Created on August 2, 2023

Dive into a tropical paradise with a classic Mai Tai cocktail! The Mai Tai, a rum-based concoction, is the embodiment of a Hawaiian getaway in a glass. Known also as "Maita'i," the Tahitian word for "good," it's a beloved staple of Tiki culture.

Orange Mai Tai cocktail with ice by the pool


  • 1 Ounce Aged Rum
  • 1 Ounce Dark Rum
  • ½ Ounce Orange Liqueur
  • ½ Ounce Orgeat Syrup
  • ¾ Ounce Lime Juice
  • 1 Dash Grenadine
  • 1 Orange Wheel (garnish)


  1. Fill a shaker with ice.
  2. Pour the Aged Rum, Orange Liqueur, Orgeat Syrup, Lime Juice, and Grenadine into the shaker.
  3. Shake well for about 10-15 seconds.
  4. Strain into a glass with ice, top with the Dark Rum, and garnish with the orange wheel.
  5. Enjoy!

Recipe Tips

  • As always, fresh lime juice is a must-have for the best natural flavor.

  • Try swapping dark rum for light rum or a combination of both for a different flavor profile.

  • Some people prefer to include the dark rum in the shaker to fully combine the flavors.

What's In A Mai Tai?

The Mai Tai is a harmony of tropical flavors enhanced by the richness of dark rum. The ingredients are dark rum, aged rum, orange liqueur, orgeat syrup, lime juice, and grenadine.

Dark Rum: It's the heart of a Mai Tai. It adds a deep, complex flavor. Go for a high-quality, aged dark rum.

Best Rum for a Mai Tai

It's the heart of a Mai Tai. It adds a deep, complex flavor, so go for a high-quality, aged dark rum. Aged Jamaican rum provides the ideal balance of rich sweetness and subtle spice for a Mai Tai. Appleton Estate is a top choice because it imparts a warm, fruity undertone that makes this cocktail truly shine.

For the aged rum, consider El Dorado 12 Year Old. This Guyanese rum is renowned for its complexity and sweetness, with hints of tropical fruit, toffee, and spice, which marry well with the other ingredients in a Mai Tai. The combination of these two rums results in a Mai Tai with a nuanced flavor profile - a tropical treat indeed!

People love to switch up the rums in a Mai Tai. Spiced rums like Captain Morgan, and coconut rums, such as Malibu, are often substituted in for the aged and dark rums included in this recipe.

Best Orange Liqueur For A Mai Tai

Orange liqueur brings a touch of citrusy sweetness to a Mai Tai, subtly enhancing its tropical charm. While there are various types of orange liqueurs, the most commonly used in Mai Tai is Orange Curacao, although Grand Marnier and Cointreau are both great choices too, particularly if you already have them on hand from making other cocktails, like the Margarita.

For a Mai Tai, Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao is an exceptional choice. This liqueur hails from the home of Curaçao - the Caribbean island of the same name. It’s crafted from the peels of Curaçao oranges and blended with brandy and other ingredients, giving it a deep, complex citrus flavor with a dry finish.

It's slightly less sweet than other orange liqueurs, which helps to maintain the balance in a Mai Tai without overwhelming the cocktail with sweetness.

Orgeat Syrup

Orgeat syrup is a sweet syrup made from almonds, sugar, and rose or orange flower water. Its unique, delicate flavor profile adds depth and complexity to a variety of cocktails, the Mai Tai being one of its most famous applications.

In a Mai Tai, orgeat syrup does more than just sweeten the drink. Its almond and floral notes bring a rich, nutty, and slightly exotic undertone that harmonizes beautifully with the strong rum and bright citrus flavors.

When it comes to choosing orgeat for your Mai Tai, homemade is often best if you have the time and inclination. But if you're reaching for a store-bought variety, look for a high-quality syrup like Small Hand Foods Orgeat. This brand is well-regarded for its robust almond flavor and isn't overly sweet, allowing the other flavors in your Mai Tai to shine through.


The Mai Tai hails from California, born in the 1940s in Trader Vic's Tiki bar. Victor Bergeron, the owner, created this cocktail for some Tahitian friends who exclaimed "Maita'i roa ae!", meaning "Out of this world!". Since then, it has been synonymous with Tiki culture. Today, it's a global favorite, featured in movies like Elvis Presley's "Blue Hawaii", enhancing its fame.


What Does A Mai Tai Taste Like?

A Mai Tai tastes like a tropical dream. The dark rum provides rich, sweet notes, which are balanced by the tart freshness of lime juice. Orange curacao adds a sweet-citrusy element, while orgeat syrup gives a subtle hint of nuttiness. Altogether, a Mai Tai is a balanced blend of sweet, sour, and rich flavors, making it the perfect beachside companion.