Hawaii's Most Popular Tropical Cocktail

Who Made the first Mai Tai?

The Mai Tai, bright as a tropical sun, smooth as summer surf, rich as old Lurline passengers, is the most famous of Hawaii's tropical drinks.

The Mai Tai is Polynesian in spirit and Tahitian in name - although who first created the classic drink remains in dispute.

The late Vic Bergeron, creator of Trader Vic's restaurants, claimed he invented the drink in 1944 in Oakland, California, and wrote about it in a 1947 bar guide. "There's been a lot of conversation over the beginning of the Mai Tai," Bergeron once said, "And I want to get the record straight...I originated the Mai Tai. Many others have claimed credit. All this aggravates my ulcer completely. Anyone who says I didn't create this drink is a dirty stinker."

Bergeron said he gave the first of his new drinks to a visiting couple from Tahiti. "She took one sip and said, 'Mai tai roa ae!' In Tahitian this means, 'out of this world, the best.'  Well, that was that. I named the drink 'Mai Tai.'"

The Mai Tai became popular at Trader Vic's West Coast restaurants even before he introduced it to Hawaii in 1953.

Mai Tai

2 oz. Dark Rum
2 oz. Light Rum
2 oz. Triple Sec
1 oz. Lime Juice
1 oz. Grenadine
1oz. Orgeat Syrup
Garnish: Pineapple & Cherry

Combine ingredients together in a shaker with ice. Serve on the Rocks in an old fashion glass or high ball. Garnish with a pineapple wedge & cherry. Can use store bought mix in place of the Orgeat syrup, grenadine & lime juice.

Contact Noah at:

Noah's Galley


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