Easy Mai Tai Recipe

1 cocktail
5 min

A Mai Tai is a surprisingly refreshing cocktail that conjures up memories of sitting beachside on a tropical island. It’s a rum based drink with a delicious blend of citrus flavors that perfectly balances any sweetness.

While this recipe is not 100% true to the original cocktail, it’s not cloyingly sweet like many Mai Tai recipes that you find beachside catering to tourists. I happen to like a little pineapple juice in my Mai Tai, otherwise it’s pretty much straight liquor. Not to say that this one doesn’t still pack a bit of a punch—sip slowly!


Yes, you can by a Mai Tai mix and simply add rum, but I promise it doesn’t taste nearly as good. Besides, why would you when the recipe is so simple to make on your own at home? Let’s have a Mai Tai for happy hour 😊


FAQS:

What is a Mai Tai?The classic Mai Tai (created by Trader Vic in 1944) was a blend of aged rum, fresh lime juice, orange curaçao, orgeat syrup, and demerara simple syrup. Over the years, the recipe has been modified in many ways, often to the disdain of purists. I say drink what you like.

What’s the best rum for a Mai Tai?An aged, gold rum is traditional with a float of dark rum added later. With that said, I used silver rum in my version simply because that’s what I like.


INGREDIENTS FOR A MAI TAI COCKTAIL:

  • Silver rum (such as Bacardi silver)
  • Orange liqueur (such as Grand Marnier)
  • Orgeat syrup (or Amaretto)
  • Fresh squeezed lime juice
  • Pineapple juice (Not traditional, but I like it.)
  • Dark rum (such as Myers’s)

HOW TO PREPARE:

  • This is a super easy cocktail recipe. Measure the silver rum, orange liqueur, orgeat syrup (or amaretto), pineapple juice, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice into a highball glass. Swirl to mix the ingredients, then top with ice.
  • Float the dark rum on top, and add a pineapple wedge and cherry (optional garnish).
  • Note: Traditional garnish is a mint sprig and lime “boat”.
Add all the ingredients except the dark rum to a highball glass.
Squeeze in the juice of half lime.
Add ice, then float the dark rum on top.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS:

I love having some light appetizers with friends during happy hour. Check out some of these ideas:



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INGREDIENT SUBSTITUTIONS:

  • Orgeat syrup: Amaretto is not as nuanced, but is much easier to find and will still provide the almond flavor in this cocktail.
  • Orange curaçao: An orange liqueur (like Grand Marnier) can be used or even a triple sec (such as Cointreau).
  • Silver rum: Some people prefer an aged, gold rum. Use what you like.


RECIPE NOTES:

  • Do buy a good quality 100% pineapple juice. So many juices add extra sugars, and that will make this drink too sweet.
  • I love highball glasses for specialty cocktails.
  • Check out the full collection of cocktail recipes.


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Recipe details

  • 1  cocktail
  • Prep time: 5 Minutes Cook time: 0 Minutes Total time: 5 min
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Ingredients


  • 1 1/2 ounces pineapple juice
  • 1 1/2 ounces silver rum
  • 3/4 ounce orange liqueur
  • 1/2 ounce orgeat syrup (or Amaretto)
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 ounce dark rum

Instructions


Measure the pineapple juice, silver rum, orange liqueur, orgeat syrup (or Amaretto), and a squeeze of fresh lime juice into a highball glass. Swirl to mix the ingredients, then top with ice.
Float the dark rum on top, and add a pineapple wedge and cherry (optional garnish).

Tips

  • Do buy a good quality 100% pineapple juice. So many juices add extra sugars, and that will make this drink too sweet.

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