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A Mai Tai is a popular tropical cocktail and a cornerstone of tiki culture. Made with rum, orgeat syrup, and lime, it’s fruity and refreshing.

Two Mai Tai cocktails in hurricane glasses.

Mai Tai comes from the word maitaʻi, which loosely means “good” or “excellent.” And when you’re by the pool or at a beach, is there any better drink to enjoy?

Have fun with your garnishes! Pineapple spears or wedges are common and maraschino cherries and sprigs of fresh mint. look pretty. Now’s a good time to bust out those tiny paper umbrellas too, if you have any!

Table of Contents
  1. Recipe ingredients
  2. Ingredient notes
  3. Step-by-step instructions
  4. Recipe tips and variations
  5. Recipe FAQs
  6. Mai Tai Recipe

Recipe ingredients

Labeled ingredients for Mai Tai cocktails.

At a Glance: Here is a quick snapshot of what ingredients are in this recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for specific quantities.

Ingredient notes

  • Orgeat syrup: An almond-flavored syrup.
  • Orange liqueur: Dry Orange Curaçao is the traditional choice in a Mai Tai, but you can substitute triple sec, Cointreau, or Grand Marnier.
  • Simple syrup: To make it yourself, combine 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved (do not boil). Remove from heat and cool before adding 1 tablespoon (or more to taste) to your cocktail shaker with the other ingredients. Store leftover simple syrup covered in the refrigerator for 3-4 weeks.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. In a cocktail shaker, add rum, lime juice, orgeat syrup, simple syrup, and orange liquor. Fill shaker with ice, cover and shake until well chilled and combined, about 30-45 seconds.
Mixing a Mai Tai cocktail.
  1. Fill a rocks glass or tiki cup halfway with crushed ice. Strain Mai Tai into glass. Top with additional ice. Garnish with mint leaves, lime zest, pineapple, and a maraschino cherry.
Mixing a Mai Tai cocktail.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This recipe makes one delicious, tropical cocktail.
  • Glassware: If you drink a ton of Tiki-themed drinks, consider Tiki cocktail glasses that have mask faces on them. I love to use a simple hurricane glass so I can appreciate the Mai Tai for all its beauty.
  • Big batch: To make a batch of 8 cocktails, combine 16 ounces (2 cups) dark rum, 8 ounces (1 cup) lime juice, 6 ounces (¾ cup) orgeat syrup, 4 ounces (½ cup) orange liqueur, and 4 ounces (½ cup) simple syrup in a pitcher. Have ice, glassware, and garnishes on hand so guests can help themselves.
Two Mai Tai cocktails in hurricane glasses.

Recipe FAQs

How do you pronounce “orgeat”?

Say it like “or-ZHATT” where ZHATT falls between a “Z” and a “J” as if you were saying Jacques Cousteau.

What does a Mai Tai taste like?

It’s a fruity drink from the orange liqueur and fresh lime juice while the orgeat syrup adds more sweetness (with a hint of almond flavor).

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Two Mai Tai cocktails on a counter.

Mai Tai

A Mai Tai is a popular tropical cocktail and a cornerstone of tiki culture. Made with rum, orgeat syrup, and lime, it's fruity and refreshing.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 2 mins
Total Time 2 mins
Servings 1 cocktail
Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Calories 278

Ingredients 

  • 2 ounces dark rum (¼ cup)
  • 1 ounce lime juice (2 tablespoons)
  • 3/4 ounce orgeat syrup (1 ½ tablespoons, see note 1)
  • 1/2 ounce orange liquor (1 tablespoon, see note 2)
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup (1 tablespoon, see note 3) optional
  • 1 sprig fresh mint leaves for garnish
  • 1 twist lime zest for garnish
  • 1 wedge pineapple for garnish
  • Maraschino cherries for garnish

Instructions 

  • In a cocktail shaker, add rum, lime juice, orgeat syrup, simple syrup, and orange liquor. Fill shaker with ice, cover and shake until well chilled and combined, about 30-45 seconds.
  • Fill a rocks glass or tiki cup halfway with crushed ice. Strain Mai Tai into glass. Top with additional ice. Garnish with mint leaves, lime zest, pineapple, and a maraschino cherry.

Notes

  1. Orgeat syrup: An almond-flavored syrup.
  2. Orange liqueur: Dry Orange Curaçao is the traditional choice in a Mai Tai, but you can substitute triple sec, Cointreau, or Grand Marnier.
  3. Simple syrup: To make it yourself, combine 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved (do not boil). Remove from heat and cool before adding 1 tablespoon (or more to taste) to your cocktail shaker with the other ingredients. Store leftover simple syrup covered in the refrigerator for 3-4 weeks.
  4. Yield: This recipe makes one delicious, tropical cocktail.
  5. Glassware: If you drink a ton of Tiki-themed drinks, consider Tiki cocktail glasses that have mask faces on them. I love to use a simple hurricane glass so I can appreciate the Mai Tai for all its beauty.
  6. Big batch: To make a batch of 8 cocktails, combine 16 ounces (2 cups) dark rum, 8 ounces (1 cup) lime juice, 6 ounces (¾ cup) orgeat syrup, 4 ounces (½ cup) orange liqueur, and 4 ounces (½ cup) simple syrup in a pitcher. Have ice, glassware, and garnishes on hand so guests can help themselves.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cocktailCalories: 278kcalCarbohydrates: 32gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 17mgPotassium: 59mgFiber: 1gSugar: 25gVitamin A: 57IUVitamin C: 9mgCalcium: 10mgIron: 1mg
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I’m the Executive Chef and head of the Culinary Hill Test Kitchen. Every recipe is developed, tested, and approved just for you.

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Meggan Hill

I’m the Executive Chef and head of the Culinary Hill Test Kitchen. Every recipe is developed, tested, and approved just for you.

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