Why two copies? For very important reasons we’ll get to.
I’ve been doing some research on the evolution of the Hawaiian Mai Tai. Contrary to popular belief, the Mai Tai did not land on the shores of O’ahu and have pineapple juice added immediately. In fact, it took into the 1960s before pineapple juice was commonly seen in published recipes. But the Mai Tai that became the “top tourist tantalizer” (as described in Honolulu newspapers) was not quite the 1944 recipe either. It more clearly resembled the recipe we covered on UltimateMaiTai.com as the 1956 Mai Tai, made with light rum as well as Jamaican rum.
When did the pineapple juice get added? We started to see this in published recipes starting in the early 1960s. The Royal Hawaiian Hotel, where the Trader Vic introduced the Mai Tai to Hawai’i, seemed to not switch over to this style until quite late – the early 1970s.
We thank Jeff “Beachbum” Berry for the reference, the recipe book Drinks of Hawaii by Paul B. Dick, originally published in 1971. Except that the 1971 edition features two Mai Tai recipes and neither is from the Royal Hawaiian.
The first Mai Tai is the “authentic unadulterated copy of the original recipe” which is:
1 oz Light Puerto Rican Rum
1 oz Dark Jamaican Rum
½ oz Orange Curacao
½ oz Orgeat
½ oz Simple Syrup
Juice of ½ Lemon and ¼ Lime
The second recipe in the 1971 edition comes from the iconic Ilikai Hotel: The Ili Tai
1 oz “Appleton Punch” Jamaican Rum
1 oz Dark Puerto Rican Rum
¾ oz Orange Curacao
¾ oz Orgeat
1 oz Sweet & Sour
2 oz Pineapple Juice
Appleton Punch rum was the successor to the Dagger line and was a dark Jamaican rum at 43% ABV.
Second Edition is the Holy Grail of the Modern Royal Hawaiian Mai Tai Recipe
The elusive Royal Hawaiian Mai Tai didn’t appear in the first edition of the recipe book Drinks of Hawaii, so we sought out the 2nd edition published a year later in 1972.
As with the first edition, there are two Mai Tai recipes starting with the “authentic unadulterated copy of the original recipe” shown above.
The second recipe in the 1972 edition features the Mai Tai at the Surf Room at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. This is the recipe that Beachbum Berry included in several of his books and the Total Tiki App and the first documented use of pineapple juice in the Mai Tai at the Royal Hawaiian that I could find.
Royal Hawaiian Mai Tai (1972)
1 oz Light Rum
1 oz Dark Rum
1 oz Demerara 86 Rum
¼ oz Orange Curacao
Dash* Rock Candy
Juice of ½ Lime
¼ oz Lemon Juice
Equal Parts Pineapple Juice and Orange Juice
* Dash in this context is equivalent to ¼ oz.
How much Pineapple Juice and Orange Juice? It doesn’t say (Beachbum Berry suggested 1 oz each). This is a very different Mai Tai with darker and more flavorful rums, to balance all the added juices. This style of Mai Tai isn’t my favorite, but they’re certainly popular on the islands.
Drinks of Hawaii is an interesting book. There are some classic Don the Beachcomber recipes including the Pearl Diver and Navy Grog, but also 70s favorites like the Harvey Wallbanger and Margarita. Era-specific cartoons are by Honolulu political cartoonist Harry Lyons.