue Hawaii, and it was said to be one of President Nixon’s favorite drinks. So get your tiki bar stocked and ready: Here’s how to make a Mai Tai at home.

Video by: Jeramey Rice


Mai Tai Drink Recipe

  • 1 ¼ oz. light rum
  • ½ oz. orgeat syrup
  • ½ oz. orange curacao
  • 2 oz. lemon juice
  • 2 oz. pineapple juice
  • 1 oz. dark rum float


Add ice to a cocktail shaker, then add all ingredients except the dark rum and shake well. Strain into a glass with ice. Float dark rum on top and serve.

Serves 1

Products we recommend:

Cocktail Shaker Bar Set
Cocktail Shaker Bar Set Amazon
Colorful tiki mugs
Colorful tiki mugs Amazon
Torani Almond Orgeat Syrup
Torani Almond Orgeat Syrup Amazon

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