Mai Tai Cocktail

One of the world’s most fabulous and flavorful Tiki cocktails, Mai Tai is a dry, crisp, and boozy drink perfect for summer parties. This Hawaiian classic strikes the perfect balance of sweet and tart, fruity yet so refreshing!
mai tai pinit

About This Mai Tai Cocktail Recipe

Literally translated to “out of this world” in Tahitian, Mai Tai is an iconic tropical rum drink that showcases the flavors of good-quality rum.

Made with white and dark rum, orange curaçao, orgeat syrup (which is an almond syrup), and fresh lime juice, this drink is breathtakingly complex. Just slightly sweet and with almond notes balancing out the sharp citrus taste, Mai Tai is one of the most popular Tiki drinks in the world.

Its origins can be traced back to the 1930s and ’40s, with several people trying to stake a claim on this creation. It was in the 1940s, however, that Victor “Trader Vic” Bergeron truly perfected the drink as we know it today.

Interestingly, Mai Tai is also one of the most bastardized drinks. Over the years, it has been redone numerous times to include different fruit syrups, creating overwhelmingly fruity and colorful drinks.

A real Mai Tai, however, is not a neon-colored or overly sweet fruit salad. Mai Tai is a fresh and balanced, rum-forward cocktail. Made ideally with two types of rum (dark and light) to give you that boozy effect, along with the unique and irreplaceable orgeat syrup that really makes this drink stand out, Mai Tai, when made right, has no comparison.

Float the dark rum on top, garnish with a lime wheel and mint spring, and you get a sophisticated and nuanced Mai Tai cocktail that stands true to its name — out of this world!

Mai Tai Cocktail

What You Need for This Mai Tai Cocktail Recipe

Mai Tai Cocktail Recipe Ingredients

Ingredient Notes

  • Dark Rum: Use a good quality dark rum with a rich and sweet flavor.
  • White Rum: It gives light vanilla notes to the drink.
  • Orange Liqueur: You can use either Curaçao, Cointreau, or Grand Marnier for a slightly sweet orange taste.
  • Orgeat Syrup: It is a sweet syrup made from almonds, sugar, and orange flower water, and it gives a nice nutty flavor to the cocktail.
  • Lime Juice: Freshly squeezed lime juice delivers beautiful citrus notes, balancing the drink’s sweetness.

Mai Tai Cocktail

Ingredient Substitutions

  • Orange Liqueur: You may use curaçao, Cointreau, or Grand Marnier.

Mai Tai Cocktail


How strong is a Mai Tai cocktail?

Classic Mai Tai cocktails are quite potent and have around 20% ABV.

Mai Tai Cocktail

Difficulty: Beginner Prep Time 5 min Total Time 5 mins


Perfect for summer parties, Mai Tai is an extraordinarily fresh and nuanced rum cocktail that’ll transport you to the sunny beaches of Hawaii!

Yield: 1 cocktail


How To Make Mai Tai Cocktail Step By Step

  1. Add the white rum, orange liqueur, orgeat syrup, and freshly squeezed lime juice into a shaker. Add crushed ice and shake lightly for a few seconds.

    Mai Tai Cocktail Recipe Step 1
  2. Fill glasses with ice and pour the drink over.

    Mai Tai Cocktail Recipe Step 2
  3. Carefully float the dark rum on top and garnish with mint spring and a lime wheel. Enjoy!

    Mahi Mahi Recipe Step 6


  • Orgeat syrup is a non-negotiable ingredient in a Mai Tai cocktail because it has a distinctive nutty flavor with a hint of citrus.
  • To ensure great taste, use good quality ingredients.