|IBA Official Cocktail|
|Primary alcohol by volume|
|Served||On the rocks; poured over ice|
|Standard drinkware||Highball glass|
|IBA specified ingredients*|
|Preparation||Shake all ingredients with ice. Strain into glass. Garnish and serve with straw.|
It was purportedly invented at the 555 California St. office in San Francisco, California, in 1944. Trader Vic's rival, Don the Beachcomber, claimed to have created it in 1933 at his then-new bar named for himself (later a famous restaurant) in Hollywood. Don the Beachcomber's recipe is more complex than that of Vic's and tastes quite different.
The Trader Vic story of its invention is that the Trader (Victor J. Bergeron) created it one afternoon for some friends who were visiting from Tahiti. One of those friends, Carrie Guild, tasted it and cried out: "Maita'i roa ae!" (literally "very good!", figuratively "Out of this world! The best!")—hence the name.
In 1953 the Matson Navigation Company commissioned Victor Bergeron to create a drink for their new hotel The Royal Hawaiian. Victor then made a variation on the Mai Tai recipe adding pineapple juice, still served today at the hotel.
There are many recipes for Mai Tais. Eleven of them, including three different versions of Trader Vic's, as well as the recipe of Don the Beachcomber, can be found at Wikibooks Mai Tai.
The Mai Tai became such a popular cocktail in the 1950s and '60s that many restaurants, particularly tiki-themed restaurants or bars, served them. The Mai Tai was also prominently featured in the Elvis Presley film Blue Hawaii.
Today, the Mai Tai is synonymous with Tiki culture both past and present.
As of 2008, Trader Vic's Restaurant chain began to open small establishments called Mai Tai Bars that primarily serve cocktails and pupus (appetizers).
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- Mai Tai links at DMOZ
- Tiki culture at DMOZ
- The Cocktail Spirit with Robert Hess - Video demonstration for making a proper Mai Tai