Sipping Paradise: The BEST Mai Tais on the Big Island

Wondering where to get the best Mai Tai on the Big Island? Here’s the top contenders, each offering a unique twist on this beloved classic.

The Big Island of Hawaii is a vibrant tapestry of stunning landscapes, rich history, and vibrant culture. But for many, no vacation to this tropical paradise is complete without indulging in its iconic cocktail: the Mai Tai. This rum-based concoction, with its sweet and citrusy notes, perfectly embodies the laid-back spirit of the islands.

I set myself out to the difficult task of scouting out the BEST Mai Tais on the Big Island.

The BEST Mai Tais on the Big Island

Luana Lounge

Nestled amidst lush greenery overlooking the Kohala Coast, the Fairmont Orchid offers a luxurious escape. Their Mai Tai, expertly crafted with premium rums and fresh fruit juices, is a testament to their commitment to quality. The first sip is a burst of tropical flavor, perfectly balanced with a subtle hint of smokiness. Enjoy yours on the scenic deck, soaking in the breathtaking ocean views. They offer nightly live music too!

Mai Tais at Luana Lounge.

Mauna Lani

For a truly authentic Mai Tai experience, head to The Mauna Lani. Their historic CanoeHouse Restaurant boasts a legacy dating back to the 1960s, and their Mai Tai is a true testament to their enduring tradition. Crafted with fresh ingredients and a focus on balance, this Mai Tai is a classic for a reason.

Napua

This beachside cafe is a local favorite for its laid-back atmosphere and delicious Hawaiian-inspired fare. Plus, their special Mai Tai may be my favorite on the Big Island! A modern interpretation of the classic, featuring a macadamia nut orgeat. The result is a sophisticated and refreshingly light cocktail that’s not too sweet. Perfect for sipping as the sun sets over the Pacific.

Mai tai at naupa.

Tommy Bahamas

Located in the heart of Waikoloa Beach Resort, Tommy Bahama’s is synonymous with island-inspired style and casual elegance. Their signature Mai Tai stays true to the classic recipe, featuring a blend of aged rums, fresh juices, and a touch of house-made orgeat syrup. But, they also serve a frozen Mai Tai that’s not to be missed. Check them both out during their daily happy hour. The vibrant atmosphere and friendly service make for a truly memorable experience.

Beach Tree Restaurant Bar and Lounge

Dine beachfront at the Four Seasons at the Beach Tree Restaurant. Enjoy the farm-to-table cuisine, featuring locally sourced ingredients and creative dishes. Sip on their classic Mai Tai while enjoying the beach views.

View from beach house restaurant.

Don the Beachcomber

No discussion of Mai Tais on the Big Island would be complete without mentioning Don the Beachcomber. This legendary restaurant and bar at the Royal Kona Resort is credited with inventing the Mai Tai in the 1930s. Their classic Mai Tai, made with their own secret blend of rums and fresh juices, is a pilgrimage for any true Mai Tai aficionado. The exotic atmosphere and historical significance make this experience truly unique.

Beyond these top picks, the Big Island offers a countless number of other bars and restaurants serving their own variations of the Mai Tai.

So, why not embark on your own Mai Tai adventure and discover your own personal favorite? Just remember to savor each sip and let the tropical flavors transport you to paradise.

Mai tai on beach table.

Bonus Tip: When ordering a Mai Tai, be sure to ask how it’s made. Some bars use pre-made mixes, while others take pride in crafting each cocktail with fresh ingredients. Choosing the latter will ensure you get the most authentic and delicious Mai Tai experience possible.

What’s your favorite Mai Tai on the Big Island? I’d love to hear in the comments below!

PS – Check out this post on the 10+ BEST Big Island restaurants as well. Plus, here’s some of the best things to do in Hawaii.

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