Beat the Heat with a Classic Mai Tai: A Summer Escape

It has been extremely hot for the first couple of official days of Summer, and what better way to escape the heat than with a classic tiki cocktail like the Mai Tai? Tiki culture originated in the 1930s in Southern California when a man named Don Beach opened the first tiki bar, Don the Beachcomber. He took inspiration from his travels around the South Pacific. To recreate the flavors he experienced during his travels, he mixed rum with fresh fruits such as pineapple and guava.

The creation of the Mai Tai is generally credited to a man named Victor Bergeron. Victor visited Don the Beachcomber and decided to change the name and décor of his restaurant in Oakland, California, to more closely resemble Don the Beachcomber. He then started going by the nickname Trader Vic. The original Mai Tai recipe used by Trader Vic featured a specific Jamaican rum called J. Wray & Nephew. When his stock ran out, he started blending rums to create a similar flavor profile.

Over the decades since the Mai Tai was invented, it took a wrong turn from showcasing quality rum when bartenders started using bottled juices and mixers to create neon-colored, overly sweet cocktails. In the past couple of years, a more classic version of the Mai Tai has risen back to prominence. Bartenders today continue to blend their preferred rums to create their own unique Mai Tai. The recipe I will use features a high-proof Jamaican rum and a more classic rum.


  • 1 ½ oz Rum Fire Jamaican high-proof white rum
  • ¾ oz orange liqueur
  • ¾ oz lime juice
  • ½ oz orgeat
  • ½ oz Pusser’s 84 proof dark rum

Method: Add white rum, orange liqueur, lime juice, and orgeat into a shaker with crushed ice and shake lightly. Pour into a double rocks glass and float the dark rum on top. Garnish with a lime wheel and mint sprig.

Scroll to Top