Mai Tai (Trader Vic's) Cocktail

Mai Tai (Trader Vic's) Cocktail image

Serve in

an Old-fashioned glass...
2 fl oz Bacardi Ocho Anos
½ fl oz Pierre Ferrand Curacao
¾ fl oz Freshly squeezed lime juice
¼ fl oz Giffard Orgeat Syrup
¼ fl oz Sugar syrup (2 sugar to 1 water)
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How to make:

SHAKE all ingredients with ice and strain into glass filled with crushed ice.


Lime, mint sprig, pineapple cube & Luxardo Maraschino cherry


We love Daiquiris and this is basically a classic Daiquiri with a few bells and whistles.


In 1934, Victor Jules Bergeron, or Trader Vic as he became known, opened his first restaurant in Oakland, San Francisco. He served Polynesian food with a mix of Chinese, French and American dishes cooked in wood-fired ovens. But he is best known for the rum based cocktails he created.

One evening, in 1944, he tested a new drink on two friends from Tahiti, Ham and Carrie Guild. After the first sip, Carrie is said to have exclaimed, "mai tai-roa aé", which in Tahitian means ‘out of this world - the best!’. So Bergeron named his drink the Mai Tai.

The original Mai Tai was based on 17 year old Jamaican J.Wray & Nephew rum, which Vic in his own guide describes as being “surprisingly golden in colour, medium bodied, but with the rich pungent flavour particular to the Jamaican blends”. Vic states he used “rock candy” syrup, an old term for the type of strong sugar syrup we prescribe - two parts sugar to one part water. The term 'rock candy' referred to the fact that you could dangle a piece of string in the syrup to encourage crystallisation and make rock candy.

When supplies of the Jamaican 17-year-old rum dwindled, Vic started using a combination of dark Jamaican rum and Martinique rum to achieve the desired flavour. Sheer demand in his chain of restaurants later necessitated the introduction of a Mai Tai pre-mix (still available from

Others, particularly Ernest Raymond Beaumont-Gantt, then owner of a Hollywood bar called Don the Beachcomber’s, have also laid claim to the creation of this drink. But as Vic says in his own Bartender’s Guide, “Anybody who says I didn’t create this drink is a dirty stinker.”

This recipe is adapted from Victor Bergeron’s ‘Trader Vic’s Bartender’s Guide’ (1972 revised edition), the original 1944 formula is:

2 ounces of 17-year old J. Wray & Nephew Rum
Juice from one fresh lime
1/2 ounce Holland DeKuyper Orange Curacao
1/4 ounce Trader Vic's Rock Candy Syrup
1/2 ounce French Garier Orgeat Syrup

Shake vigorously over shaved ice and garnish with a mint sprig.

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