The Mai Tai was invented by Donn Beach for his tropical-themed Don the Beachcomber restaurants in Los Angeles. Mr Beach (born Ernest Raymond Beaumont-Gantt) invented the tiki culture with his restaurant and his invention of colorful tropical-themed rum punches served as cocktails. Immediately upon the success of Don the Beachcomber came Vic Bergeron's Trader Vic's restaurants; the competition led to ever more thrilling cocktailian adventures in tiki-land.
The classic Mai Tai is a delightful combination of tropical flavors: almond, spices, Curacao, lime, and two kinds of rum. The Mai Tai is not an authentic drink of any south Pacific cutlure; it is intended to evoke a romantic vision of Polynesian islands as was so popular in this country until WWII. The most colorful and outrageous elements of that come down to us today in tiki kitsch culture, characterized by colorful tropical-themed drinks with little umbrellas and bits of pineapple, often served in bizarre glasses shaped like monkeys, volcanoes, or what have you.
1 oz Light Rum
1 oz Dark Rum (Meyers is good)
1⁄2 oz Cointreau
1⁄2 oz Orgeat Syrup (syrup flavored with almond and tropical spices)
1⁄2 Lime (squeezed)
- Mix all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake with ice.
- Serve over ice.
- Garnish with tropical panache.