Mai Tai

How to make
the Mai Tai Drink

What rum is best for Mai Tai cocktail?

There exists some discussion on the topic of the ideal rum for the Mai Tai. Many stand by a hogo driven Jamaican dark style while others prefer to blend two or more rums, usually one that is lighter or medium in character and one that is much richer or older. This combination serves many classic Tiki/Tropical-Style drinks well. We think the best tiki rum mai tai combination is that of Dos Maderas 5+3 with the fuller bodied Selección. It works especially well as you bring together the smooth richness of the 5+3 and the spicier edge and potency of the Selección.

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About Dos Maderas 5+3 Rum and Selección

Dos Maderas 5+3 Rum blends the lighter Baja Rum with the richer Guyana style and ages for 5 years in the Caribbean followed by 3 years in Jerez, Spain in Palo Cortado casks. The smooth character of the 5+3 is awash with pleasant vanilla, hazelnut, coconut and subtle maple. The Selección is triple cask aged blended rum that is finished in PX barrels and specially bottled at a higher proof. It has a darker edge with chocolate notes and more pronounced baking spices.

dos-maderas-seleccion-bottle-cocktail-mobile

About Dos Maderas 5+3 Rum and Selección

Dos Maderas 5+3 Rum blends the lighter Baja Rum with the richer Guyana style and ages for 5 years in the Caribbean followed by 3 years in Jerez, Spain in Palo Cortado casks. The smooth character of the 5+3 is awash with pleasant vanilla, hazelnut, coconut and subtle maple. The Selección is triple cask aged blended rum that is finished in PX barrels and specially bottled at a higher proof. It has a darker edge with chocolate notes and more pronounced baking spices.

Ingredients for a Mai Tai - Make a Classic Mai Tai cocktail using a shaker

1.5 oz. Dos Maderas 5+3 Rum

.5 oz. Dos Maderas Selección Rum

.5 oz. Dry Curaçao like Pierre Ferrand

.5 oz. Demerara Syrup (1:1)

.25 oz. Orgeat Syrup

1 oz. fresh lime juice

Mai Tai Recipe - Step by step how to prepare a shaken Tiki Mai Tai drink

1.

Prepare your Demerara Syrup by dissolving 1 part demerara sugar into 1 part boiling water. Let cool.

2.

Chill a Double-Rocks or Highball glass

3.

Cut a lime in half and juice your limes.

4.

Add all ingredients to your shaker

5.

Fill shaker with cracked ice

6.

Shake vigorously for 10 seconds

7.

Double-strain, using a fine mesh strainer to remove excess pulp and ice shards, into your chilled glass

8.

Fill glass with crushed ice

9.

Stir and refresh with more crushed ice

10.

Garnish with a bunch of fresh mint, a lime wheel, an orange peel twist and an edible orchid

11.

Serve with reusable straw.

History and origins of the Mai Tai cocktail

The Mai Tai is probably the most quintessential of recipes born out of the post-WWII era when the cult cocktail culture known as Tiki took the bar world by storm. Its name originates from the Tahitian phrase maita’i roe a’e which means “good” or “excellence” or “out of this world!” if you shout it out in ecstasy. The original recipe is claimed by Victor Bergeron, founder of the Trader Vic’s chain of tropical bars that began in Oakland, California and spread throughout the country and world in the late 1940s through the 1970’s. Trader Vic dates the recipe’s inception as August of 1944 but not without fighting a battle for legitimacy from several others including his predecessor, Don the Beachcomber, a.k.a Donn Beach or Ernest Raymond Beaumont-Gantt. Both of these founding fathers of the Tiki bar scene had a tendency to keep many of their cocktail recipes secret which made for documentation a bit trickier than most and likely led to the less than stellar recreations and riffs of the Mai Tai rum drink for decades. As a general rule, anyone who attempts to add Grenadine to a Mai Tai gets kicked off the boat. Thankfully, professionals and respectable enthusiasts helped reclaim the recipe for modern references in today’s drinking culture. 

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Tips for the Mai Tai Cocktail

Tip 1: Orgeat is a highly aromatic, sweet almond syrup and a little can go a very long way. Brands vary greatly in their sweetness. You can also try making your own orgeat at home.

Tip 2: When preparing your Demerara syrup, try adding a tsp. of lime zest to brighten it up and add an extra lime blossom accent.

Tip 3: A proper Mai Tai is designed to be embellished. If you cannot locate edible orchids, feel free to get creative with your garnish game and incorporate other visual accents like a paper umbrella or a carved orange peel wrapped around some fresh mint like a mini-bouquet-garni. Many bartenders prefer to use the spent lime shell as a garnish in lieu of a lime slice.

Tip 4: A Mai Tai doesn’t shy away from its rich fragrant character. If you are feeling a bit extravagant, try floating an aged overproof rum on top of our drink for an extra kick.

Tip 5: Always give your fresh mint leaves a little rub or smack to better release their aromas when garnishing.

Tips for the Mai Tai Cocktail

Tip 1: Orgeat is a highly aromatic, sweet almond syrup and a little can go a very long way. Brands vary greatly in their sweetness. You can also try making your own orgeat at home.

Tip 2: When preparing your Demerara syrup, try adding a tsp. of lime zest to brighten it up and add an extra lime blossom accent. 

Tip 3: A proper Mai Tai is designed to be embellished. If you cannot locate edible orchids, feel free to get creative with your garnish game and incorporate other visual accents like a paper umbrella or a carved orange peel wrapped around some fresh mint like a mini-bouquet-garni. Many bartenders prefer to use the spent lime shell as a garnish in lieu of a lime slice.

Tip 4: A Mai Tai doesn’t shy away from its rich fragrant character. If you are feeling a bit extravagant, try floating an aged overproof rum on top of our drink for an extra kick.

Tip 5: Always give your fresh mint leaves a little rub or smack to better release their aromas when garnishing.

Mai Tai Variations and types

Bartender Anthony Schmidt subs in banana liqueur for the Orange Curaçao in the original recipe and a macadamia nut syrup for the orgeat for a fun lesson on riffs and building flavors.

This variant created by Spirits Educator/Cocktail Consultant Shannon Mustipher edits down the amount of lime juice, but also incorporates a flaming lime shell as a garnish. 

During the Mai Tai legal wars, Donn Beach once claimed that this recipe, created in the 1930’s was the inspiration for Trader Vic’s Mai Tai. While not sharing more than just the rum and lime juice ingredients, many people claim they taste very similar. You be the judge.

In accordance with the growing preference for more bitter elements in tropical style cocktails, this variation created by bartender Jeremy Oertel, incorporates a hefty dose of Campari in its base.

FAQ

The United States celebrates National Mai Tai Day annually on August 30th. 

No. For decades, the recipe was loosely followed and bars all over had a tendency to make up newer and sweeter versions relying heavily on the addition of grenadine and pineapple. Neither of these should ever be in a Mai Tai.

The best glassware is a Double Rocks or Highball. 

Demerara sugar is partially refined raw cane sugar with a crunchy texture and brownish hue and earns its name from the Demerara region of Guyana although it is produced in other regions as well. If you can’t find it in stores, Turbinado sugar is the best substitute followed by a light brown sugar. Brown sugar in general is molasses flavored processed sugar.

Officially, Victor Bergeron or Trader Vic, owns the claim to its origin after having won a legal court case in the 1970’s to settle the recipe rights. He purported to have developed the recipe for a patron by the name of Carrie Guild in 1944.

Cocktails with Dos Maderas Selección

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