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How To Make A Real Mai Tai?

How To Make A Real Mai Tai

The Mai Tai, a tropical cocktail with a storied history, is the embodiment of exotic allure and leisure. While the drink’s popularity has led to countless variations, creating an authentic Mai Tai is an art form that transports you to the sun-soaked beaches of the Pacific Islands.

Crafted with the finest rum, fresh lime juice, and a touch of sweetness, the real Mai Tai is a balance of refreshingly tart, subtly sweet, and undeniably delicious flavors. 

In this article, we’ll guide you through the steps of making a true Mai Tai, revealing the secrets to capturing the genuine essence of this iconic cocktail and elevating your mixology skills to a tropical paradise.

What Is Real Mai Tai?

A Mai Tai is a classic tropical cocktail with a rich history. It’s typically made with rum, often a combination of light & dark rum, lime juice, orange liqueur (such as triple sec or orange curaçao), and orgeat syrup, which adds almond and floral notes. 

The ingredients are shaken with ice, served over crushed ice, & garnished with a mint sprig, lime wheel, and a cherry. The Mai Tai is known for its delightful balance of sweet, tart, and fruity flavors, making it a beloved tiki drink enjoyed worldwide.

How To Make A Real Mai Tai?

The Real Mai Tai is a classic cocktail with a tropical and citrusy twist. This cocktail is about balance, featuring a blend of aged rum, fresh lime juice, orange liqueur, and a sweetness from orgeat syrup. The result is a refreshing and sophisticated drink that transports you to the beaches of the South Pacific.


  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: Approximately 5 minutes


  • 2 ounces aged rum
  • 3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 ounce orange liqueur (e.g., Curacao or triple sec)
  • 1/4 ounce orgeat syrup
  • 1/4 ounce simple syrup (1:1 ratio of sugar and water)
  • Crushed ice
  • Lime wheel or mint sprig for garnish


  • Combine Ingredients: Combine the aged rum, fresh lime juice, orange liqueur, orgeat syrup, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker.
  • Shake with Ice: Ample pulverized ice should be added to the shaker. Shake the shaker vigorously for approximately 10 to 15 seconds.
  • Strain into Glass: In a double old-fashioned glass filled with crushed ice, strain the cocktail.
  • Garnish: Garnish your Real Mai Tai with a lime wheel and mint twig.
  • Serve: Serve your Mai Tai with a straw and savor the drink.


  • For an authentic Mai Tai, use a quality aged rum. A combination of aged light and dark rums can add complexity to the flavor.
  • Orgeat syrup is an important component of the Mai Tai. It is an almond nectar with orange flower water. You can purchase it from specialty liquor retailers or make it at home.
  • For the finest flavor, always use freshly squeezed lime juice. Avoid lime juice from a bottle because it lacks the freshness and vibrancy of the real thing.
  • Vigorously shake the cocktail with ice to cool and slightly dilute it. This assists in blending the flavors and achieving the desired equilibrium.

Serving Suggestions:

  • The Mai Tai is a fantastic cocktail to serve as a tropical-themed aperitif or alongside Polynesian and Hawaiian cuisine.
  • Pair it with dishes like grilled seafood, teriyaki chicken, or coconut shrimp for a delightful island-inspired meal.
  • For a fun twist, you can float a small amount of dark rum on top of the Mai Tai before garnishing for an extra layer of flavor.
  • Enjoy your Real Mai Tai on a warm evening, perhaps while watching a sunset or listening to some relaxing island music.

The Real Mai Tai is a classic cocktail that exemplifies the art of balancing ingredients. Its combination of citrus, sweetness, and premium rum makes it a classic favorite among those seeking a tropical flavor.

Bottom Line

This was all about how to make a Real Mai Tai. A real Mai Tai is more than just a cocktail; it’s an escape to the exotic and a celebration of fine craftsmanship. With the right ingredients and a keen attention to detail, you can recreate the magic of this classic drink in the comfort of your own home. 

Whether you’re sipping it on a warm summer evening or reminiscing about your last beach vacation, a well-crafted Mai Tai is a timeless and delightful indulgence. 

Thank you for reading!

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