Swung by the Mai Tai Bar at the Royal Hawaiian and managed to grab the best seat in the house and maybe the entire beach. Ground zero for the Hawaiian Mai Tai, when Trader Vic included the cocktail on the menu in 1953. That original ‘53 was pretty close to the ‘44 and needless to say today’s RH Mai Tai is quite different. But I must say I really liked the taste, much better than the Vic’s ‘44 we had earlier in the trip. The sweet blend of flavors worked for me on this visit. And you can’t beat the view of Diamond Head.
We ended up having dinner here, including the pancakes that were perfect. Service was pretty good too, though I’m sure the waitress was simply happy to deliver one or two drinks at a time compared to the typical table full of drinks.
The Royal Hawaiian is such a charming hotel, with a few cute stores and little passageways. And somehow insulated from the hustle of nearby Kalakaua Ave.
The Royal Hawaiian Mai Tai Recipe
Royal Hawaiian Mai Tai (Classic Recipe from 1972)
½ oz Lime Juice
¼ oz Lemon Juice
1 oz Orange Juice
1 oz unsweetened Pineapple Juice
¼ oz Sugar Syrup
¼ oz Orgeat
¼ oz Orange Curacao
1 oz Demerara Rum
1 oz Dark Jamaican Rum
1 oz Light Rum
Garnish with a Pineapple finger, Sugar Cane stick, Orchid, and Mint Sprig.
Today, the Royal Hawaiian provides the “secret recipe” for their “Original” Royal Hawaiian Mai Tai, and it differs considerably from the older recipe originally published in Drinks of Hawaii. Purists will note the use of Amaretto rather than Orgeat, and a mere 1½ ounces of rum.
Royal Hawaiian Mai Tai (Modern Recipe)
Build in shaker with ice:
1 oz Bacardi Rum
1 tsp Cherry Vanilla Puree
½ oz Amaretto di Saronno
½ oz Cointreau
1 oz Fresh Govinda Orange Juice
2 oz Fresh Govinda Pineapple Juice
½ oz Whaler’s Dark Rum Float
Roll the shaker, pour in a large “bucket” glass. Float with Whaler’s Dark Rum, garnish with a parasol with cherry, pineapple and lime wedge.
Learn more the Royal Hawaiian Mai Tai’s Evolution
The original Royal Hawaiian Mai Tai was very different from the two recipes shown above. Learn more about how this classic cocktail evolved.