1958 Royal Hawaiian Mai Tai

In 1958, a syndicated news story published in newspapers nationwide provided a Mai Tai recipe that was attributed as coming from a bartender at the Royal Hawaiian.

1 oz Lemon Juice
½ oz Fresh Lime Juice
⅓ oz Rock Candy Syrup
⅓ oz Orgeat
⅓ oz Orange Curacao
1 oz Light Puerto Rican Rum (Cruzan Aged)
1 oz Dark Jamaican Rum (Hamilton Florida Rum Society blend)

Decorate the glass with a stalk of Sugar Cane, a sprig or two of Mint, and a Pineapple stick or two.

The ⅓ ounce measures for the Rock Candy, Orgeat, and Orange Curacao are most likely due to those ingredients being batched so that the bartender can more easily measure 1 ounce of sweetener.

In practice, this cocktail is significantly too tart. Most 1944 style Mai Tais feature an equal or slightly more sweeteners compared to the citrus. Adding additional sugar made this taste better to me, but didn’t taste as rummy as I like. Only using 1 oz of citrus would have been better.

The glass was a limited edition release from our friends at Skull & Crown Trading Company, the best tiki bar between San Francisco and Tokyo. We’re going to be visiting O’ahu in June and will be making a pilgrimage to Skull & Crown where we expect to have a properly balanced Mai Tai like we did back in 2019.

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