Probably the most famous Tiki drink in the world is the Mai Tai. Made with rum, fresh lime juice, orange curacao, and orgeat, which is a sweet almond syrup. Victor Bergeron (Trader Vic) often takes credit for inventing the Mai Tai in his Trader Vic’s bar in the 1940s. There are many Mai Tai recipes that include bitters, amaretto, grenadine, orange, and grapefruit juices, none of which are part of the original recipe. That is because Bergeron kept the recipe a secret for almost 30 years, forcing other bar owners to guess what is in the popular drink so they can replicate it. The original recipe included a very specific rum (a 17-year-old Jamaican J. Wray Nephew rum). Unfortunately, it’s no longer being produced.
The reason behind the legendary Tiki cocktail is to showcase quality rum, and so it did. And the name… well, it roughly translates to “The Best, Out of this world” from Tahitian. Maybe that is what the 1st one to try the drink said.
The drink was really popular in the 1950s and 1960s and almost every bar served it. They also featured it in the 1961 Elvis Presley film “Blue Hawaii”.
On the list of IBA Official Cocktails.
- 1 ½ Ounce (45 ml) of white rum.
- ¾ of an Ounce (25 ml) of Jamaican dark rum.
- ¾ of an Ounce (25 ml) of fresh lime juice.
- ½ Ounce (15 ml) of Orgeat.
- ½ Ounce (15 ml) of orange curacao.
- Optional – ¼ of an Ounce of Simple Syrup
- Garnish – there are so many choices… lime, pineapple slice, cherries, fresh mint, orange slice.
- Add the white rum, lime juice, orange curacao, and orgeat into a shaker with crushed ice and shake.
- Pour into an Old Fashioned glass /rocks glass and add a bit more crushed ice.
- Float the dark rum on top.
- Garnish and enjoy.