The Mai Tai is one of those drinks that has a bad rap. Most guys aren’t able to order one without a wierd look, and without it being accompanied by an umbrella and a couple cherries. But, the Mai Tai wasn’t originally all fruits and berries. It was at its origin a legitimate cocktail. One with a good mix of spirit, sweetness, and that kick of herbal complexity that makes a great drink. Read on and I’ll show you how to do it right.

“Mai Tai” actually means “Out of this world” in Tahitian, or as they would probably say now “ERMERGERD!”

The original recipe from Vic Bergeron supposedly goes something like this…

  • 17-year old rum
  • lime juice
  • orange curaçao
  • French orgeat.
  • A dash of rock candy syrup
  • sprig of fresh mint for garnish

There’s nothing fruity or shameful about that now is there? Where did it all go wrong? Who threw in the pineapple juice and the umbrella? Who brought the can of cherries to the party?

Nobody for sure knows when things went south (way south), but they did, and it’s time to fix them. Now I didn’t have all the ingredients to replicate the original, nor did I have rock candy or its syrup, but I did have some things that were close.

After mixing a couple up, it’s definitely something I wouldn’t be ashamed of sipping while lounging on the beach catching up on my media (yeah, that’s Martha Stewart Living in that pic and I’m not embarrassed to say it).

Here’s how to make a proper Mai Tai befitting of a Lady or a Gentlemen…

Gentlemen’s Mai Tai

makes 1


1 1/2 oz good aged rum (I used 4-year-old Flor de Cana)

3/4 oz Gran Marnier

3/4 oz Frangelico

1 lime (cut into pieces)

8 or so mint leaves (with more left for garnish)

Crushed Ice


Get your pieces of lime and mint and muddle them thoroughly in the bottom of a cocktail shaker.

Add all your spirits and fill the shaker with ice.

Shake vigorously until cold, and then strain into a glass filled with crushed ice. I don’t yet have a denim bag to crush ice, so I just hammered them good with a rolling pin in a stainless bowl.

Now go sit back, relax on a nice patio, and take a picture on Instagram for your friends. You won’t be ashamed of Mai Tai’ing again.

Speaking of Instagram, I think I may take a pic and post on my Instagram right now. Follow me if you like to see pics of food and stuff.

‘Doh, I forgot to put the mint garnish in the pics.

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