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DIY/HI Aloha Friday: Mai Tai is Your Tai

July 29, 2011
Mai Tai by aphonik
Mai Tai, a photo by aphonikon Flickr


The Mai Tai may be Hawaii’s favorite adult beverage, but it wasn’t born in the islands. Two mainlanders claim to have invented it – Don (the Beachcomber) and Vic (the Trader). We’ll go with Vic because his story explains the cocktail’s name. Okay, here’s the story:

Once upon a time (1944 to be precise), in the picturesque city of Oakland, California, Victor Bergeron ( better known as Trader Vic),  created a rum-based drink and served it to two friends visiting from Tahiti. “Out of this world,” they exclaimed.  No, that’s not quite right. They actually exclaimed “Mai tai roa ae,” (which is “out of this world” in Tahitian). Thus, the classic Mai Tai was born! Vic brought his masterpiece to Hawaii in 1953, introducing it at the Royal Hawaiian and Moana hotels, and we’ve all lived happily ever after. The end.

Here’s how to re-create the original Mai Tai at home:

  • Pour two ounces (give or take), 80 proof  J. Wray & Nephew Rum over shaved ice
  • Add the juice from half a fresh lime
  • Add about two teaspoons of orange Curacao and a dash of rock candy (or sugar) syrup
  • Now add a quarter ounce or so of French orgeat
  • Shake well for ten seconds
  • Add a sprig of fresh mint, smile, and drink

If you’re not the classic type and you’d like a more contemporary take on the Mai Tai try this:

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add 1 oz. dark rum, 1 oz. silver rum, 1 oz. coconut rum, 1/2 oz. Cointreau, 1/4 oz. Amaretto, the juice from 1/2 a blood orange and the juice of 1/2 a fresh lime. Shake gently. Strain into a glass filled with ice and garnish with slices of blood orange and lime. Prepare to hit the floor.


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