How to Make a Mai Tai | Cocktail Recipes

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Recipe: 2 oz Jamaican rum; .75 oz lime juice; .5 Orange Curacao; .5 Orgeat syrup. Shake and strain over fresh ice. Garnish as desired.

The Mai Tai is the flagship cocktail of all Tiki drinks. Tiki culture is something that became really popular in the 1950’s when people would want to travel to somewhere really exotic, but didn’t exactly want to spend the money or go through the trouble of getting there. So instead they would just go to their local Tiki bar and order a tropical drink that made them feel like they were on the beach.

The Mai Tai has really suffered through some bad mixes and bad recipes over the years, so if you’ve had one before and it wasn’t good it probably wasn’t made properly. But if it is made properly like I’m going to show you how to do, it deserves every ounce of the legendary status that it has. So we’re going to start with two ounces of Jamaican rum.

You can play around with the rums a little bit in the Mai Tai, but I think some really good full-bodied Jamaican rum is a definite must. I’m just going to go with the Jamaican rum by itself now, because I think that’s all you need and you know, the simplest solution is usually the best one, right? So two ounces of the rum and we’re going to do half an ounce of orange Curacao.

Make sure you get a quality orange Curacao, none of that really syrupy Triple sec stuff, that’s not going to do you any favors. Half an ounce of that. No pineapple juice in this drink. I know that’s going to shock you. No OJ either and if anyone ever does that, tell them they’re doing it wrong. Three-quarters ounce of fresh lime juice. I know that you are juicing your lime juice fresh, but just to be sure, you’ve got to do that. Juice those limes. It only takes a couple of minutes.

And now here is the key ingredient to making a true Mai Tai is orgeat, which is almond syrup. It’s not the easiest ingredient to find, but you can get it at coffee stores or gourmet shops. And it’s definitely worth the trouble going to find it, because it makes a fantastic Mai Tai. So just half an ounce of that, and that’s it. So we’re going to shake this and strain it over crushed ice. So I’m going to get my handy ice crank.

Any ice can do, but if you happen to have these on hand, as I happen to today, why not use it. All right, fill that up with ice. These were really popular back in the 50’s. Maybe your parents may have some lying around. Whoa, they’re a little bit of a struggle, but really worth it. Sometimes it’s good to reverse direction around the other way. Yeah, good enough. Okay, let’s get our glass that we have chilling in the freezer.

Now we’re going to shake it not very long, because this ice is going to dilute it a lot, so we just want to mix all the ingredients together, but we don’t want to dilute it too much, because that crushed ice is going to do the trick. Ah, look at that. Tell me that wasn’t worth all that effort I just put into crushing that. Now just a few shakes. I’m on the beach already. Now the garnish. I don’t have an umbrella on hand. I don’t think you need one. But if you want one, knock yourself out.

I’m just going to put a little lime wheel on there. I happen to have some mint here actually. The garnish is something that really adds some authenticity to your cocktail, and if you’re making it for people, something they really notice and appreciate. Definitely want a straw with this one. In Tahitian, Mai Tai means out of this world, and I think they’re pretty right about that. And that’s how you make a classic Mai Tai.


44 thoughts on “How to Make a Mai Tai | Cocktail Recipes

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  1. Wait no pineapple juice??? This is like when I found our there's no Sprite In a whiskey Old Fassioned

  2. Molasses…this guy is painfully slow. Good recipe tho

  3. 1:21 tell that to American Bartending School they made two videos of how to make a Mai Tai and it is the complete opposite of this video were watching right now.

  4. Orgeat syrup is Amareto.

  5. Tom, what can substitute almond syrup?? Second best. Thanks!

  6. think amon liquor as a sub

  7. where can I get cocktail-type ice? If that makes any sense

  8. So orange liqueurs are not created equal?
    Can someone explain the difference between 1) Triple Sec, 2) Orange Curacao, 3) Grand Marnier.

  9. There's like 1000000 ways to make a mai tai tbh I've never seen anyone do it this way

  10. Liked then un-liked due to your lack of professional preparation on the grinder. Don't teach something difficult to do. Suggest a certain blender or a heavier grinder. Booooo

    Alejandro the bartender out

  11. I thought Mai Tai has Orange Juice and Pineapple juice…

  12. I seen 50 + ways to make the Mai Tai ….. I agree and like yours best !

  13. One of those drinks that is NEVER made properly when you order it. So, thanks for the awesome recipe!

  14. y no trader vic's on top

  15. I've got some decentTriple Sec (Luxardo Triplum). I'll admit it is pretty sweet, but would it be ok to use in this drink (don't have the funds to pick up an orange curacao at the moment)?

  16. YUM! So good! I also love this gluten free cocktail option

  17. One more Q. can I use Disaranno instead of orgeat ? If not, what are some good (and inexpensive) brands to buy ?

  18. can I used Captain Morgan spiced rum ? and Is the orange curacao the same as orange liqueur ? can I use Cointreau in place of orange curacao? the any advice would be appreciated.

  19. Zaya dark rum is perfect for these. Just brilliant.

  20. Why not use Cointreau??

  21. that looks so gooooood

  22. No dark rum float? Aww man.

  23. they're paying me $5 to unlike all of their videos. don't ask…

  24. "Really good Jamaican rum…" unscrews cap

    General rule of thumb, if you can unscrew the cap (as opposed to uncork) it isn't a quality spirit. Works for wine too.

    I like your cocktail videos otherwise.

  25. where the hell do I get orange curacao???? I live in Canada and I cant find it anywhere

  26. Muy Bueno! Greetings from Argentina 😉

  27. I just tried this recipe. Just a bit too much lime juice. I believe just 1/2 ounce of lime juice would be better.

  28. Was there a script? Like at all?? This dude doesn't know how to talk on the fly. Must have just finished "cocktails – for dummies" probably the e-book version too.

  29. What's the consensus on doing 1 1/2 oz white rum, and 1/2 dark rum floated on top? I'm new to making this and I want it to be satisfying first time around.

  30. This guy is pretty funny, good job!

  31. can I hire you per hour? Note: i drink alot.

  32. Can you please show some the recipe for Long Ice Land Ice Tea so I need to know your recipe. coz I was confused about why some bar use tequila but some bar they don't use Tequila and actually wish one is the original ? Please can you explain to me I would like to know ? thanks…
    and one thing I really like when you make the classic dry martini that your recipe is the same way I make … Coz I really don't like to drink like dirty martini.. ^^

  33. I took every step in the video but for some reason all I tasted is lime!..what do you suggest ?

  34. Thanks for making this drink the right way man, huge fan of Mai Tai's and I hate to see them get abused.

  35. thats not even snow

  36. How about using Zacapa 23?

  37. best Mai Tai I have ever had.  This recipe is perfection but you need to buy the exact Jamacian Rum and really good Curaco.  Don't go cheap and really good orgeat syrup.  So day and delicious.  Thank you for the great easy recipe.

  38. I want to date this guy! Not only handsome but a great personality! Call me! :p

  39. I feel slightly privileged to work in a bar with an electronic ice machine for our crushed ice lol

  40. Bro. I love your cocktail videos. Please make more, there so helpful so informative so classic. 🙂 thanks brotha

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