Recommended Guyana + Jamaican + Martinique Rum Combo
Some famous tiki-centric bars even tend to use 3 different rums to form the alcohol base for this drink. An example here would be using Guyana rum, Jamaican rum and Martinique rum in 4:4:1 proportion.
The El Dorado 15 years old rum comes from Guyana and brings a strong flavor profile into a Mai Tai in addition to a striking sweetness.
The Compagnie des Indes Jamaica 5 yearsold rum brings a handful of ester flavors into a Mai Tai. It thus provides a fruity and complex component to the drink.
Combine the above rums with the matured Clément Rhum agricole blanc from Martinique. A rhum agricole gives the Mai Tai a beauty that elevates it from being merely good to being excellent. In other words, more refined and complex.
Best Rum For Mai Tai Drinks
The Classic Mai Tai recipe has 3 kinds of rum in it: light, gold, and dark.
I told you its a strong drink! Three kinds of rum pack a punch.
Im sure that a purist would tell you you HAVE to buy top shelf rum but get what you like or what you want to spend.
I do recommend Bacardi and Meyers for the light/dark but get what you like!
The gold and light rum go in the cocktail mix itself and the dark rum is floated on the top .
For An Extra Boozy Mai Tai: Hamilton Navy Strength Rum
Like Smith and Cross, this offering from the Hamilton portfolio is bottled at 114 proof. A blend of Jamaican pot still rum and Guyanese demerara rum, it is the color of molasses and equally as rich and viscous. In a Mai Tai, the rum lends notes of tobacco leaves, treacle, vanilla and barbequed pineapples. When its paired with a rhum agricole thats equally as potent, it makes for a Mai Tai thats as dangerous as it is delicious.
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How To Make A Tropical Mai Tai According To The Experts
If there’s one cocktail that defines a perfect getaway to the Hawaiian isles, it’s the Mai Tai.
A delicate blend of citrus, with hints of almond and a smoky rum, Hawaii’s Mai Tais are both sinfully strong and delightfully sweet. Tourists love to order them and they’re a go-to drink that Hawaii locals are unashamed to order .
Plus, they’re a deliciously Instagrammable beachside buzz.
The Royal Hawaiian’s Scratch Mai Tai from their famed Mai Tai Bar in Waikiki.
Although the Mai Tai looks almost too perfect next to a Hawaiian beach, it is not native to Hawaii.
Legend has it that Bergeron shook the original ingredients together with shaved ice and handed the new cocktail to his friend who was visiting from Tahiti. She took one sip and said “Maita’i Roa Ae,” which, in Tahitian means “good,” or colloquially, “out of this world — the best.”
Trader Vic’s original Mai Tai recipe was made of golden Jamaican rum, lime juice, orange curaçao liqueur, Rock Candy Syrup, and French orgeat,shaken with shaved ice.
Bergeron brought the Mai Tai to Hawaii in 1955 when he crafted a special recipe for the iconic Royal Hawaiian resort in Waikiki, and the Mai Tai craze took off. With the addition of fruit juices such as pineapple and orange juice, the Mai Tai evolved into a sweeter, more drinkable cocktail .
Why Are There So Many Mai Tai Recipes
After its creation, it didn’t take long for the mai tai to surpass the zombie cocktail as “the” drink to order at America’s tiki bars. The owners and bartenders of these tropical-themed establishments were notorious for guarding recipes against competitors, so the recipes were tweaked often over the years. In 1953, Donn Beach remade the drink for a bar in Hawaii, adding pineapple and orange juices while keeping the mai tai name. Other tropical bars followed suit, creating original rum cocktails under the mai tai name to increase sales. Many pile layers of tropical fruit on top of rum and range in color from a brilliant red to bright blue. While these newer versions may be delicious, they are not the mai tai as it was originally intended.
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Original Vs More Commonly Used Rums
According to Beachbum Berry, the best way to recreate the original Mai Tai rum is with an aged Martinique rum mixed with a premium Jamaican rum.” Eager to be as thorough as possible in my role as cocktail historian, I picked up a bottle of Rhum Clément VSOP Martinique rum, and another of the Appleton Estate Reserve Blend Jamaica rum.
If you’re a purist and absolutely have to try this drink the way it was originally intended, this is the way to go.
For my part, I found this formulation to have too much rum flavor. I prefer the drink with half white rum and half Jamaican rum, which allow the almond notes to come through.
This recipe below mirrors the half-light, half-dark formula commonly found in Mai Tai recipes. For the light half, Bacardi Silver, one of my go-to rums for mixing, works well. For the darker half, an amber rum, preferably a Jamaica rum, is ideal, but a dark rum will also work. Look for Appleton Estate Reserve or Signature, which are both very nice.
How Do You Make A Mai Tai Cocktail From Scratch
- Combine pineapple juice, light rum, orange curaçao, lime juice, and orgeat in a cocktail shaker.
- Shake with ice. Add ice to the cocktail shaker, then cover and shake well, until chilled.
- Strain. Strain the mixture into a glass filled with fresh ice.
- Top with dark rum.
- Garnish. Sprig of mint, lime wheel, pineapple spear, if desired.
- Serve. Love at first sip.
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Orange Liqueur: Grand Marnier Vs Curaao
A Mai Tai recipe traditionally uses orange curaçao, but it can be hard to find. Here are a few notes on what else to use as a substitute:
- Grand Marnier is your best bet. Grand Marnier is the highest end orange liqueur, and brings nuanced, sophisticated flavor. We had a bottle , so we used it here.
- Cointreau also works. Got a bottle for making or other Cointreau drinks? You can use it here too. The flavor is a little less nuanced, but it still works!
Popular Mai Tai Recipes And How To Make Them
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If you are looking for the perfect Mai Tai recipe, then you are in the right place. The internet is full of mixed up history and information when it comes to the Mai Tai, Im here to help you get everything you need in one place.
The Mai Tai, one of the quintessential island drinks everyone should love and enjoy. It tastes great, puts a crooked smile on your face and makes you feel as if youre on vacation. Sounds like a cant miss cocktails right? It is! To make it even better, the history of the Mai Tai is a complex and has lots of twists and turns. Thats why there are a few different ways to make this classic island drink.
Before we jump into the drink recipes, and since you love good rum drinks, check out our Castaway Cocktails Recipe eBook! It has 52 drink recipes, lots of island favorites and a few of my own creations.
Turns out there are about as many Mai Tai recipes as there are grains of sand on the beach. Which one do you choose? I think some taste tasting is in order. Its a hard job, but someone has to do it.
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How To Float Liquor On Top Of A Cocktail
The final step in creating that signature Mai Tai look is to float ½ ouch of dark rum right over the mixed drink. The easiest way to do this is to lay a spoon over the top of the cocktail, almost touching the ice, and slowly drizzle the rum over the spoon. This helps it float and not sink in the drink. Isn’t that pretty?!
Trois Rivieres Cuve De Locean Rum
Trois Rivieres Cuvee De LOcean Rum begins with a beautiful setting, continues into a beautiful bottle, and finishes with a beautiful flavor. Its made from sugar cane thats grown right beside the Atlantic Ocean, creating a delightful maritime rum that has a hint of sea spray in the profile.
Its especially noticeable on the nose where you get notes of coastal grass and sea spray with a bit of coal-like bitterness. Behind this are some sweeter notes with a buttery undertone and hints of licorice. The aroma is topped off with lemon zest and some soft spice.
The palate is sweet and green with strong notes of freshly cut sugar cane, straw, and grass. Woody, earthy notes appear mid-palate with warm, sweet notes developing near the end. The finish offers a feel of sugary syrup with hints of brine and smoke. Green and grassy notes appear on the very end with a bit of mineral and spice lingering.
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Appleton Estate Reserve Blend
The Appleton Estate Reserve Blend was created by Appleton Estates Master Blender to celebrate the estates 250th anniversary. The flavors are inspired by the estates beautiful and vibrant location, right in the heart of Jamaica.
The expression does this job well right from the get-go with the bright golden orange color in the bottle, looking very vibrant and inviting. The aroma is just as funky and bright with notes of orange peel, ripe banana, and aromas akin to metal and magic marker to round it all out.
The palate follows with similar notes and some added caramel with a hint of iodine in the background. Overall, its a classic rum with a touch of Jamaican flair and a soft, pleasant kick on the finish.
Original Mai Tai Recipe From 1934
It took a while for Trader Vic to publicly announce his Mai Tais recipe. It finally appeared in 1972. However, the Jamaican rum Wray & Nephew 17 years as used by Trader Vic has been out of production since several decades.
If you carefully examine the original Mai Tai, you will notice that Trader Vic based this cocktail on the basic structure of a Sourcocktail. He took an alcohol and added to it sweet components and citrus juice in an approximate ratio of 2:1:1. This is a ratio where liqueurs and citrus juices only serve to lift and highlight the aromas of the rum.
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This is what Trader Vic had to say about his creation and his choice of rum.
The flavor of this great rum wasnt meant to be overpowered with heavy additions of fruit juices and flavorings.
Victor Jules Bergeron Jr. aka Trader Vic circa 1934
In other words, all that is needed to make the perfect Mai Tai is a suitable rum mixed with citrus juice and sweet syrup in the correct proportion. It is all about balancing the sweet and the sour in this cocktail!
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The Best Rums To Use In A Mai Tai
I am far from being a rum connoisseur but you can find good aged rums that cost between $20-$30 at most grocery or liqueur stores. You will need both a white rum for the base of the drink and a dark rum for the floater on top. We use Bacardi Superior this time around because it’s a good mixing rum and light in flavor.
What Is A Mai Tai Cocktail
- Its said that the actual mai tai was created in 1944 by the founder of Trader Vics, Victor Bergeron. Since then, its become very popular in tiki culture.
- A Mai Tai is a rum based cocktail. The classic version with light and dark rums, almond syrup and A traditional Mai Tai is a rum based cocktail. The classic version has light and dark rums, almond syrup and fruit juice . They pack a serious punch due to all the alcohol in them. And theyre one of the best tiki drinks in my opinion.
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Trois Rivieres Cuvee De Locean
A white rhum agricole made from freshly squeezed sugarcane juice grown in the south of the island of Martinique, this is slightly grassy with sea-salt notes and a touch of creaminess. It has excellent balance and lends plenty of saline bite to cut through rich flavours, working especially well with the lime juice. Also an excellent choice for a daquiri. 42%
Possible Substitutions In A Mai Tai
A CLASSIC Mai Tai calls for a few ingredients that can be tough to find unless you shop at a specialty store such as BevMo, such as orgeat and orange curaçao. Below are the original ingredients of a Mai Tai and what I like to use as substitutes.
- White & Dark Rums – there is no substitute for these ingredients as they make up the majority of the drink and the flavor.
- Orange Curaçao – this is an orange liqueur and while the flavor profile is a bit different, you can use Cointreau as a substitute. Do not use blue curaçao however!
- Orgeat – this is an almond flavored syrup that is classically used in Tiki Drinks. If you can’t find this you can use Trader Vics Amaretto although you will be adding more alcohol by substituting Amaretto.
- Lime Juice – gotta use fresh squeezed for this! You will need about 1 ½ – 2 limes per drink.
Most restaurants will serve you a Mai Tai with orange and pineapple juices included in the mix which is not at all traditional and honestly doesn’t taste as good as the original!
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Recommended Jamaican + Martinique Rum Combo
The 12-year-old Appleton dark Jamaican rum works extremely well in the Mai Tai. If you want a lesser expensive rum, then Appletons Signature Blend is the perfect alternative.
Combine the above Jamaican rum with the matured Rhum Agricole from Clement or from Trois-Rivières. Both of these mix superbly in the Mai Tai.
What Does A Coupe Glass Look Like
Also known as the Champagne Coupe or the Champagne saucer, the coupe is a stemmed glass featuring a broad, shallow bowl. As you may have guessed, this glass was originally developed for champagne, however changing tastes have replaced it with the fluted glass as the go-to glass for champagne drinkers.
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How To Make The Original 1944 Mai Tai
Ask your local Tikiphile to craft a classic 1944 Mai Tai, and the recipe will look something like this:
1 oz lime juice 1/4 oz 1:1 simple syrup 1 oz aged Jamaican rum 1 oz aged Martinique agricole rhum
Shake all ingredients over ice, pour into a double old-fashioned glass. Fill to rim with crushed ice. Garnish with a spent lime shell and a sprig of mint.
The exact amount of orgeat and simple syrup can be adjusted to individual taste. You can also experiment with different rums depending on how you feel about Jamaican funk. Coruba Dark Rum makes a fine budget Mai Tai. Going upscale, the Appleton Estate Rare Blend 12 Year is quite popular with bartenders. And if you really want to bring the funk, go for the Mezan Jamaica XO. For your Martinique agricole, try something like Rhum Clement VSOP.
The Recommended Triple Sec
Cointreau is the first orange liqueur that comes to mind. But since its use in the cocktail is very limited, it doesnt make a world-changing difference as long as you dont use bad quality one. You shouldnt overdose it anyway. Otherwise the highlight of this Mai Tai recipe will be the orange liqueur instead of the rum.
A Bols Triple Sec is a significantly cheaper alternative.
High end Dry Curacaos and Triple Secs may enrich the cocktail and adjust it enough to further improve this drink. An example is the Ferrand Triple Sec.
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For A Funky Mai Tai: Smith And Cross Navy Strength Rum
If you want your Mai Tai to be pungent and funky, look no further than this Jamaican rum. Made only with pot distilled spirits, Smith and Cross is incredibly complex and flavorful. In the classic tiki libation, the rum lends notes of bananas, mangoes, overripe pineapples and baking spices. Bottled at a whopping 114 proof, the rum brings an alcoholic punch that burns bright and long.
Good Mai Tai Vs Bad Mai Tai
As with many rum cocktails, there are countless variations of the Mai Tai cocktail. Most amateur recipes water it down with lots of fruit juice thereby making it popular for parties. But at its heart, the Mai Tai is classic sour cocktail!
Since the original rum is not produced any more, the following recipe uses a mix of rums to achieve the perfect Mai Tai. The recipe is brilliant, but also quite expensive. The Trader Vic variant, on the other hand, is less complicated.
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Why Orgeat Is So Important
If you want to make a delicious, authentic Mai Tai, the kind of orgeat matters a lot. It’s quite a good drink with just an average orgeat, but becomes exceptional with a very good one.
When it comes to orgeat, you can either make your own or you can purchase pre-made orgeat, although the ones available vary greatly in quality. The best orgeat I’ve ever tried is from Austin-based Liber & Co. The Small Hand Foods variety is also nice. Either of those two would be worth getting just for the purposes of making this drink!
If you cant find a good orgeat, or any orgeat at all, simple syrup and almond extract is a workable substitute.