Mai Tai

Mai Tai

The Washington Post, June 10, 2009

  • Course: Beverage


This drink, created by Victor J. “Trader Vic” Bergeron, was the Cosmopolitan of its day and the favorite drink of President Richard Nixon.

Orgeat, an almond syrup, is the secret ingredient here. It’s used in numerous tiki drinks. There are several brands of orgeat on the market, including Torani, Trader Vic’s and Fee Brothers. Or better yet, make it yourself; see the related recipe.

1 serving


  • Ice
  • 3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice, reserving a spent half-lime for garnish
  • 1/2 ounce orange curacao
  • 1/2 ounce orgeat syrup (see related recipe)
  • 1/4 ounce simple syrup (see NOTE)
  • 1 ounce aged Jamaican rum, preferably Appleton XV
  • 1 ounce amber rhum agricole, preferably Rhum Clement VSOP
  • Mint sprig, for garnish


Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice. Add the lime juice, orange curacao, orgeat syrup, simple syrup, Jamaican rum and rhum agricole. Shake well, then pour (unstrained) into a double old-fashioned glass or wineglass. Garnish with a mint sprig and the spent shell of half a lime.

NOTE: To make simple syrup, combine 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a slow, rolling boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 5 minutes. Transfer to a glass container and let cool to room temperature. Cover tightly and refrigerate until chilled before using; store indefinitely.

Recipe Source:

Adapted from “Sippin’ Safari,” by Jeff “Beachbum” Berry (SLG Publishing, 2007).

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