Mai Tai - Trader Vic's

Description
Jamaican rum, Rhum Agricole, Curaçao, Lime juice, Simple syrup, Orgeat, Mint
Ingredients
1ozJamaican rum (dark, 7-15 year old)
1ozRhum Agricole, St. James Ambre
34ozLime juice
12ozCuraçao
14ozOrgeat
14ozSimple syrup
1spgMint (as garnish)
Instructions
Shake, pour into low-ball without straining, garnish
Notes
Some use more orgeat instead of simple syrup. Some use Clément Créole Shrubb instead of Curaçao. Smith & Cross is a nice choice for the Jamaican rum.
Cocktail summary
Yield
Drink
Year1944
Created byTrader Vic's, Oakland, CA, or Don the Beachcomber, Hollywood, CA. Disputed.
AuthenticityAuthentic recipe
Referencehttp://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Bartending/Cocktails/Mai_Tai
Posted by
Dan's picture
Dan on 06/06/2010
Quickstart CocktailsTiki and Exotic Cocktails
Cocktail photograph
Mai Tai
Mai Tai

Comments

That's very close to the recipe I use:

1 oz Jamaican dark rum (Apple Estate V/X or Reserve or 12 yr OR Smith & Cross)
1 oz Rhum agricole (at least somewhat aged)
1 oz Lime juice
1⁄2 oz Curacao (Creole Shrubb OR Pierre Ferrard Dry Curacao)
1⁄2 oz Orgeat
1 tsp Simple syrup (made from turbinado or other raw/unrefined sugar, if possible)
1 spg Mint (as garnish)

Optional: 1⁄2 oz float of high-proof dark rum

A touch more lime juice, more orgeat, and less sugar syrup than the posted recipe, with an optional high-proof float.

More orgeat less simple, and never ever use Smith & Cross. That stuff is crap. Don't take my word for it, take Ed Hamilton's.

jamaican rum should be appleton v/x
rhum agricole should be Clement VSOP
other than that it is good to go - personally i prefer juice of half a lime, but if using key lime i would use 3/4 oz

Shouldn't it be 1944 rather than 1972?

Zachary Pearson's picture

Adam,

The original 1944 recipe called for the legendary and impossible to obtain J. Wray 17 year old rum, and was designed to highlight that ingredient. The 1972 version referenced here uses an ounce of two different rums to try and approximate the flavor of the J. Wray.

Thanks,

Zachary

Perhaps the drink was originally created to highlight the J. Wray 17, but the rest of the formula is the same. I would argue that it's the same drink as long as it uses the same ingredients -- two ounces of some kind of rum -- and the same basic ratio.
Regardless of your feeling on that, where did you come up with 1972? That seems way too recent. For reference, see page 162 of Jeff Berry's "Sippin' Safari," which lists the same recipe, "as served at Trader Vic's in Havana, Cuba, 1958." Which is not to say that the formula was invented that late. Vic Bergeron apparently exhausted the supply of J. Wray 17 within a couple of years after creating the drink, so this two-rum formula was probably created in the late '40s.

Zachary Pearson's picture

Adam,

The link is under the reference section of the cocktail - it's a Wikibooks page that cites the original, then the 1972 update (which removed the J. Wray, added St. James Amber, and unspecified the brands of Curacao, simple, and orgeat).

Thanks,

Zachary

Ah, if it's on Wikipedia it must be true! :-)
FWIW the entry doesn't even agree with the site it attributes the recipe to. That site dates the recipe in question as having been created in 1997:
http://www.kevdo.com/maitai/
... But I don't know why you'd trust either of these references over the work of Jeff Berry.
Anyway, enough on this topic. I'm off to make a 1944 Mai Tai with 2011 ingredients. Cheers!

Dan's picture

After fixing this recipe, I merged two nearly identical recipes into this one (previously known as Mai Tai 2 and Mai Tai - Original Version). I hope everyone approves!

Grenadine? Falernum? Light rum? Dark rum float? No curacao?
I think the current accepted standard recipe is 2oz of rum (both dark or amber, and of different styles in order to make for a more dynamic flavor), 1oz of lime juice, 1/2oz orange curacao, 1/4oz orgeat, 1/4oz simple syrup. Garnished with half a spent lime and a mint sprig.
Personally I double the orgeat, skip the simple syrup, and add a dash of Angostura. But I wouldn't put that in the recipe.

Dan's picture

Bingo. You're absolutely right. The previous recipe was a train wreck. Updated to the 1972 Trader Vic's recipe, which is a close approximation to the original, given that the origin 17 year old J Wrap Jamaican rum is no longer available. Thanks for pointing this out.

Dan's picture

Chowhound's StriperGuy recommends:

2 oz Mt Gay amber
1 oz Cruzan blackstrap
3/4 oz Triple Sec (Bols, or other orange liqueur
1 oz lime (juice of one lime)
1/2 oz Luxardo Amaretto
1/2 oz Orgeat

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/807279#6822435

Matt Robold (Rumdood) surveyed a number of combinations here: http://rumdood.com/2009/01/26/a-month-of-mai-tais/

Zachary Pearson's picture

Here's a vote for the RumDood method: 1 oz each light and dark rum, 3/4 lime, 1/2 oz each Clement Creole Shrubb and Orgeat, 1/4 oz simple, shake, strain over crushed ice, garnish with a spent lime shell and mint. I used Smith & Cross and St. James Hors d'Age.

I think the main problem with Tiki drinks is that they all serve as dump buckets for every crazy flavored syrup in the repertiore - falernum, orgeat, grenadine, curacao, Pimiento Dram... they all go in, and it ends up being a messy drink without discernable flavors.

Thanks,

Zachary

From other users

2+:.5:.25:.5:no simple (4 stars)

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