Mai Tai Cocktails
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  • Recipe: Mai Tai Cocktail
  • Writer: Nicolas Wilson
  • Content-Type: Food Blog

For months, I’ve been wanting to share this incredible mai tai recipe with you! The recipe came from my friend Alana Kysar’s gorgeous new cookbook, Aloha Kitchen.

Alana is exuberant and thoughtful, hardworking and skilled, and just looking at her book reveals all of this. She provided me with a copy, and it taught me a lot about Hawaiian culture and cuisine.

The recipe for her mai tai can be found in the book’s drink section at the rear. Since we opened a tiki bar in town, I’ve wanted to learn how to prepare a genuine tiki drink, so here we are.

“Despite its California origins, the mai tai is often associated with Hawaii,” Alana explains. Whether you believe the cocktail was conceived by Don the Beachcomber or Trader Vic, it has a strong connection to the islands.

If you’ve ordered them before, you’ve probably had a wide range of experiences, from amazing to dreadful and everything in between.”

This mai tai recipe is well-balanced, tropically delicious, and alcoholic, just the way a mai tai should be. This cocktail has three ounces of rum while the usual cocktail has one and a half ounces. You’ve been given a fair warning.

Aloha Kitchen Cookbook

Mai Tai Cocktails Easy
Food: Mai Tai Cocktails (Source: Delish)

Aloha Kitchen: Recipes from Hawai’i is a stunning coffee table book jam-packed with bright photographs of Hawaii, Hawaiian recipes, and even history lectures.

I’ve never been to Hawaii, but Alana’s description of Hawaiian culture drew me in before I even looked at her collection of 85 dishes.

While reading Alana’s book, I had a couple of epiphanies. For one thing, I’m even more excited to visit Hawaii now. I also realized how little I knew about Hawaii’s history and cultural influences.

Alana provides a comprehensive overview in the introduction, as well as icons for each ethnic group’s origins on each recipe.

Finally, I had no idea what Hawaiian food was like—stunning it’s intriguing, but unfortunately for me as a vegetarian, it’s more carnivorous than meatless.

This cookbook has several dishes that are suitable for both pescetarians and non-pescetarians. This book is a must-have for everyone who loves Hawaii or longs to visit, as I do.

Ingredients in a Mai Tai

On this recipe, Alana consulted Justin Park, the two-time “World’s Best Mai Tai” champion bartender. “This is his version of a classic mai tai,” she explains, “where he skips the usual rum floating to produce a well-balanced cocktail that’s wonderful from start to finish.”

What you’ll need is the following:

  • Rum made with dark molasses
  • Pure cane rum with a light flavor.
  • Simple honey syrup (instructions provided in recipe notes, made simply from honey and water)
  • Syrup of orgeat
  • Lime juice, freshly squeezed
  • Bitters from Angostura

What is the definition of orgeat syrup?

I wasn’t convinced until I went out and bought some for this dish. Orgeat syrup is created with an unusual combination of almonds, sugar, and rose or orange flower water.

It’s sweet and tasty, and the flavor is similar to that of other tiki beverages. It smells like suntan lotion and tastes like sunshine and summertime. Or, to be more serious, marzipan.

Alana suggested Small Hand Foods orgeat, which I purchased on Amazon. One bottle of orgeat can produce a lot of mai tais, and it tastes great blended with unflavored club soda.

Mai Tai Cocktail

Time to Prepare: 10 minutes

10 minutes in total

This simple recipe from the Aloha Kitchen handbook shows you how to prepare classic mai tai cocktails. They’re robust and flavorful, just the way mai tais should be! The recipe makes one cocktail, but you can mix two in a large shaker at once.


  • 2 ounces dark molasses rum (such as El Dorado 8-Year Demerara Rum)
  • 1-ounce light pure cane rum (such as Batiste Rhum Ecoiste)
  • ½ ounce honey simple syrup
  • ½ ounce orgeat syrup (I used Small Hand Foods per Alana’s recommendation)
  • ¾ ounce fresh lime juice
  • Spritz or dash of Angostura bitters
  • Lime wheel, for garnish


Mai Tai Cocktails Refreshing
Food: Mai Tai Cocktails (Source: Delish)
  1. Fill a double old-fashioned glass halfway with ice and place it in the refrigerator to chill. Combine both rums, honey syrup, orgeat syrup, and lime juice in a cocktail shaker packed with ice.
  2. Shake. Fill the glass halfway with ice and strain the cocktail into it. Before serving, evenly spray the top of the drink with bitters and garnish with a lime wheel.


HONEY SIMPLE SYRUP: In a small saucepan, combine equal parts honey and water and reheat over low heat until the honey can be well stirred into the water (or warm them together briefly in the microwave).

Because plain honey doesn’t mix well in cold drinks, simple syrup is required.

BITTERS NOTE: To spritz the bitters on top of the drink, use a small spray bottle or atomizer, as directed in the recipe. If you don’t have the equipment, simply add a dash to the drink before shaking.

GARNISH OPTIONS: I made these cocktails exactly as they were outlined in the book and they were delicious. Mint sprigs and/or pineapple slices are commonly used to garnish mai tais, so feel free to do the same with yours.