The Origins Of The Mai Tai Cocktail – One of the Best Cocktails Ever (+recipe)

 In Cocktail, Mai Tai

The Mai Tai is one of the most popular cocktails in the world, made with rum, fresh lime juice, and a few other unique ingredients.

We adore this drink, and we will talk more about the origin of the Mai Tai and where was the Mai Tai invented, so if that’s something you are interested in, be sure to stick around. Also, the mixologists who make the best cocktails in Miami, FL, will share their beloved Mai Tai recipe with you. 

The Origin of the Mai Tai

The story behind this drink is quite exciting and dates back to the 1930s. The history of Mai Tai begins at the Beachcomber bar. Here Donn Beach started making something similar and created the foundation for the drink we today know as the Mai Tai cocktail. But we still need to find out where was the Mai Tai invented. 

The history of Mai Tai continues one decade after Victor Bergeron started making the drink at his bar Trader Vic’s. He started mixing it with a specific rum made in Jamaica, but it is said that once he ran out of it, he blended different rums to achieve the same aromas and flavors. 

Trader Vic’s is now a famous restaurant and tiki bar chain located all over the U.S. and the world, but the first one where the Mai Tai was invented was located in Oakland, San Francisco, California.

The first time Victor made a drink that we now know as the Mai Tai, he served it to some friends from Tahiti. They were ecstatic at the taste and shouted, “Maita’I Roa Ae!” which sounded like Mai Tai, and Victor decided to name his new cocktail precisely that. The origin of the Mai Tai name comes from the saying “Maita’I Roa Ae!” which in Tahitian means “out of this world.”

The Ingredients of the Mai Tai Cocktail

The original ingredients are simple; good dark rum, or a blend of white and dark rum, freshly squeezed lime juice, orange Curaçao, and orgeat syrup. Orgeat syrup is a non-typical ingredient made from almonds, sugar, and rose water.

Today’s Mai Tai

Many changes have occurred in the history of Mai Tai, and people have moved away from the original recipe. Some like adding pineapple juice, bottled juice, or whole fruits to their drinks. Today, it’s said that this is one of the drinks that gets butchered the most. If you don’t want to be part of that, we will teach you how to make the real deal. 

Making a Mai Tai Cocktail at Home

After learning everything you need to know about the Mai Tai cocktail, it’s time to learn how to make it yourself. It’s a simple drink that’s easy to make, and you don’t need any complicated ingredients, as you may notice. 

However, if you have never made cocktails in your life and want to start doing it, you must prepare a few things first. You’ll need a few essential pieces of equipment, and even if they seem like a huge investment all at once, they are a good investment. Once you buy the necessary equipment for preparing cocktails, you can mix anything you like or even experiment in the comfort of your home and kitchen.

The Basic Cocktail Equipment 

Here are the basic things you need to buy for your home cocktail bar, so you can start mixing tasty cocktails. 


If you love cooking and do it often, you know how vital measuring ingredients are and how measuring cups and spoons can help you. The same goes for preparing cocktails. You’ll make the perfect drink only if you measure the exact amounts of ingredients, and to do it precisely; you’ll need a jigger. For a precise execution of any cocktail, be sure to use a jigger as a measuring tool. There are many types of this tool, and they can vary in size, shape, and color. You can choose whichever you like the most and whichever you think will fit in your hand the best. 

Citrus Juicer

Besides a jigger, a citrus juicer is an essential tool in the cocktail-making process. You probably already have this tool somewhere in your kitchen, so you won’t need to buy a new one. However, if you don’t have it, be sure to buy it, as every mixed drink is better with fresh citrus juice. 


Most cocktails require you to use a shaker, so it’s the most crucial part of every cocktail tool kit. Again, this tool has many types, sizes, and shapes, but there are two that are used the most; the Cobbler and the Boston shaker. 

The Cobbler is a standard and simple shaker mainly used by cocktail lovers that enjoy mixing drinks at home. It consists of a metal jug, a fitter top, and a built-in strainer, and it’s super easy to use. 

Professionals often use the Boston one, which is a bit more complex and versatile. It has a metal jug and a pint glass. It’s an excellent shaker, yet, it’s a bit complicated to use if you are not experienced. 


If you decide to go for a Boston shaker, you’ll need to buy a separate strainer. You’ll use it to put on top of the shaker to strain your drink and prevent any ice pieces, herbs, or fruits from falling into your glass. 

If you are striving for something more convenient, we recommend you get a Cobbler shaker with a built-in strainer. It’s easier to use, and you don’t have to buy many separate tools. 


Glasses are not considered a regular part of cocktail-making equipment or tools, but they are essential to the cocktail-drinking experience. You’ll need to equip yourself with a few nice glasses for the most popular cocktails. A Martini glass is a must, as well as an Old Fashioned one, Collins, Highball, and Coupe glass.

The Best Mai Tai Recipe 

Now that you have all the equipment needed, it’s time to whip up this bad boy. 

The Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 ounces white rum
  • 1/2 ounce dark rum
  • 3/4 ounce orange Curaçao
  • 3/4 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1/2 ounce orgeat syrup
  • lime wheel
  • mint sprig


  1. Add white rum, curacao, orgeat, and lime juice alongside crushed ice and shake everything lightly into a shaker. 
  2. Strain the mixture into a glass with crushed ice. 
  3. Pour the dark rum on top of everything. 
  4. Garnish with the lime wheel and mint. 
  5. Enjoy!

The Best Cocktails in Miami

Isn’t it cool that you now know everything about this tasty cocktail? And you even got a recipe to mix a cocktail whenever you like it. But for the days when you are not feeling like mixing drinks by yourself, we have a suggestion for you. 

Come to the Stiltsville Fish Bar to try our Mai Tai Shark Bite. Call us today to book a table for the best cocktail experience accompanied by delicious bites. We promise you won’t be disappointed, and as a matter of fact, you will return for more. 

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