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Mai Tai classic cocktail recipe

There are quite a few recipes for the Mai Tai out there. Both “Trader Vic” and “Donn the Beachcomber” claimed to have invented it, but their recipes aren’t really all that similar. When you order a Mai Tai these days, you’ll most likely get a version with orange or pineapple juice.

Mai Tai drink with pineapple wedge


The original Trader Vic’s Mai Tai used no fruit juice but lime, and the Donn the Beachcomber version used grapefruit juice. Therefore, neither original recipe was as sweet as what you usually get in restaurants today.

There are so many variations on this drink, with every bartender tweaking it over the years. Sometimes it’s red, sometimes it’s brownish-yellow, sometimes orange… but always delicious.

And you should play around with this recipe, too. Mix up the two of them. Throw in entirely new ingredients. Try pink grapefruit juice instead of white.

If you enjoy this drink, check out the Zombie, which was also created by Donn the Beachcomber. It features pineapple and papaya juice, which makes it a little fruitier than the Mai Tai.


Trader Vic's Mai Tai Recipe

There are two original Mai Tai recipes - this is the Trader Vic's version. But ever since, bartenders have been tweaking this recipe, so feel free to experiment. Whatever you come up with, it will be a delicious fruity rum cocktail.


  • 1 ounce white rum
  • 1 ounce dark rum
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 ounce orgeat (almond) syrup
  • 1/2 ounce orange curacao
  • mint sprig
  • pineapple spear
  • cherry
  • lime wedge
  • crushed ice


  1. Combine the orgeat syrup, orange curacao, the two rums and the juice from your lime in a shaker.
  2. Add a generous scoop of crushed ice.
  3. Shake everything vigorously and then pour the mixture into a highball glass.
  4. Spear the pineapple, cherry, lime wedge and mint sprig on a toothpick and garnish.

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Donn the Beachcomber’s Mai Tai Recipe

  • 1 jigger dark rum
  • 1 ounce white rum
  • 1/2 ounce Cointreau
  • 3/4 ounce fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 1 ounce fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice
  • 1/4 Falernum*
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 1 dash Pernod
  • 1 cup cracked ice
  • Lime slices
  • Pineapple spear
  • Mint sprig

*Falernum is a complex syrup that’s not always available in stores, and especially not in every country. Fortunately, you can make your own.

Pour all the liquid ingredients into a shaker. Fill it with cracked or crushed ice and shake for thirty seconds. Pour the mixture into a double old-fashioned glass. Garnish with a slice of lime, pineapple, and the mint sprig.


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