|IBA official cocktail|
|Primary alcohol by volume|
|Served||On the rocks; poured over ice|
|Standard garnish||spearmint leaves and lime shell|
|Standard drinkware||Old Fashioned glass|
|Preparation||Shake all ingredients with ice. Strain into glass. Garnish and serve with straw.|
|Mai Tai recipe at International Bartenders Association|
Victor J. Bergeron claimed to have invented the Mai Tai in 1944 at his restaurant, Trader Vic's, in Oakland, California. Trader Vic's forerunner, Donn Beach, claimed to have instead first created it in 1933, although a longtime colleague said that Beach was actually just alleging that the Mai Tai was based on his Q.B. Cooler cocktail. Don the Beachcomber's recipe is more complex than that of Vic's and some believe tastes quite different. Others believe that despite the difference in ingredients that they taste quite similar.
Most current recipes for Mai Tais based on Trader Vic's 1944 recipe include rum, lime juice, orgeat syrup, and orange liqueur (typically orange curaçao). Variants may include the addition of falernum, bitters, grenadine, orange and grapefruit juices, and so on. Various books from Victor Bergeron described using rum from Jamaica as well as from Martinique, which in modern usage is a Rhum Agricole. As noted in Smuggler's Cove by Martin Cate and Rebecca Cate, the Martinique rums used by Bergeron in the 1950s were most certainly not agricole rums. Overproof rums are sometimes added to make stronger versions, but Cate says references to such use as being from "the old way" was only because a 151 proof (75%) demerara float was the preferred variation of a frequent elderly customer.
The Mai Tai became such a popular cocktail in the 1950s–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).
- "The Origin of the Mai Tai", , tradervics.com via archive.org
- "Anatomy of a Classic: The Mai Tai Turns 75". thedailybeast.com. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
- "Mai Tai recipe history". eater.com. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
- Berry, Jeff (2010). Beachbum Berry Remixed. San Jose: Slave Labor Graphics. p. 64.
- Coulombe, Charles A. (2005). Rum: The Epic Story of the Drink That Conquered the World. Citadel Press. p. 258.
- "The Ultimate Mai Tai". mercurynews.com. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
- Berry, Jeff (2010). Beachbum Berry Remixed. San Jose: Slave Labor Graphics. p. 69.
- "The Mai Tai History". caskstrength.wordpress.com. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
- Oxford English Dictionary, third edition, s.v. mai tai
- "maitai", Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary
- Cate, Martin (2016). Smuggler's Cove: Exotic Cocktails, Rum, and the Cult of Tiki. Berkeley, CA: Ten Speed Press. p. 264. ISBN 978-1-60774-732-1.
- Cacicio, Jennifer (2014-05-21). "Inside LA's Tiki Underground". punchdrink.com. Retrieved 2019-01-30.
- Pardilla, Caroline (2016-11-10). "You deserve a real Mai-Tai". eater.com. Retrieved 2019-01-30.