Mai Tai

The most legendary and best rum cocktail in the world!
Original Mai Tai Rezept mit Rum
stark (über 20%)
Post-Prohibition (1934 - 1979)
Created by:
Victor Bergeron (Tader Vic)
Mai Tai

The Mai-Tai is probably one of the most popular rum cocktails in the world. There are various legends surrounding its name and origin. In what is probably the best known story, Victor Bergeron (Tader Vic) is said to have invented it for two Tahitian friends in 1944. The latter were so delighted by the taste of the cocktail that they proclaimed Mai Tai Roa Ae, which loosely translated means: “The best, not of this world!” Don the Beachcomber” also claimed the invention of the drink, which even ended in a legal dispute with Victor Bergeron, which was finally settled out of court.

By the way, we will not be able to experience the original taste of a real Mai Tai. Why? For him, a 17-year aged rum of the brand Wray & Nephew was used. However, this has not been produced for more than half a century, which is why today’s variant is only an approximation of the original.

  • Prep Time1 min
  • Cook Time2 min
  • Total Time3 min
  • Yield1 jar
  • Serving Size150 ml
  • Energy287 cal
  • Cuisine
    • amerikanisch
  • Course
    • Getränk
  • Cooking Method
    • Shaken
  • Tags


For the Mai Tai

  • 40 ml Jamaican rum
  • 40 ml Rhum Agricole*
  • 30 ml fresh lime juice
  • 15 ml curaçao orange
  • 15 ml tsp Orgeat (almond syrup)
  • 10 ml candy sugar syrup
  • Lime zest
  • Mint stalk
  • Crushed ice



Wash the lime hot and rub dry with a clean towel to remove the wax layer. Then peel a zest from the lime and squeeze the lime. Set the juice and zest aside.
Fill an Old Fashioned glass ¾ full with crushed ice and set aside.
Add all liquid ingredients with a good handful of ice to the shaker and shake for 20 to 30 seconds.
Garnish with mint and lime zest. Serve with a straw. Your homemade Mai Tai cocktail is ready!

If you prefer your Mai Tai a little stronger, you can add 20 ml of High Proof brown rum to this recipe.

  • Nährwerte

  • 1 servings per container
  • Serving Size150 ml
  • Amount per serving
  • Calories287
  • % Daily Value*Standard DV
  • Total Carbohydrate18.3 g275 g6.65%
  • Dietary Fiber0.1 g28 g0.36%
  • Total Sugars11.1 g
  • Protein0.1 g50 g0.2%
  • Calcium3.6 mg1300 mg0.28%
  • Iron0.1 mg18 mg0.56%
  • Potassium18.6 mg4700 mg0.4%
  • Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)6.9 mg90 mg7.67%
  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)0.006 mg1.2 mg0.5%
  • Phosphorus2.7 mg1250 mg0.22%
  • Magnesium3.9 mg420 mg0.93%
  • Chloride1.2 mg2300 mg0.05%
  • Alkohol31.8 g

A real cocktail legend

It was allegedly created in 1944 by Victor Jules Bergeron in his restaurant Trader Vic’s in Oakland, east of San Francisco, California. However, he did not publish the recipe for his delicious cocktail until 1972 in his book Trader Vic’s Bartender’s Guide – Revised.

However, the Mai Tai is not without an emotional story. This is because Victor Bergeron’s predecessor, Donn Beach, claimed to have created the Mai Tai as early as 1933 under the name “QB Cooler”. A claim that cannot be verified beyond doubt until today. However, the search for the right recipe of the original cocktail continues.

The 1950s and 1960s are considered the height of Tiki culture and Mai Tai. The cocktail, so popular at the time, even made it into Elvis Presley’s movie “Blue Hawaii”. It is probably thanks to this “appearance” that we find the Mai Tai on almost every cocktail menu today.

Today, the Tiki drink is one of the classic cocktails and, along with the Zombie, is a real icon in the bar scene.

The perfect rum for the Mai Tai

In Trader Vic’s original recipe, they reach for a 17-year aged Wray & Nephew rum*. However, this was already effectively no longer available in the 1950s, which is why Victor had to adapt his recipe and revert to a 15-year-old Wray & Nephew rum. In the meantime, both rums have completely disappeared from the market, which is why one can only approximate the taste of an original Mai Tai.

At the sweltering Smuggler’s Cove tiki bar, Martin Cate reaches for a variety of rums to best mimic the original flavor. In his opinion, the Appleton Estate 30 Years is the closest to the original. The problem: this rum costs up to 600 € per bottle. Even those who can afford the bottle will hardly use it in a cocktail. However, with a 21 Years (100 € / bottle) or a 12 years matured (35 € / bottle) from Appleton Estate you are still very close and get away much cheaper.

Wray & Nephew 17 yo – The original rum of the Mai Tai

The original Mai Tai rum is no longer available and few know the taste of a regular Mai Tai. If you want to get an almost similar result today, you have to dig deep into your pocket, for example with a Plantation Extreme N°3 Jamaica LP 1996 HJC for currently 280 Euros a bottle. Like the original rum from 1944, the Plantation is produced in the pot sill process and has a powerful portio ester with 120 to 150 grams per liter. The last bottles of the original Wray & Nephew 17 reached prices of $50,000 at auction – per bottle! These have resurfaced at Appleton Estate (subsidiary of J. Wray & Nephew) seemingly by accident. It was produced exclusively as pot-stilled and had an alcohol content of around 77%. In fact, a few select bars around the world subsequently prepared mai tais with the bottle they found. For example, an original Mai Tai at the Merchant Hotel (Belfast) costs a whopping €750 per glass!

What does Mai Tai mean?

The cocktail got its name from Tahitian guests, for whom Victor Bergeron allegedly invented the cocktail. After the first sip, they are said to have shouted “Mai Tai Roa Ae,” which translates into German as “Das Beste – Nicht von dieser Welt! The expression maita’i means simply translated “good”.

The original Mai Tai recipe

Thanks to its popularity, countless variations of Victor J. Bergeron’s popular cocktail now exist. Many of the variations rely on ingredients not found in the original recipe, such as brandy*, orange juice, pineapple juice or various fruit syrups. This is certainly due to the fact that these ingredients are found in many other tiki drinks and the original rum for the Mai Tai is no longer produced. What tastes good is allowed, but the cocktail should never end up as a sweet sugar bomb, but rather put the rum in the foreground and not mask the alcohol. If you were to ask Trader Vic or Donn Beach about the best Mai Tai recipe, I’m sure both would call their own creation the best.

You can recognize a perfect Mai Tai by its complex interplay of aromas between spicy notes like vanilla, almond, caramel and fruity notes from lime juice. The inherent flavor of the rum should stand out clearly and the high alcohol content should be recognizable, but should not leave a burning mouthfeel.

Ingredients for the original Mai Tai recipe

  • 60 ml 17-year-old Wray & Nephew rum
  • 20 ml fresh lime juice
  • 15 ml Curaçao (orange liqueur)
  • 10 ml Orgeat*
  • 10 ml Sugar syrup

Glass: Double old fashioned glass

Shake all ingredients with crushed ice and pour into the glass (do not strain) and garnish with a sprig of mint and a lime zest. Ready!

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 0 / 5. Vote count: 0

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?

Lillet Wild Berry

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *