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Trader Vic’s Mai Tai Recipe | Tiki Cocktails

The Mai Tai is a popular tiki drink many people know of but might not know exactly what’s in it. And many bars have their own version of it, while others may be following a completely different recipe. However, the original Mai Tai was created back in 1944 in Oakland, California. Wait, Oakland? Yes, this tropical classic was created by Victor Bergeron, the owner of the famous Trader Vic’s restaurant chain. In the 1940s, the US became OBSESSED with Polynesian culture and the iconic drink was invented. It was said to be so good that it depleted the world’s rum supply in the 1940s and 1950s. Check out the Trader Vic’s Mai Tai recipe below.

trader vics mai tai with ingredients

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mai tai rum dry curacao

What You’ll Need

Jamaican Rum
Martinique Rum
Dry Curaçao
Orgeat Syrup
Raw Sugar
Paring Knife
Cutting Board
Citrus Squeezer for the lime
Cocktail Shaker & Strainer
Cutting Board

Rum Recommendations

There are tons of different rum selections but if you’re using this Trader Vic’s Mai Tai recipe I would suggest using Rhum Clement and Smith & Cross Traditional Jamaican Rum. Trader Vic’s Mai Tai’s are still made today with a combination of Jamaican and Martinique rums. However, when first created in 1944 it was made with two ounces of just 17-Year Old J. Wray & Nephew Jamaican Rum.

mai tai ingredients lime mint rum dry curacao

Trader Vic’s Mai Tai Recipe

1 ounce – Lime
1/4 ounce – Orgeat Syrup
1/4 ounce – Demerara Syrup (raw sugar & water, see instructions below)
1/2 – ounce – Dry Curaçao
1 ounce – Jamaican Rum
1 ounce – Martinique Rum
Half a Spent Lime (garnish)
Mint Spring (garnish)

How to Make A Mai Tai

To make your Mai Tai begin by making your demerara (raw sugar) syrup. All you need is equal parts raw sugar and water. You’ll place it on low heat and let it simmer for about 20 minutes or until all the raw has dissolved. Let it cool, then refrigerate. Then you’ll want to juice your lime. I suggest using a citrus squeezer for this.

trader vics mai tai with lime and mint garnish

Now that you have your demerara sugar syrup ready along with your lime juice you can begin to build your cocktail. Measure the lime, orgeat syrup, demerara syrup, dry curaçao, Jamaican rum, and Martinique rum into your cocktail shaker. Fill with ice and shake for about 8-10 seconds. Then strain into a double rocks cocktail glass.

Fill your cocktail glass with crushed ice. Last, garnish with half of a spent lime and a mint sprig. Enjoy!

woman in polynesian sarong and top with mai tai palm trees in background

If you want more “Cocktails Around the World” check out my other recipes.

If you tried this Trader Vic’s Mai Tai recipe leave a comment below and share a pic on Instagram with the hashtag #lewilddrinks.

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