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Mai Tai Cocktail

  • Veg
    • 10mins
    • Serves 1
    • Easy



    There are a countless number of cocktails one can enjoy, but there are only a few with as rich a history as the Mai Tai. Falling under the category of rum tiki cocktails, the Mai Tai is deservedly at the height of its popularity. If you want to partake in that history while sipping this strong, invigorating cocktail, keep reading.

    Victor Bergeron, known for his multi-million dollar empire of Trader Vic restaurants, claims to have created the Mai Tai at one of his restaurants in Oakland, California towards the end of World War II in 1944. He succeeded in creating this legendary cocktail in an attempt to fashion something exciting for his visiting friends from Tahiti. As one of his Tahitian friends took a sip he blurted out, “MaitaI roa ae!” which means, “Out of this world!” Mr. Bergeron reduced the phrase to its phonetic base, and the rest is history.

    As you can tell from the ingredients list, the Mai Tai is not for those with weak stomachs, but for hardened men of steel, befitting of the tumultuous era that gave birth to it. Before you begin mixing the ingredients keep in mind that the genuine Mai Tai should have a deep blue amber color, and not be excessively sweet. Once you make it successfully, you will be confident in making future ones in just a couple of minutes. On a final note, the original Mai Tai was concocted with ‘17-year old, Jamaican J. West Nephew Rum’, which ceased being in circulation long ago. Fortunately, there are always suitable alternatives; the most appropriate being either ‘Rhum Clément VSOP Martinique Rum’ or ‘Appleton Estate Extra Dark Jamaican Rum’, for both light and dark rums respectively.

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    How to Make It

    1. Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker and add about 2 cups of crushed ice.
    2. Shake vigorously until the shaker becomes somewhat cold on the outside.
    3. Pour the content (do not strain) into an old-fashioned glass.
    4. Add garnish; sink a lime shell into the ice and add a sprig of fresh mint.

    Note: Lime shell is part and parcel of tiki cocktails. In cocktail terminology, it means half a lime is emptied out in order for it to sit inside the cocktail glass.


    Mai Tai skyrocketed in popularity after being featured in the 1961 movie, Blue Hawaii, starring Elvis Presley, the Rock’n Roll icon of the era.


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