TBT Classic Cocktail #11: The Mai Tai!


Well hello and happy Thursday, readers!

This week we decided to delve back into the positively delicious world of tiki drinks, because really, who doesn’t love a rum-filled tropical island in drink form?

So let’s get down to business with the Mai Tai, shall we?

First, a little background:

Tiki drinks are rum-based cocktails that usually include various citrus and tropical fruit juices, most commonly associated with two American bartenders active in the first half of the 20th century: Don the Beachcomber and Trader Vic. These two guys were absolutely amazing; they were rivals who were constantly trying to one-up each other by creating the most delectable, delicious, and complex drinks known to man. Can you imagine a better rivalry? I think not.

Tiki drinks are famous for having insanely long lists of ingredients, and even more so for having their recipes shrouded in mystery. Both Trader Vic and Don the Beachcomber were notoriously secretive with their recipes, with Don even taking to writing his in code so no one could recreate them without his permission. Unfortunately, they both ended up taking their exact recipes to the grave, but the loss has actually given rise to a really wonderful variety in the drinks they originated, allowing individual bartenders to put their marks on each of these cocktails.

And so today, it is with a fair amount of excitement and pride that we present to you our very own take on the wonderful and classic Mai Tai. We feel confident that you will fall in love.

So enough of this chit chat! Lets get to making some drinks, shall we?

For Kelly At The Bar’s Special Mai Tai, you will need:

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  • 1 1/2 oz spiced rum
  • approx. 1 oz traditional, barrel aged rum (for float)
  • 1/2 oz Falernum
  • 1/2 oz Grand Marnier
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • 4 oz orange juice
  • 2 oz pineapple juice
  • Grenadine, to taste

Gather all of your ingredients plus your fruit presses, shaker glass, jiggers, bar spoon, and serving glass.

First, squeeze your orange juice. You will need about 1 full orange to get the right amount of juice. We should not have to say it at this point, but as a reminder, do not use store-bought orange juice, it will completely ruin the drink.


Alright, now squeeze your 1/2 oz each of lemon and lime juices, and pour them into your shaker glass.


Next add in your 1/2 oz of Falernum and 1/2 oz of Grand Marnier.

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Now add in your 1 1/2 oz spiced rum (we recommend Sailor Jerry’s).


Now add in your 4 oz of OJ.


And then, your pineapple juice. This is the only juice that we endorse you purchasing from a store and using out of a can. Just do your best to get juice that is not from concentrate.



Finally, pour in your grenadine. We suggest using only a very, very small amount. Too much and the drink will be too sweet. But use your discretion — it is your drink, after all!



Now give the whole mixture a good stir to combine. You do not need to add ice into your shaker glass.

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You DO however need to add ice to a tall serving glass, and then pour that divine nectar in there! Make sure you reserve about 1/4 inch at the top of the glass, because we have to add in our float!



Very slowly and carefully, pour your traditional rum on top of the drink to create your float. You want the rum to sit at the top of the glass and not integrate, so take care when you pour. You can use your judgment when determining how much to use, but a good general range is 1 to 1 1/2 oz.



Now stick a straw in that baby, and prepare to be transported to the tropical island of your choosing!

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If we could, we would offer a money-back guarantee on this drink, because that is how sure we are that you will love it.

So sit back, relax, turn on some ukulele music, and enjoy!



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