Mai Tai (Trader Vic's)

1 oz Jamaican rum (dark, 7-15 year old)
1 oz Rhum Agricole, St. James Ambre
34 oz Lime juice
12 oz Curaçao
14 oz Orgeat
14 oz Simple syrup
1 spg Mint (as garnish)
Shake, pour into low-ball without straining, garnish
Some use more orgeat instead of simple syrup. Some use Clément Créole Shrubb instead of Curaçao. Smith & Cross is a nice choice for the Jamaican rum.
2007, Creative Commons, Duluoz Cats, Astoria, NY, Wikipedia
From other users
  • Yup use orgeat, skip simple. Used S&C, Barbancourt 8 yr — ☆☆☆☆☆
  • Made with S&C and Rhum JM, and more orgeat than simple. Strong! — ☆☆☆☆
  • Spring Break — ☆☆☆☆☆
  • 8/16/20: 1/2 oz S&C, 1/2 oz Appleton Sig Blend, 1/2 oz El Dorado 12, 1/4 oz Barbancourt 8, 1/4 oz La Favorite Blanc, 1 oz lime, 1/2 oz PF curacao, 3/4 oz Liber and Co orgeat. — ☆☆☆☆☆
  • fresh lime juice makes all the difference here — ☆☆☆☆
  • 1/2 oz Orgeat — ☆☆☆☆☆
  • classic — ☆☆☆☆☆
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  • Apple Sidecar (Clear Creek) — Vodka, Apple brandy, Simple syrup, Lemon juice, Tangerine juice, Tangerine peel
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Zachary Pearson's picture

Here's a vote for the RumDood

Here's a vote for the RumDood method: 1 oz each light and dark rum, 3/4 lime, 1/2 oz each Clement Creole Shrubb and Orgeat, 1/4 oz simple, shake, strain over crushed ice, garnish with a spent lime shell and mint. I used Smith & Cross and St. James Hors d'Age.

I think the main problem with Tiki drinks is that they all serve as dump buckets for every crazy flavored syrup in the repertiore - falernum, orgeat, grenadine, curacao, Pimiento Dram... they all go in, and it ends up being a messy drink without discernable flavors.



Grenadine? Falernum? Light

Grenadine? Falernum? Light rum? Dark rum float? No curacao?
I think the current accepted standard recipe is 2oz of rum (both dark or amber, and of different styles in order to make for a more dynamic flavor), 1oz of lime juice, 1/2oz orange curacao, 1/4oz orgeat, 1/4oz simple syrup. Garnished with half a spent lime and a mint sprig.
Personally I double the orgeat, skip the simple syrup, and add a dash of Angostura. But I wouldn't put that in the recipe.

Bingo. You're absolutely

Bingo. You're absolutely right. The previous recipe was a train wreck. Updated to the 1972 Trader Vic's recipe, which is a close approximation to the original, given that the origin 17 year old J Wrap Jamaican rum is no longer available. Thanks for pointing this out.

After fixing this recipe, I

After fixing this recipe, I merged two nearly identical recipes into this one (previously known as Mai Tai 2 and Mai Tai - Original Version). I hope everyone approves!

Zachary Pearson's picture

Adam, The original 1944


The original 1944 recipe called for the legendary and impossible to obtain J. Wray 17 year old rum, and was designed to highlight that ingredient. The 1972 version referenced here uses an ounce of two different rums to try and approximate the flavor of the J. Wray.



Perhaps the drink was

Perhaps the drink was originally created to highlight the J. Wray 17, but the rest of the formula is the same. I would argue that it's the same drink as long as it uses the same ingredients -- two ounces of some kind of rum -- and the same basic ratio.
Regardless of your feeling on that, where did you come up with 1972? That seems way too recent. For reference, see page 162 of Jeff Berry's "Sippin' Safari," which lists the same recipe, "as served at Trader Vic's in Havana, Cuba, 1958." Which is not to say that the formula was invented that late. Vic Bergeron apparently exhausted the supply of J. Wray 17 within a couple of years after creating the drink, so this two-rum formula was probably created in the late '40s.

Zachary Pearson's picture

Adam, The link is under the


The link is under the reference section of the cocktail - it's a Wikibooks page that cites the original, then the 1972 update (which removed the J. Wray, added St. James Amber, and unspecified the brands of Curacao, simple, and orgeat).



jamaican rum should be

jamaican rum should be appleton v/x
rhum agricole should be Clement VSOP
other than that it is good to go - personally i prefer juice of half a lime, but if using key lime i would use 3/4 oz

More orgeat less simple, and

More orgeat less simple, and never ever use Smith & Cross. That stuff is crap. Don't take my word for it, take Ed Hamilton's.

That's very close to the

That's very close to the recipe I use:

1 oz Jamaican dark rum (Apple Estate V/X or Reserve or 12 yr OR Smith & Cross)
1 oz Rhum agricole (at least somewhat aged)
1 oz Lime juice
1⁄2 oz Curacao (Creole Shrubb OR Pierre Ferrard Dry Curacao)
1⁄2 oz Orgeat
1 tsp Simple syrup (made from turbinado or other raw/unrefined sugar, if possible)
1 spg Mint (as garnish)

Optional: 1⁄2 oz float of high-proof dark rum

A touch more lime juice, more orgeat, and less sugar syrup than the posted recipe, with an optional high-proof float.

blue_94_trooper's picture

A true classic.  I keep

A true classic.  I keep working with what I have to hit all the right notes.  Tonight's was particularly good...

  • 1 oz. Appleton V/X
  • 1/2 oz. Barbancourt 8 yr
  • 1/2 oz. Neissen Agricole Blanc
  • 1/2 oz. Orange Curacao (Marie Brizzard)
  • (heavy) 3/4 oz. lime juice
  • (light) 1/2 oz. Orgeat (B.G. Reynolds)
  • 1/4 oz float - Lemon Hart 151

I can't find any aged agricoles near me so I compensate by going half & half with the Barbancourt which is made the same way and the Neissen which is a true agricole, but unaged.

The other key thing is that Mai Tai's have to be enjoyed outdoors.


edit: ( a few days later)

For fun I made one the other night subbing Amaro Ciociaro for the Orange Curacao and I used an oz each of the V/X and the Barbancourt, figuring with the amaro I didn't need any more herbal notes from the agricole.  I had almost an oz. of lime juice and added a heavy 1/2 oz of orgeat.  No Lemon Hart float.  It was pretty tasty but it left an aftertaste that was not entirely pleasant.

Perhaps, unlike the Negroni, the Mai Tai is a classic that does not allow for wild variations. 

In my experience 2 oz of

In my experience 2 oz of Smith & Cross instead of the Jamaica/Agricole mix work very well. And using Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao is contributing to the depth of the cocktail.

blue_94_trooper's picture

I know the comment is 2 1/2

I know the comment is 2 1/2 years old but I was always befuddled but the person above bashing Smith & Cross, a highly regarded rum and one I find unique and interesting.  He evokes Ed Hamilton in his trash talk so I dug around Ed's Ministry of Rum web site looking for his scathing review and pretty much what I found was this...

"...this is not a sipping rum by contemporary standards but rather reflects the tastes and production of the 19th century.  Used sparingly in cocktails it adds a broad dimension to both the aroma and taste in cocktails".


Fair enough...  I'm not much of a rum sipper anyway but for me this is spot-on.