This classic Mai Tai is a Hawaiian favorite. This simple drink recipe comes with easy instructions for making a single cocktail or a pitcher – perfect for parties!
Since most of us aren’t going to the Hawaiian islands anytime soon, now is the perfect time to celebrate with a Mai Tai at home.
Rick and I love going to Hawaii. Actually we’re very lucky in the fact that Rick has to go there for business at least once a year. And I get to just veg out and chill.
Which is good, because Rick doesn’t really go on tropical vacations to lay by the pool or on the beach. He’s more into adventure – hiking, paddle boarding, snorkeling, etc.
But we do get into a little Hawaiian routine when we’re there. We normally wake up super early (easy to do with the time zone difference from the western united states), grab some Kona coffees, and head to the hot tub while we finish those.
Then, every evening we head to the local bar for Happy Hour Mai Tais.
Lately our Hawaiian routine just consists of a couple of our own Mai Tai cocktails on the back patio. It’s no tiki bar, but I’ll take it!
What is a Mai Tai Cocktail?
- It’s said that the actual mai tai was created in 1944 by the founder of Trader Vic’s, Victor Bergeron. Since then, it’s become very popular in tiki culture.
- A Mai Tai is a rum based cocktail. The classic version with light and dark rums, almond syrup and A traditional Mai Tai is a rum based cocktail. The classic version has light and dark rums, almond syrup and fruit juice (pineapple and lime). They pack a serious punch due to all the alcohol in them. And they’re one of the best tiki drinks in my opinion.
What is the Best Rum for a Mai Tai?
The original Mai Tai recipe uses light and dark rum. You want to be sure to use a good-quality rum, since this cocktail is mostly rum based. However, this is also not the time to reach for your most expensive bottle of aged rum, since its flavor will become diluted.
Here are some great rum options for making a real Mai Tai drink. They can be found in the liquor store for under $30:
- Bacardi Silver
- Cruzan Aged White Rum
- Havana Club Anejo Blanco Puerto Rican Rum
As for the dark rum, and mid-quality dark rum will do (since it’s just a float), but you do NOT want spiced rum for this recipe.
Mai Tai Ingredients
- Light Rum (also called silver rum or white rum)
- Dark Rum (not spiced)
- Pineapple Juice (this is not traditional, but I love it in my version)
- Cointreau (or triple sec or any orange liqueur – read about the differences here)
- Orgeat (almond syrup or Disaronno)
- Lime Juice (fresh squeezed)
You will also need
What is Orgeat?
- Orgeat syrup is made from blanched almonds and orange flower water. It has a delicious, creamy & nutty flavor that is essential to the maitai. However, if you are unable to find orgeat, or if you don’t want to purchase it specifically for this recipe, you can substitute Disaronno or almond syrup.
How Do You Make a Mai Tai Cocktail From Scratch?
- Combine pineapple juice, light rum, cointreau, lime juice, and orgeat in a cocktail shaker.
- Shake with ice. Add ice to the cocktail shaker, then cover and shake well, until chilled.
- Strain. Strain the mixture into a glass filled with fresh ice.
- Top with dark rum.
- Garnish. Sprig of mint, lime wheel, pineapple spear, if desired.
- Serve. Love at first sip.
How Do You Make a Pitcher of Mai Tais?
- Simply use the recipe card below and adjust the original recipe to “8 servings” by clicking on the box. Add all ingredients (including dark rum) to a pitcher and stir to combine. Add ice and serve.
More Hawaiian Recipes:
More Tropical Cocktail Recipes:
- Tropical Pineapple Cocktail Recipe
- Grilled Pineapple Margarita with Jalapeno
- Cherry Moscow Mule
- Paloma Cocktail Recipe
Classic Cocktail Recipes:
- Espresso Martini Recipe
- Gin and Tonic Recipe + 3 Ways to Customize
- French 75 Cocktail Recipe
- Bees Knees Cocktail Recipe
- Aviation Cocktail Recipe
Mai Tai Recipe
- 1 1/2 ounces pineapple juice
- 1 1/2 ounces light rum
- 3/4 ounce cointreau (or triple sec or Gran Marnier)
- 3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
- 1/2 ounce orgeat
- 1/2 ounce dark rum
- Pineapple wedge
- Maraschino cherries
- Mix pineapple juice, light rum, cointreau, lime juice, and orgeat in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain over ice. Float dark rum on top.