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Mai Tai

This Mai Tai cocktail is a bit of a variation on the classic, but will make you feel like you’re on a white, sandy beach nonetheless! Take a trip to the tropics with the warm flavors of white and dark rum, sweet pineapple juice, hints of citrus, and a dash of nutty spice. Shake and pour over ice, garnish with delicious fresh fruit, and sip your way to paradise!

Mai tai with pineapple and cherries.

Mai Tai Cocktail Recipe

Mai Tais are typically associated with far away beaches, tourists in resort wear, and palm trees as far as the eye can see. While they are popular in tiki bars around the world, the drink is rumored to actually have been created right in the U.S. Oakland, California to be exact.

In 1944 Victor Bergeron (owner of Trader Vic’s) is credited with creating the cocktail to showcase the Jamaican rum he had received. This drink became incredibly popular in the 40s and 50s and has had many variations over the years.

Ours resembles the more popularized sweet versions with the addition of pineapple juice and grenadine. This Mai Tai comes out a bit sweeter than Vic’s original, and has even more tropical flavor. One round and you’ll feel like your backyard is the only resort you’ll need this summer.

How to Make a Mai Tai

  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add the white rum, pineapple juice, orgeat syrup, grenadine, lime juice, and triple sec.
  2. Give everything a vigorous shake to combine all the ingredients.
  3. Add crushed ice to your favorite fun glass and strain the cocktail into it. Pour the shot of dark rum over top.
  4. Garnish with a small slice of pineapple, a lime wedge, and maraschino cherries. Cheers!
Collage showing how to make a Mai Tai.

Mai Tai Tips and Variations:

  • The pineapple juice and grenadine are non-traditional ingredients when it comes to a classic Mai Tai cocktail. They add an extra layer of flavor and pinkish orange color but you can absolutely leave them out if you prefer. 
  • For a stronger drink, blend white and gold rum as the base and float the dark rum on top as instructed. It becomes dangerously deceptive in flavor but original Mai Tai’s were created to show off the flavors in the different types of rum, so why not make a blend!
  • Coconut rum can be used for a flavored version. 
  • This recipe makes one cocktail, however you can easily make larger batches for parties or groups. Keep all the ratios of the ingredients the same, just increase the amount of each!
Side view of an orange cocktail in a glass.


Storage: This recipe is best to be made and enjoyed immediately. We don’t recommend storing.

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Yield: 1 (8 ounce) Cocktail

Mai Tai

Cherries on a rum cocktail.

This Mai Tai cocktail is a bit of a variation on the classic, but will make you feel like you’re on a white, sandy beach nonetheless!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes


  • 2 ounces white rum
  • 1 ounce pineapple juice, optional
  • 1 ounce orgeat syrup
  • ½ ounce of grenadine, optional
  • ½ ounce of lime juice
  • ½ ounce of triple sec or orange curacao
  • 1 ounce of dark rum


  1. Add ice to a cocktail shaker. Then, pour in all the ingredients except the dark rum.
  2. Shake vigorously to combine the ingredients.
  3. Add some crushed ice to a glass, and strain in the cocktail. Float the dark rum on top.
  4. Garnish with small, thinly sliced pineapple, lime slices and maraschino cherries.


*The calories listed are an approximation based on the ingredients in the recipe card and a serving size of 1 (8 ounce) cocktail. Actual calories will vary.

*For more information, tips, and answers to frequently asked questions, please refer to the post.

*Photos courtesy of Karla Rae Photography.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

8 ounces

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 429Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 24mgCarbohydrates: 56gFiber: 3gSugar: 37gProtein: 1g

*The calories are an estimate and are based on the ingredients and serving size listed. The calories can vary depending on the brand of product purchased.

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