Trader Vic's Celebrates the 75th Anniversary of the Mai Tai

The company will pay tribute to the delicious cocktail invented by its founder with a party on National Mai Tai Day.

National Mai Tai Day
The company will pay tribute to the delicious cocktail invented by its founder with a party on National Mai Tai Day.Shutterstock

Trader Vic's is celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Mai Tai in the most appropriate way: by drinking Mai Tais. Begin the festivities by celebrating National Mai Tai Day at home or at a local bar on Aug. 30. Then, join in the official festivities at Trader Vic's Emeryville in California, on Aug. 31.

In addition to live music from the Tikiyaki Orchestra and DJ Speakeasy Ray, this official event will have Trader Vic’s food stations, photo booths, Tiki mug and luau fashion vendors, rum tasting, lei-making opportunities and, of course, Mai Tais.

Cost of entry is $30 for children 12 and under and $75 for adults. Guests have access to all of the entertainment and booths, including unlimited food and two cocktails.

“This is a monumental year for Trader Vic’s,” said Rhett Rosen, chief executive officer of Trader Vic’s Worldwide. “The 75th anniversary of the Mai Tai is much more than a cocktail calendar moment but a time for us to honor the man that created the influential brand that has stood the test of time.”

Mai Tais were invented by Victor “the Trader” Bergeron in 1944 at a service bar in his Oakland, California, restaurant. The San Francisco native hand-mixed 17-year-old Jamaican J. Wray Nephew rum, Orange Curaçao from Holland, a dash of Rock Candy and some fresh lime and garnished it with mint and more lime.

Bergeron, then, offered his drink to visiting friends from Tahiti, and they promptly responded, “Mai Tai-Roa Ae,” which roughly translates to “out of this world — the best” in Tahitian.

While some people believe that National Mai Tai Day is celebrated on June 30, Trader Vic's has staunchly reminded everyone that the real National Mai Tai Day, officially recognized by the city of Oakland, takes place on August 30. But can anyone actually complain about two days for honoring the drink?

Trader Vic’s will celebrate its 85th anniversary in November. The restaurant-Tiki bar combo has 19 locations across the United States, the Middle East and in Asia. It prides itself on being the home of the Mai Tai and Asian fusion cuisines set in a tropical ambiance.

“The occasion also leads us into Trader Vic’s 85th anniversary that will take place this November,” Rosen said. “[It’s a] milestone that is not easily achieved and substantiates the brand’s relevance as much today as when Mr. Bergeron opened the first location in 1934.”