Everyone loves a good Mai Tai. Don’t even try to play that “it’s not manly enough” card — you love it. It’s refreshing, fun and perfect for warm weather.

From the official Trader Vic’s website, which claims the invention of the Mai Tai. They sell more than anyone else in the world each year, so who am I to argue?

In 1944, after success with several exotic rum drinks, I felt a new drink was needed. I was at the service bar in my Oakland restaurant. I took down a bottle of 17-year old Jamaican J. Wray Nephew rum, added fresh lime, some Orange Curacao from Holland, a dash of Rock Candy syrup, and a dollop of French Orgeat, for its subtle flavor. A generous amount of shaved ice and vigorous shaking by hand produced the marriage I was after.

Half the lime shell went in for color … I stuck in a branch of fresh mint and gave two of them to Ham and Carrie Guild, friends from Taihiti, who were there that night.

Carrie took on sip and said, “Mai Tai – Roa Ae.” In Tahitian this means “Out of this World – The Best”. Well, that was that. I named the drink “Mai Tai”.

— Victor Bergeron

During the early 1950’s Trader Vic took the Mai Tai to Honolulu where its fame spread like wildfire. By the early 1960’s, there were several Trader Vic’s restaurants in existence, the Mai Tai had developed into one of the most ordered and well-known drinks throughout the world.

Today, over 2 million Mai Tai’s are sold annually at Trader Vic’s locations across the globe and it remains the only cocktail that truly embodies the Spirit of the Islands.


Mai Tai


  • 1 oz amber Martinique rum
  • 1 oz dark Jamaican rum
  • 1 oz fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 oz orgeat syrup
  • 1/2 oz of Cointreau
  • garnish with mint (a lime if you like)


  1. Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker, except the garnish.
  2. Shake and strain into a rocks glass filled with crushed ice.
  3. Garnish with fresh mint and a lime if it floats your boat.
  4. You can also float some dark rum on top of the cocktail.
Recipe by Trader Vic’s, circa 1944