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Mai Tai


Mai Tai

The Mai Tai might be the most famous tiki cocktail, its a drink that everyone’s heard of and many try to take credit for. There are many versions of the Mai Tai but at its heart is a rum and lime juice mixture similar to a Daiquiri with the added nutty sweetness of Orgeat—a syrup flavoured with almonds. Our Mai Tai combines three different rums, freshly squeezed lime juice, triple sec and the all-important orgeat to make a rich and nutty balanced tiki drink.

Dark Rum, White Rum, Overproof Rum, Triple Sec, Lime Juice, Orgeat.

*premium glassware pictured, event glassware may differ.

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The Mai Tai is famous for a reason, this gorgeous drink has everything you want or need from a tiki cocktail; the rich caramel-y warmth of rum, the sharp tang of lime, the subtle floral citrus notes of orange liqueur and the nutty, creamy sweetness of orgeat, finished with a dash of bitters to add an extra depth and garnished with any number of fun fruity decorations, this drink exudes tiki through and through.

As tiki drinks go, the Mai Tai is neither the strongest nor the most complex to make. Tiki drinks tend to contain a list of ingredients as long as a bar-spoon and can take considerable time to produce, as well as packing enough rum to down even the most robust of guests within a few rounds. The Mai Tai keeps things simple, with just a few ingredients, combined to create something greater than the sum of its parts and packing a healthy dose of rum without being overpowering, this is the perfect drink to round out a tiki menu and keep service flowing smoothly.

Because of the relative ease to make compared to its tiki cousins, a menu featuring the Mai Tai has plenty of room for some more extravagant and exciting tiki-drinks. You may want to feature a Zombie, the famous rum drink with a fiery flair, known to pack a punch that lives up to its name.

If classic rum drinks are your thing and you want some other classy options alongside the noble Mai Tai, why not feature the mother of all rum drinks, the classic Daiquiri, this simple but elegant mixture of rum, lime and sugar is a perfectly balanced classic that’s sure to be a hit with everyone.

If you’re interested in featuring the Mai Tai as part of your menu and want to know more about what drinks could be served alongside it, be sure to speak to your event organiser about your options, or check out some other rum-based, classic and tiki style cocktails from our list.


The Mai Tai’s name comes from maita’i, the Tahitian word for “good” or “excellence.” Like with all good classics the origins of the cocktail are still disputed.

Trader Vic is probably the most quoted to have invented the Mai Tai but Donn Beach claims he took inspiration from a punch he made. The punch contained a whole lot of other ingredients so we can assume this wasn’t strictly the case. Trader Vic is said to have claimed “Anybody who says I didn’t create this drink is a dirty stinker.”

Myths & Legends

The Mai Tai is said to have been so popular in America it depleted the stocks of J. Wray Nephews 17 year old rum, the original rum used.

After this, bartenders turned to the 15 year old stock which was also soon sold out.


This from quote tells us what inspired Trader Vic to create the mai tai:

“Trader Vic tells the story of the day he was serving two friends, Eastham and Carrie Guild from Tahiti, at his restaurant in Oakland. Inspired by the simplicity of successful drinks like Martinis, Manhattans, and Daiquiris he set himself to create a new exotic rum drink.

“I took down a bottle of seventeen-year-old rum. It was J. Wray Nephew from Jamaica—surprisingly golden in color, medium bodied, but with the rich pungent flavor particular to the Jamaican blends”, he writes in his book Trader Vic’s Bartender’s Guide. This specific rum needed to be combined with something that didn’t overpower its taste. He took a fresh lime, orange curaçao, a dash of rock candy sugar, and a bit of French orgeat syrup. He shook the mixture with shaved ice, placed half the lime shell on top of the drink and added a branch of mint to it to represent an island. He served this drink to its friends and after Carrie took one sip of it she said, “Mai Tai-Roa Aé,” which means “Out of this world-the best” in Tahitian. There is where he decided to call the drink Mai Tai.”

Ingredients & Equipment


  • 20ml Dark Rum
  • 20ml White Rum
  • 10ml Overproof Rum
  • 10ml Triple Sec
  • 25ml Lime Juice
  • 15ml Orgeat
  • 2-3 Dashes Angostura Bitters
  • Orange Slice and Cocktail Cherry for Garnish


  • Shaker
  • Jigger/Measure
  • Hawthorne Strainer
  • Mexican Elbow
  • Rocks Glass
  • Cubed Ice
  • Crushed Ice
  • Take your Boston glass or small tin
  • Using your jigger to measure, add the rum, triple sec and orgeat to the shaker
  • Using your Mexican elbow and your jigger to measure, squeeze 25ml of lime juice and add to the shaker
  • Add 2-3 dashes of Angostura bitters to the shaker
  • Fill the shaker with cubed ice and seal with Boston tin or lid
  • Shake vigorously for 10-15 seconds
  • Use your Hawthorne strainer to strain the cocktail into your glass before adding ice
  • Fill the glass with crushed ice and pile some on top
  • Garnish with orange slice and cocktail cherry
  • Serve and enjoy!

For larger groups of six or more students, we offer the option to take things private. Our classes are fully portable, and we are able to set ourselves up efficiently and professionally in a wide variety of locations and settings across the capital, the UK, and beyond. You name the location, and we’ll endeavour to make it happen.

Give one of our dedicated event organisers a call on 020 8003 7982. They’ll happily talk you through your options, and answer any questions you may have about both our mobile and in-house cocktail making classes.