The Mai Tai has a Polynesian name but was invented by Victor Bergeron (Trader Vic) in Emeryville, California in 1944. According to documented accounts Vic was manning the bar at his restaurant (Hinky Dink’s when two of his Tahitian friends asked him to make them something unusual. Vic did so and after tasting the drink they raised their glasses shouted “Mai tai Roa ae” which loosely translated, means the best damn thing we’ve ever drunk.
The cocktail has some complex flavors that are both sweet and sharp, but all in all tastes wonderful. Unfortunately over the years a number of cocktails, including this one have been downgraded due to lazy bartenders that have used shortcuts such as a premix and well grade liquors to make the drink nothing more than spiked fruit punch. On the other hand, the following recipe will be a crowd pleaser for any occasion.
1 oz light Rum
1 oz dark Rum
Juice of one lime
1/2 oz orange Curacao
1 1/2 oz simple syrup
1 1/2 tsp orgeat (almond syrup)
Place rums, curacao and syrups in a cocktail shaker with cracked ice. Shake and strain into a chilled old fashioned glass with ice and garnish with lime and mint. Serve with a straw.