1 oz Jamaican rum (dark, 7-15 year old)
1 oz Rhum Agricole, St. James Ambre
3⁄4 oz Lime juice
1⁄2 oz Curaçao
1⁄4 oz Orgeat
1⁄4 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.

Cocktail summary
Picture of Mai Tai (Trader Vic's)
2007, Creative Commons, Duluoz Cats, Astoria, NY, Wikipedia
Posted by Dan on 6/06/2010
Created by
Trader Vic's, Oakland, CA, or Don the Beachcomber, Hollywood, CA. Disputed.
Is an
authentic recipe
Not yet rated
4.5 stars
(59 ratings)
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From other users
  • Used Trader Vic's Amaretto in lieu of orgeat. Don't forget the mint
  • No simple…orgeat is plenty sweet for me. Also tried w spritz of mezcal (similar to the Tia Mia profile) - great addition! — ★★★★★
  • classic
  • 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.
  • 1/2 oz Orgeat
  • fresh lime juice makes all the difference here
  • Yup use orgeat, skip simple. Used S&C, Barbancourt 8 yr
  • Spring Break
  • Made with S&C and Rhum JM, and more orgeat than simple. Strong! — ★★★★
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C commented on 12/02/2013:

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.

Norm commented on 11/04/2014:

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.

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 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.

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.