What Is in a Mai Tai? The Correct Answer Is Here!

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If you’re looking for a fruity and tropical cocktail, a Mai Tai is your best bet! 

Many believe Victor J. Bergeron is the owner of the first Mai Tai recipe, born at his restaurant in 1944, Trader Vic’s, in California.

The fact is that Mai Tai is one of the most famous Tiki drinks in the world. It is held sway over Tiki lovers and cocktail enthusiasts for decades. This drink even enjoyed a star turn in the Elvis film “Blue Hawaii.”

Despite this delicious cocktail’s popularity, many people get confused about “What is in a Mai Tai?

If you are one of them, this article is for you. So let’s find the answer right now.

What Is in a Mai Tai? 

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The traditional Mai Tai includes rum, orgeat syrup, Curaçao liqueur, and lime juice.

The Mai Tai is known as a traditional cocktail that includes rum, orgeat syrup, Curacao liqueur, and lime juice.

What is Mai Tai Cocktail?

It is a rum-based cocktail. The classic version features dark and light rums, fruit juice  (lime), and almond syrup. 

This drink packs a severe punch because of all the alcohol in it. Many people, including us, consider this charming cocktail the best tiki drink by many people, including us.

Many people believe that the founder of Trader Vic’s, Victor Bergeron, is the father of the actual Mai Tai. It came out in 1944 and has become very popular in tiki culture since then.

What’s in a Mai Tai?

What is in the original Mai Tai? Contrary to what many might think, this drink has no pineapple juice! 

The fact is that it doesn’t contain any juice except lime. Here are the ingredients in the original Mai Tai drink:

    • Aged rum (also called Golden, Anejo, or Amber).
    • Orange liqueur:  Curaçao, Grand Marnier, or Cointreau.
  • Lime juice.
  • Dark and light rum.

Recipe Variations

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Mai Tai currently has many variations.

After introducing the traditional Mai Tai, bartenders began experimenting with their own recipes and developed their own variations. 

You can find these variations in various bars, and many bartenders are still producing these variations recipes even further.

For example, If you ever go to the Trader Vic’s bar, you will find a Guava Mai Tai or Mango Mai Tai cocktail on their menu. 

In addition, Martin Cate from Smuggler’s Cove, also adds chilled sparkling wine to an original recipe to create its Sparkling drink.

How to Make Mai Tai?

what is in a mai tai

How to create a Mai Tai.

Here is a step-by-step guide on making an original Mai Tai cocktail. So let’s gather all the necessary ingredients and get started now.

Needed Ingredients 

  • Aged rum: 3 tablespoons or 1 1/2 ounces.
  • Orange liqueur (Cointreau, Curacao, or Grand Marnier): 1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce).
  • Lime juice: 1 1/2 tablespoons (3/4 ounce).
  • Orgeat syrup: 2 tablespoons (1 ounce).
  • Dark rum: 1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce).
  • For the garnish: Cocktail cherry, Fresh mint, lime wedge,  pineapple slice, etc.

A Step-by-Step Guide

  • Step 1: Put your orange liqueur, aged rum, orgeat syrup, and lime juice in a cocktail shaker. 
  • Step 2: Add ice. Then shake until cold.
  • Step 3: Strain your drink into a glass filled with ice. Top it with your dark rum.
  • Step 4: Garnish your drink with a lime wedge, fresh mint,  pineapple slice, and cherry cocktail.


What Does Hawaiian Mai Tai Recipe Taste Like?

A Mai Tai has citrusy, tart, sweet, and oh-so-refreshing flavor notes. So it comes with all those tropical flavors you can expect when you’re at the Hawaiian beach.

A classic Mai Tai is a strong and tart cocktail with a prominent rum flavor and a bit of lime and orange flavor on the backend. 

It is not a particularly sweet cocktail, although it is okay to change the flavors a bit to your liking.

When Is Ideal to Serve a Mai Tai

The Maitai drink is considered one of the fun and festive cocktails that work well for impressing guests or various parties! It’ll be great as a:

  • Signature drink.
  • Summer drink.
  • Cocktail hour drink.
  • Happy hour drink.
  • Party drink.
  • Dinner party drink.

Which Rum Should I Choose for a Mai Tai?

The original recipe calls for dark and light rum. Whatever your choice, it is essential to use a good-quality one since this drink is mostly rum based.

Yet, it is also not a good time to get the most expensive bottle of aged rum as its flavor would become diluted.

Consider some following great options to create a real Mai Tai cocktail instead. They are inexpensive, and you can expect to find them for under $30 in many liquor stores.

  • Cruzan Aged White Rum.
  • Havana Club Anejo Blanco Puerto Rican Rum.
  • Bacardi Silver.

You can choose Brugal Anejo Rum, which we used for the recipe above.

What Is Orgeat Syrup? 

Orgeat syrup is a non-alcoholic almond syrup, and people often use it to sweeten cocktails. This liquid features a distinctive nutty flavor. It also comes with a hint of citrus that is difficult to replicate.

When it comes to alternatives to orgeat syrup, we believe there is no excellent option that can replace its unique nutty citrus flavor.

A Mai Tai glass will not work without orgeat syrup. In this case, it is a tasty beverage, not a Mai Tai. So how much does orgeat syrup cost? You can buy an Orgeat bottle for about $10. 

Orange Liqueur: Curaçao and Grand Marnier, Which Is Better?

Treacherous Mai Tai recipes will call for orange curaçao. Unfortunately, it can’t be hard to find. Here are some substitutes that work with your Mai Tai recipe:

Grand Marnier – The Perfect Alternative: It is the highest-grade orange liqueur, which brings sophisticated, nuanced flavor. 

Cointreau Will Also Work Well: You can also use Cointreau here. Although its flavor is slightly less nuanced, it will still work great!

How Many Calories Are in a Mai Tai?

There are 309 calories in 1 cocktail of Mai Tai.


So, you’ve reached the bottom of this article. We hope you’ve got the answer to “What’s in a Mai Tai drink?” Then, when someone asks you about the ingredients of this alluring cocktail, you will be all set to show off your wisdom.

Thank you for reading! Please share this article if it was helpful to you.

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