If you’ve ever been to a luau, then you’ve probably tasted a Mai Tai. It’s a citrusy cocktail made of Curaçao liqueur, lime juice, orgeat syrup, and rum.
Created by Trader Vic Bergeron in 1944, the Mai Tai has become so popular that countless bartenders and enthusiasts tried to recreate it to no avail. The result is usually an odd combination of syrups and fruit juices that’s far from Trader Vic’s original creation.
Here are Vic’s actual words on how the drink is made:
“I took down a bottle of 17-year old rum. It was J. Wray Nephew from Jamaica; surprisingly golden in color, medium-bodied, but with the rich pungent flavor particular to the Jamaican blends. The flavor of this great rum wasn’t meant to be overpowered with heavy additions of fruit juices and flavorings.
I took a fresh lime, added some orange Curaçao from Holland, a dash of Rock Candy Syrup, and a dollop of French Orgeat, for its subtle almond flavor. A generous amount of shaved ice and vigorous shaking by hand produced the marriage I was after.
Half the lime shell went in for color… I stuck in a branch of fresh mint and gave two of them to Ham and Carrie Guild, friends from Tahiti, who were there that night. Carrie took one sip and said, ‘Mai Tai – Roa Ae.’ In Tahitian this means ‘Out of This World – The Best.’”
Based on that, here’s what you’ll need to put everything together: