The Mai Tai first appeared way back in 1944 and has undergone many transformations in the intervening years. Some Mai Tai recipes are really just alcohol heavy versions of the Bahama Mama, while others bear absolutely no resemblance to the Polynesian original at all.
For a start, if the recipe doesn’t include Orgeat syrup, it’s not a Mai Tai. Orgeat is a sweet syrup of Italian origin, made from almonds and rose water. Other flavors are also available, including an orange-based Orgeat which is perfect for using in a Mai Tai.
Secondly, the overall flavor of the drink must be orange. Not coconut, not pineapple – orange. Switching Triple Sec for the Orange Curacao is acceptable, but you need to respect the underlying citrus flavor of the cocktail.
Our Mai Tai Cocktail recipe is the one accepted by the International Bartender’s Association. An IBA Official Cocktail is one that is used in the annual World Cocktail Competition in bartending. The Mai Tai is listed under the “Contemporary Classics” category.
Here’s what you’ll need to make a real Mai Tai:
- 30ml Dark Rum
- 15ml White Rum
- 15ml Orgeat syrup
- 15ml Orange Curacao
- 30ml Lime juice
- Pineapple piece, cherry, and mint leaf to garnish
- Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.
- Add all of the ingredients.
- Shake vigorously.
- Fill a Highball glass with ice.
- Pour in the contents of the cocktail shaker.
- Garnish with a pineapple and cherry skewer and a fresh mint leaf.