Of all the brilliant Tiki drinks out there, the classic Mai Tai cocktail is probably one of the most famous. The traditional Mai Tai recipe uses five ingredients: two types of rum, orange liqueur, lime juice, and simple syrup. This rum-based Tiki drink is on the IBA’s official list of cocktails—for a good reason. The best Mai Tai cocktail is ‘out of this world.’ Like literally. And who wouldn’t want a cocktail like that?
What is a Mai Tai cocktail?
Many people confuse Mai Tai cocktails with tropical, overly-sweet pineapple and rum drinks. Unfortunately, over the years, the original version of the Mai Tai recipe got corrupted by bars and restaurants who made their own versions and tweaked the recipe with cheap bottled mixers and poor-quality rum.
Victor J Bergeron (the inventor of the original Mai Tai recipe) would be the first to tell you that’s not what a classic Mai Tai cocktail is meant to be. He invented this drink back in 1944. After mixing together Jamaican rum, orgeat and orange liqueur, he served it to a couple of Tahitian friends. After tasting it, they exclaimed, “maita’i roa ae!” which is Tahitian for ‘out of this world.’
The best Mai Tai recipe
The Mai Tai recipe is rum-forward with a subtle sweetness from the orange and tartness from the lime. The addition of orgeat syrup adds an interesting almond flavour. It’s lovely and complex—just the way we like it. Serve these at your next summer pool party.