Mai Tai is the most famous Tiki cocktail for a good reason, “Mai Tai” is a Tahitian word which means “the best out of this world”. This cocktail took a star turn as it was featured in the film Blue Hawaii by Elvis.
Mai Tai drink is a rum-based tropical cocktail with a fruity flavor, it was created by Victor J. Bergeron in 1944 at his own restaurant Trader Vic’s in Oakland, California. It is a celebration of rum and is citrus-tart, slightly sweet flavor with nutty-smokey aroma. Let’s learn about the unknown facts about an authentic tiki cocktail.
The history of the cocktail also has a small connection with the great depression. It is believed that after the great depression Americans were attracted to the Polynesian culture. This helped increase the popularity of Tiki. Mai Tai was gradually introduced and it became an absolute treat for people who were desiring for peace and happiness after the great depression. It was a drink made to make people happy.
It’s not supposed to be sweet
This nutty, rummy, and citrusy Mai Tai that touches and soothes the soul with the rich textures and bright appearance and also the sweet and tart flavor. This cocktail seems quite simple but it is complex and not too sweet. According to Meaghan Dorman of Dear Irving, NYC Mai Tai is twisted over the years, and it is quite crisp, dry, and boozy.
Tales behind the Mai Tai Origin
Mai Tai is originated in Oakland after the first world war in 1914 which lead to the Great Depression, all that people living in Oakland desired to be peaceful and free. Therefore, it is considered to have the ability to forget troubles.
Trader Vic after returning to Hollywood to Oakland was inspired by the beachcomber vibes so he transformed his own bar formerly known as “Hinki Drinks” to a tiki -lit Polynesian palace and renamed it on his own nickname “Trader Vic’s”,
Rum and Ice is the key
Rum is definitely the key ingredient in every Mai Tai ever since the Trader Vic’s original recipe that featured 17 years aged rum. In order to reproduce the original flavor of the Way & Nephew 17, Trader Vic used Jamaican rum and Martinique rum, since then may of the bartenders try using a similar blend to recreate the original taste of Mai Tai.
A perfect tropical Mai Tai is a cocktail over crushed ice and a nice frost outside the glass, according to the tiki expert and owner of Smuggler’s Clove at San Francisco Martin Cate, crushed ice melts slowly which leads to slow dilution of the cocktail.
Tiki cocktails demand more garnish
Tiki culture and bars have continued to grow and bloom constantly in the post-war years. The rebirth of tiki culture has introduced more and more garnish to the cocktails, you can go crazy and garnish with a little umbrella, pineapple slice, cherries, or even a tropical flower which will embrace the tropical culture. As Mai Tai is a happy cocktail it should make you feel like you are in a tropical paradise. Here is how to make a mai tai.
Trader Vic’s authentic Mai Tai Recipe
- 30ml Light Rum
- 30ml Dark Rum
- 15ml of fresh lime juice
- 15ml Orange Curacao Liqueur
- 7.5ml Orgeat Syrup
- 7.5ml Simple Syrup
- Fresh Mint Sprig
- 1 cup crushed Ice
- Pour all the Ingredients except mint and shake vigorously.
- Pour into an old-fashioned glass and float the half lime shell and mint sprig.
- Serve and enjoy the out of the world drink!