Escape to a tropical paradise with our Classic Mai Tai recipe — an alluring blend of rum, lime, orange, and almond that will transport you straight to the islands.
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By the time your first sip of a Classic Mai Tai hits your belly, you will look around you and wonder how you were transported to a private beach, lounging under a palm tree as the waves flirt with the sand and the sun throws a big farewell party in the sky painted with orange and pink blushes. Yes, ALL within the first sip. That’s because the Mai Tai isn’t just a drink, it’s like all the good vibes of a tropical island in a glass–sun, sand, and enough of a tickle to send you packing on a sweet joyride.
While the Pina Colada is the divine queen of a beach vacation, and the Mojito is the perfect cocktail for a tropical hideout, the Classic Mai Tai holds its own charmed spot among these giants. It’s not just another rum gig; it’s a wicked mix of tastes that play so nice together, it’s got some serious harmony going. That’s what makes it both a member and the rebel of the rum concoctions family.
Ready to whip up a Mai Tai? Here’s what you’ll need…
- 2 oz. rum, typically a blend of light and dark
- 1 oz. freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1/2 oz. orgeat syrup (a sweet syrup made from almonds, sugar, and rose water or orange flower water)
- 1/2 oz. orange curaçao
- dash of simple syrup (equal parts water and sugar, heated until sugar dissolves)
- lime slice and/or mint sprig, for garnish
- Cocktail shaker
- Glass – ideally a highball glass
In a cocktail shaker, combine the rum, lime juice, orgeat syrup, orange curaçao, and a dash of simple syrup.
Add ice and shake well for about 10 seconds. This mixes all of your ingredients together while chilling the cocktail at the same time.
Strain the liquid into a glass filled with ice. Straining removes any small pieces of ice that may have broken off during shaking.
Garnish with a lime slice and/or a sprig of mint.
How to Make a Healthy/Low-Calorie Mai Tai
- I like to swap out the usual rum for a dark rum which has more flavor without the sugar overload.
- Fresh lime juice not only boosts the taste but it is also so much healthier than the bottled stuff you find at the store.
- Leave out that sugar-filled cherry and use a sprig of mint instead. It’s a refreshing and zero-calorie finish.
- And if you want to make a mocktail Mai Tai, ditch the rum and fill up with tropical fruit juices like pineapple or mango.
Tips & Tricks to Making a Perfect Mai Tai
- Pop your glass in the freezer while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
- Using freshly squeezed lime juice makes a world of difference in flavor.
- Be generous with your shaking. Ten seconds should do it.
- I recommend a blend of light and dark rum if you want to achieve a complex flavor experience.
A Classic Mai Tai can pack anywhere from 170 to 250 calories. But that number hinges on how generous your pour is and what kind of ingredients you use. See above for suggestions on how to bring that calorie count down.
Mai Tais are best served cold and enjoyed slowly, letting you take a moment to appreciate all those layers of yummy flavors. And you’ll be sipping it straight from the glass, no straw needed.
A Mai Tai should be served in a double old-fashioned glass or a highball glass.
Rum is the go-to for a Mai Tai, but it’s your beverage. Just bear in mind that swapping out the rum is gonna change the taste. I have seen people go for vodka, for a Vodka Tai. It is smoother but might not wow you flavor-wise.
how to prep and store a mai tai
A Mai Tai can be made well in advance, perfect for when you’re expecting company. Swirl everything but the ice together in your biggest pitcher or jug, then pop it in the fridge. When it’s time to get the party started, just add your ice, give it a stir or shake, then strain it into your glasses. You can tweak the taste to your liking by adding a bit more lime or simple syrup at this point.
If you’ve got some leftovers, stash them in the fridge. Just remember: the ice might water down the beverage. So for the freshest, most tropical vibes, try to enjoy your prepped Mai Tais the day you make them.
- 2 oz. rum typically a blend of light and dark
- 1 oz. lime juice freshly squeezed
- 0.5 oz. orgeat syrup (a sweet syrup made from almonds, sugar, and rose water or orange flower water)
- 0.5 oz. orange curaçao
- dash simple syrup (equal parts water and sugar, heated until sugar dissolves)
- lime slice and/or mint sprig for garnish
- In a cocktail shaker, combine the rum, lime juice, orgeat syrup, orange curaçao, and a dash of simple syrup.
- Add ice and shake well for about 10 seconds. This mixes all of your ingredients together while chilling the cocktail at the same time.
- Strain the liquid into a glass filled with ice. Straining removes any small pieces of ice that may have broken off during shaking.
- Garnish with a lime slice and/or a sprig of mint.
Recipes written and produced on Food Faith Fitness are for informational purposes only.