When you hear the words “Mai Tai,” what comes to mind? Something elaborate and possibly on fire? Maybe in a coconut? Perhaps a fruity drink you’d order at an all-inclusive resort that has more in common with purgatory than an actual travel destination?
You should know that a proper Mai Tai is none of those things. It’s an old-school tiki drink that requires neither blender nor coconut, and it’s probably a lot simpler than you think. If you’re looking for something to hold in your right hand all summer, this is it. And all you need is four ingredients. And maybe a Hawaiian shirt.
How It Tastes: Crisp, Fruity, Tropical
Drink If You Like: Painkiller, Mojito
the mai tai
- Rocks Glass
- 1.75 ounces gold rum
- .75 ounce lime juice
- .5 ounce triple sec
- .5 ounce Orgeat
Step One: Lime Juice
We’re going to start things off with lime juice. If you aren’t sure where lime juice comes from, look around your home for a small, green, ovular object in your kitchen, then squeeze it. Put .75 ounce in your shaker.
Step Two: Orgeat
Next, you’re going to need some orgeat, an opaque almond-flavored syrup with a bit of orange flower water. You can buy it at certain grocery stores or easily find it online - and you can also make it at home with some almonds or almond milk, sugar, and a blender. However you get your orgeat, add .5 ounce to your shaker. (And if you currently have no way of acquiring orgeat, use .5 ounce simple syrup.)
Step Three: Triple Sec
By the way, triple sec is just an orange liqueur. There are all sorts of varieties out there, including a lot of stuff that’s pretty much just bottled sugar. So, if you can, try to get your hands on a quality brand like Cointreau, Combier, Grand Marnier, or Pierre Ferrand. You’ll use it in a bunch of different cocktails, so it won’t go to waste. Now, put .5 ounce triple sec in your shaker.
Step Four: Rum
Get your hands on some gold rum, something with a little age. There are plenty of great kinds out there, and it’s hard to go wrong - just look for a nice amber color and make sure you aren’t buying a spiced rum. Our Mai Tai already has all the flavor it needs. Pour 1.75 ounces in your shaker.
Step Five: Shake
Let’s get this drink nice and frosty with a strong 15-second shake. Once you’re winded, pour everything over ice in rocks, and garnish with a big mint sprig, a cherry, an orange slice, a lime wheel, or all of the above. Much like a Bloody Mary or a plate of shrimp cocktail at a dinner party in the year 1950, a tiki drink can never have enough garnishes.