Trader Vic’s Mai Tai Recipes

The Original 1944 Mai Tai

The Original Formula by Trader Vic Bergeron, 1944
2 ounces of 17-year old J. Wray & Nephew Jamaican Rum over shaved ice
½ ounce Holland DeKuyper Orange Curacao
½ ounce French Garnier Orgeat Syrup
¼ ounce Trader Vic’s Rock Candy Syrup
Add juice from one fresh Lime.

Simplified 1944 Mai Tai Recipe
2 oz / 60 ml Aged Rum
½ oz / 15 ml Orange Curacao liqueur
½ oz / 15 ml Orgeat syrup
¼ oz / 7½ ml Rock Candy/Rich Simple Syrup or Demerara Syrup
1 oz / 30 ml Lime juice

Mai Tai Variants from Trader Vic’s

By the early 1970s, Trader Vic’s had added several cocktails to the menu that basically were variants of the Mai Tai that replaced the 2 oz of Jamaica-forward Mai Tai Rum with another spirit or ratio.

  • Menehune Juice – sub Light Puerto Rican rum. Garnish with Menehune figure.
  • Suffering Bastard – sub 3 oz rum (Light, Gold, Dark)
  • Pinky Gonzales – sub Tequila
  • Honi Honi – sub Bourbon
  • Rusky Tai (since 2016 rebranded to Vodka Tai) – sub Vodka

Trader Vic’s Island-Style Variants

Today, you’ll see the Maui Tai (with Pineapple), Mango Tai, and a Guava Tai on the menu at many Trader Vic’s restaurants. A Passion Tai is also sometimes seen. These fruity and lighter variants do actually show some restraint compared to many Island-style Mai Tais that are swimming in juice.

½ oz Lime Juice
1 oz Pineapple Juice / Mango Puree / Guava Puree / Passionfruit Puree
¾ oz Mai Tai Concentrate
1 oz Trader Vic’s Gold Rum
1 oz Trader Vic’s Light Rum
Garnish with spent lime shell and mint sprig

Modern Mai Tai Recipes Served at Trader Vic’s Locations

These notably include a squeeze of fresh lime juice on the top of the cocktail, adding important flavor and fragrance to the cocktail. Sometimes this spent quarter lime is dropped onto the top of the cocktail.

1944 Mai Tai
¾ oz Lime Juice
¼ oz Rock Candy Syrup
½ oz Orgeat
¾ oz Orange Curacao
2 oz Trader Vic’s Royal Amber Rum
Shake with crushed ice and pour into Mai Tai glass
Squeeze ¼ of a lime, then garnish with spent lime shell and mint sprig

Trader Vic’s Mai Tai
When the 1944 Mai Tai was added to the menu at Trader Vic’s Emeryville, this version stayed on the menu and priced $1.50-$2.00 less. It is made with Trader Vic’s Mai Tai Concentrate and typically labeled “Our signature Mai Tai has been modified to perfection.”
½ oz Lemon Juice
¾ oz Mai Tai Concentrate
2 oz Trader Vic’s Royal Amber Rum
Shake with crushed ice and pour into Mai Tai glass
Squeeze ¼ of a lime, then garnish with spent lime shell, fruit stick, and mint sprig

San Francisco Mai Tai
Add a float of 151 rum, named after a customer in San Francisco who liked it this way. In year’s past, Lemon Hart 151 was used. Today, you often see a mix of Trader Vic’s 151 and Trader Vic’s Dark Rum being used.

San Francisco Mai Tai


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