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Monday, May 24, 2010

Mai Tai No. 2 will take you to Tiki Paradise

You first read about my love of Mai Tais on this site about a year ago, and about my introduction to this ambrosial cocktail sitting in a semi-private tea room at Kiyo’s Japanese Restaurant on Clark Street in Chicago.  As hot weather approaches (well, perhaps not in Salt Lake City – it will be cold and rainy (again) this week-end, – but certainly in much of the rest of the country), it’s time to think of long summer drinks and tropical concoctions.  Mai Tai recipes abound (some good, some bad); there are many, many on the web.  Several of them are credited to two great bartenders: Trader Vic (the acknowledged inventor of the thing) and Don the Beachcomber (inventor of the Tiki Bar), two shining stars who now smile on us from heaven.  This recipe is closer to those of these cocktail legends in that it has very little fruit juice, so if you’re looking for a sweeter, “juicier” Mai Tai with less Rum flavor, click through to my first recipe.  If this one is a little too dry for you, add a little (¼ oz?) simple syrup.

It is de rigueur that a Mai Tai have at least two kinds of Rum in it, usually a heavier one and a lighter one.  If you like your Rums dark, go with a dark and a gold; if not, go with a gold and a light.  If you don’t have any Orgeat, you may substitute Amaretto, and if you have no Falernum (it can be hard to find), you can leave it out and still have a good Mai Tai.  As always, you may try this recipe as written or play with it a little to make it your own.  There is not much fruit juice in this cocktail, so use a smaller Collins glass (10-12 oz) or a double Old Fashioned glass.

Mai Tai No. 2

1 ½ oz Jamaica Rum (or dark)
1 oz light Rum (or gold)
½ oz Cointreau (or Triple Sec)
¾ oz freshly squeezed Lime juice (1 Lime)
½ oz Orgeat syrup
¼ oz Falernum
2 dashes of Orange Bitters
½ oz Gosling’s Black Seal® (dark) Rum

Squeeze the lime, leaving a little juice in one half and setting it aside.  Combine ingredients with cracked ice in a shaker.  Shake well while thinking about the classical hula dancers at the old Intercontinental hotel in Wailea, Maui.  Strain into a Collins glass full of crushed ice.  Garnish with a wedge of pineapple (or orange) and a sprig of mint.  Float just enough dark rum to cover the top of the glass, finish it with a slight squeeze of fresh juice from the reserved lime half, drop it in (optional), and enjoy. 


  1. That's one potent drink until he ice starts melting in the Tiki mug. Did it up with Myer's, 10 Cane and Gosling's Black Seal respectively. The Orgeat is store bought and the Falernum is made from the recipe made usng Lemon Hart 151 with some start anise added.
    It's got everything I could want -- Complexity, sweet, sour, spicy, and a wonderful mix of Rums. Thanks. It's just what the doctor ordered.

  2. Glad you liked it! That sounds like a great combination of Rums. I must admit that, although I've seen the Penguin's recipe, I've been too lazy to make my own Falernum. Thanks for the reminder, you may have moved me to action.