Mai Tai Cocktail Recipe

Pete Capella
(Photo: )

The origins of the Mai Tai are mysterious and shrouded in darkness. Ok, maybe that’s pushing it. But, it is not known who actually invented the cocktail. It was purportedly invented at the Trader Vic’s restaurant in Oakland, California, in 1944. Trader Vic’s rival, Don the Beachcomber, claimed to have created it in 1933 at his bar named for himself in Hollywood. Don the Beachcomber’s recipe is more complex than that of Vic’s and tastes quite different.

“Maita’i” is the Tahitian word for “good”; but the drink is spelled as two words, sometimes hyphenated or capitalized.

The Trader Vic story of its invention is the most fun story, if nothing else. He claims that he created it one afternoon for some friends who were visiting from Tahiti. One of those friends tasted it and cried out: “Maita’i roa ae!” (Literally “very good!”, figuratively “Out of this world! The Best!”) — hence the name.

Mai Tai

2oz Light Rum

1oz Orgeat Syrup

1oz Orange Curacao

1oz Fresh Lime Juice

1oz Float of Dark Rum

Shake all ingredients, except the float, in a cocktail shaker. Strain into an iced collins glass. Garnish with a lime wheel and add a straw.

For a video tutorial check out The Savory bartender, Pete Capella here.

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