Trader Vic's Mai Tai

Tiki Tacky? Not With This Exotic Classic. The credit for this iconic 1930s drink–whose name is a name a nod to the Tahitian, "Maita'i," which means "good"–is usually given to venerable Los Angeles tiki bar Trader Vic's. Buoyed by the rise of tiki culture and some big celebrity endorsements (think Elvis in Blue Hawaii), this rumbased umbrella drink became cemented in the public imagination as a tropical must-have. The classic components of tiki are all here: lots of rum, a citrus component and a hint of exotica via the addition of orgeat, a syrup made from almonds. But don't look to this drink for kitsch factor alone: When done up right–no orange juice or syrupy prefab Mai Tai mix–this is one of the greats.
By / Photography By Zachari Wilks | July 01, 2014


Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake until chilled. Strain over ice into a rocks glass. Garnish with half of a spent lime and a sprig of mint. Drink it sitting by the pool.


  • 2 ounces rum, aged and preferably Jamaican
  • 1/2 ounce Orange Curacao
  • 3/4 ounce fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 ounce Orgeat Syrup
  • 1/2 ounce Gomme (simple syrup may be a substitute)
  • Garnish: half of a spent lime and a sprig of mint
  • Glassware: rocks
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