The Best Mai Tai Recipe

The Best Mai Tai Recipe

If you’ve been searching for a tropical cocktail that’s not too sweet, or you just need an easy way to use up some of the rum in your home bar, a Mai Tai recipe will be the perfect fit. These 11 Mai Tai recipes have it all! From the classic cocktail creation to fruity takes and even a frozen option, there’s a version for everyone to love – including the pickiest cocktail enthusiasts. 

Mai Tai Recipes 

Mango Mai Tai

by Limoncello Kitchen

If you love the original Mai Tai cocktail but what something a bit different, a mango version is an answer. To make this perfect Mai Tai drink, add fresh lime juice, orange Curaçao, mango nectar, aged rum, and orgeat syrup to a cocktail shaker with crushed ice. Simple syrup will work if you don’t have orgeat.

Strain into the glass of your choice, then garnish with fresh mango slices. Most people serve these in a Collins or double–old-fashioned glass, but there’s no wrong way to serve it!

Classic Mai Tai Cocktail


While the internet offers endless variations, the original Mai Tai recipe shouldn’t be overlooked. It’s simple, strong, and delicious! Make this recipe by adding white rum, orange liqueur, lime juice, and orgeat syrup to a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously until combined, then strain into a cocktail glass with fresh ice.

Gently add dark rum to the glass, floating it on top of the lighter drink mix. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint and a lime wheel. 

Virgin Mai Tai

by Liz on Call

Mai Tai is a great cocktail to turn into a mocktail! This virgin Mai Tai recipe can be made in bulk, so it’s the perfect virgin party punch for all ages to enjoy. Make the drink by combining orange juice, pineapple juice, lime juice, and almond simple syrup with ice. When you’re ready to serve, fill each glass halfway with the mixture before gently pouring grenadine, allowing it to sink to the bottom of the glass.

Top the glass off with sparkling water, garnish with an orange or lime wheel, and serve! If you don’t want the work of preparing every glass, set up a fun Mai Tai bar with instructions for guests to make their own drink! By preparing the punch base, you’ve done all the hard work. 

Bitter Mai Tai

by Steve the Bartender

Bitter is a word that has a negative connotation, but it’s not all bad! Sometimes, a bitter cocktail is just what you need. This recipe created by Jeremy Oertel is just the right amount of bitterness that will make you want to keep sipping.

To make this cocktail, combine dark rum, Campari, orange liqueur, lime juice, and orgeat syrup in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until chilled, then strain into an old-fashioned glass before topping with a sprig of fresh mint. 

Christmas Mai Tai

by Pineapple and Coconut

Get into the holiday spirit with a Christmas-inspired tropical drink. Start crafting the cocktail by adding gold and spiced rum to a cocktail glass with ice. In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add orange curacao, orgeat syrup, fresh lime juice, pineapple juice, cranberry juice, and tiki bitters. Shake until combined, then gently pour on top of the spiced and gold rum.

Finish the drink by floating a bit of dark rum on top before garnishing with mint and a pineapple slice.  

Royal Hawaiian

by The Educated Barfly

The Royal Hawaiian is sweeter than the classic recipe, but don’t let that fool you. It’s still strong. Light and dark rum, orange curacao, orange juice, pineapple juice, lime juice, orgeat, lemon juice, and simple syrup are combined with ice for a sweet, tart, and perfectly fruity cocktail.

Garnish your Royal Hawaiian with a mint sprig and a maraschino cherry before serving.

Mai Tai Amaretto

by All Recipes

If there are two Mai Tai cocktails you should master, it’s the classic recipe and the one with Amaretto. A few ingredient changes transform the flavor of the drink into something more tropical and fruity with more mild rum flavors.

Dark rum, amaretto liqueur, orange juice, and pineapple juice are combined with ice in the cocktail glass of your choice. Gently pour in a splash of grenadine for a layered appearance and bright pop of color. Garnish with a lime wedge and maraschino cherry.

Monkeypod Mai Tai

by Big Oven

The monkeypod is a more complex recipe that will take a little time to prepare, but the final product is quite impressive! To start, you’ll need a nitrous oxide infuser. This is used to mix the ingredients for the foam cocktail topping. Honey Liliko’i Foam, honey, Liliko’i puree, simple syrup, egg whites, and cold water are the foam ingredients.

Once you make the foam, set it to the side while you prepare the cocktail. The cocktail is made using dark and light rum, macadamia nut orgeat, orange liqueur, and fresh lime juice. Shake these ingredients with ice before pouring them into a glass. Float a little dark rum on top before gently adding the monkeypod foam. The foam acts as not only a flavorful addition but an edible garnish too!

Murderous Mai Tai

by Tattooed Martha

This Murderous Mai Tai recipe is similar to others on the list, but it only features one type of rum – spiced rum. Sailor Jerry’s spiced rum is recommended, but any spiced rum will work. The rum is mixed with orange liqueur, pineapple juice, and lime juice in a cocktail mixer with ice.

After pouring the mixture into a glass, add grenadine and maraschino cherries for a drink that looks good enough to kill!

Blue Hawaiian

by Amanda’s Cookin

A Blue Hawaiian is another classic cocktail that’s wildly popular. What could be better than a mai tai recipe that includes all your favorite parts of a blue Hawaiian too? To make this drink, begin by adding dark rum to a cocktail glass with ice. Pour pineapple and mango juice into the glass, then a splash of grenadine.

Finally, add blue curacao to really brighten the cocktail. Garnish with a cherry and a pineapple slice.

Watermelon Mai Tai

by Food Network

Nothing says summer like a watermelon-inspired cocktail! This variation from Food Network is a blended drink that comes together in minutes and tastes incredible. Fresh watermelon, light rum, St. Germain liqueur, lime juice, and sugar are blended until smooth. 

Pour the mixture into a glass with ice, or blend the ice in for a truly frozen beverage!

Best Rum for a Mai Tai

The best rum for a Mai Tai is typically considered to be an aged Jamaican rum. While some recipes may call for coconut rum or light rum, the recipes usually call for dark rum mixed with coconut or white rum. 

Aged rum offers a better mouthfeel and richer flavors that can hold their own against the other classic Mai Tai ingredients. Spiced rum and golden rum are two variations of a traditional aged rum that also work well in Mai Tais. Rum with origins in Jamaica and the Dominican Republic will create a flavor that’s closest to the original cocktail recipe.


What is the Mai Tai mix made of?

Mai Tai mix is made of a sweetener, such as pure cane sugar, and natural or artificial flavors of orange and pineapple.

What kind of rum is best for Mai Tai?

Aged rum is better than white rum for classic Tiki drinks.

What kind of rum is in Mai Tai?

Most recipes call for aged rum or white rum mixed with aged rum. Rum sourced from Jamaica or the Dominican Republic is preferred.

Is a Mai Tai a strong drink?

A Mai Tai is a strong cocktail. You can clearly taste the rum flavor alongside the tart and mildly sweet cocktail notes.

Key Takeaways

  • The original recipe Mai Tai can be made with any type of rum, but dark rum is preferred.
  • Traditional garnishes include lime wheels, pineapple slices, orange wedges, mint sprigs, and maraschino cherries. 
  • Most Mai Tai recipes call for a cocktail mixer or cocktail glass to thoroughly combine all ingredients.

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