Ready to drink Mai Tais are popular in tourist locations, so there’s no surprise to see one from Trader Vic’s alongside those from Koloa, Kō Hana, Cutwater, and more. But this Trader Vic’s Mai Tai is different from the canned Mai Tai available on the mainland.
Hawai’i Mai Tai
200 ml, 9.95% ABV, “Made with rum and orange liqueur,” made by World Spirits Ltd.
Mainland Mai Tai
12 oz/355 ml, 10% ABV, “Made with aged rum, lime juice, cane sugar, and natural flavors,” made by Iguazu Company LLC.
The Hawaiian version is richer and much more syrupy, though not unpleasant. There are hints of maple syrup and fruit. The mainland version has a darker color and a significantly lighter mouthfeel, with hints of almond and rum. Neither particularly tastes like a Mai Tai, though notably neither veers off into pineapple or coconut flavors.
Quality wise, these are about the same – not as good as the more expensive craft cocktail brands such as Kō Hana, Small Hand, or Proof Cocktail Co, but way better than most canned Mai Tais especially Cutwater.
The Mai Tai in Hawaii started in an unusual way, due to territorial rights to the Trader Vic’s name. Interesting to see this regional difference still manifests itself with these two very different Trader Vic’s RTDs.