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Mai Tai Cocktail Recipe – A Tiki Summer Delight

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Mai Tai is a delicious tiki drink that you’ve definitely heard of, and maybe even wanted to try. This cocktail is fairly old but well loved, and there are several versions of it. Here’s the one I know.

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Mai Tai

What is Mai Tai?

Mai Tai is perhaps one of the best known tiki cocktails, and it’s an amazing mix of white rum, triple sec, lime juice, orgeat, and dark rum. Not only is this very strong, it’s incredibly flavorful and we have the orgeat to thank for that unmistakable flavor. 

The original recipe was invented by Trader Vic back in the ’40s and as time went on and the cocktail became famous, more and more versions have surfaced. This is the version I know, and the one I love. I hope you enjoy. 

mai tai 2

Mai Tai Cocktail Recipe

Ioana Ciuraru
A delicious tiki drink that's going to immediately transport you to a warm beach.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 1


  • 1.5 oz white rum
  • 0.75 oz triple sec
  • 0.75 lime juice
  • 0.5 oz orgeat
  • 0.5 oz dark rum


  • In a shaker combine white rum, triple sec, lime juice, orgeat, and ice. Shake very well.
  • Strain into ice-filled glass.
  • Pour the dark rum on top (float).


  • The original calls for orange curacao, which I did not have so I used triple sec instead.
  • Be sure to add the dark rum last, it's supposed to float on top of the drink.

When is this drink best ?

Mai Tai is 100% amazing as a summer cocktail, but especially as a beachy, vacation cocktail. There is no frown or sad with this cocktail, and it’s definitely one that is very popular in many bars across the world. I see the Mai Tai as more of a casual drink, despite its strength. Where You’d see a Long Island Iced Tea, you’d probably also see a Mai Tai, a Tequila Sunrise, and a Pina Colada. Sweet, fun, and more of a party starter than a dinner drink. 

My thoughts on Mai Tai

I loved Mai Tai ! I am in love with all cocktails that are both rum-based and fairly sweet so Mai Tai is right up my alley. I have to admit the orgeat is noticeable, not overwhelming but noticeable. If you’re not an almond fan (my husband isn’t) you won’t really appreciate it. I liked it, I thought it added a nice touch. 

Most of the rum here is a light rum, and the dark rum is more of a float. Overall the cocktail is sweet, tropical without getting fruity, and packs a serious punch. 

mai tai making

If you like Mai Tai, you might also like…

Bitter Mai Tai – a Mai Tai with Campari and rum

Long Island Iced Tea – in the same vein as Mai Tai, but different alcohol

Tequila Sunrise – a beautiful tequila and orange cooler

Pina Colada – the famous pineapple, coconut, and rum drink

Rum Punch – a summery rum punch

Amaretto Sour – an Italian sweet and sour

Notes, substitutes, and tips

If you want a funkier taste in your Mai Tai, swap the white rum for dark rum instead. 

If you don’t have orgeat on hand, the closest approximation is to mix simple syrup with the tiniest drop of almond extract. It’s not 100% orgeat but it comes close enough. 

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