Ready to Drink Mai Tais

The market for Ready to Drink (RTD) cocktails have trended upwards in recent years, offering a convenient alternative to beer and wine. RTDs are easy to prepare and consume, and are a worthwhile option for consuming cocktails away from home such as at the beach, camping, or on vacation. They also offer a convenient option at home, though their value is diminished at home since the quality is generally far less than from a freshly made cocktail.

Since the Mai Tai is a well-known cocktail, there are several Mai Tais on the RTD market. For our discussion we aren’t including the myriad brands based on wine or malted beverages, and instead are focusing solely on products using rum the exclusive or primary spirit used. We’re also ignoring ready to drink Mai Tai cocktails that come in large plastic bottles.

The pricing for RTD cocktails does vary, however, and there are two primary price tiers:

  • Higher tier: Single serve products (typically bottled) for at least $8 per item
  • Lower tier: 4-6 cocktails (typically canned) for under $20

RTDs are convenient but set your expectations accordingly. Most of these will not be confused with fresh Mai Tais made from scratch, though we’re seeing better options than in year’s past if you know where to look. But that’s not really the point of the RTD cocktail though. What you’re looking for is something good from the convenient delivery mechanism.

Higher Tier: Proof, Small Hand, and Tip Tip Cocktails

Don’t let the bright orange color of Tip Top Proof Cocktails turn you off, otherwise you’ll miss a quite delicious canned Mai Tai. There’s a great bouquet and a balanced flavor you’ll like even more. There’s a great almond and rum flavor in this one.

Proof Cocktail Co. Mai Tai tastes better than the widely available On the Rocks Mai Tai, though has more limited availability. Distribution is limited to California, Colorado, and Tennessee and only at craft liquor stores. ABV is 23% and contains several rums, Curacao, Orgeat, Lime, Orange, and Grenadine.

The almond flavor really shines in this one! We’ve had plenty of freshly made Mai Tais at craft cocktail bars that were worse than Proof’s canned Mai Tai.  Highly recommended and our favorite so far.

Nearly as good is the 25% ABV Small Hand Cocktails Mai Tai, especially for fans of Small Hand’s orgeat. Using Hamilton rums and orange liqueur, this has a great taste and a wonderful mouthfeel that compares well to a freshly made Mai Tai.


Kō Hana Hawaiian Agricole Mai Tai has a pronounced taste and bouquet of the stellar Hawaiian Rum Agricole. This rum is distilled from cane juice and has a savory and sweet taste that’s different from rums distilled from molasses. There are also tangy citrus flavors and some light fruity flavors, but I’m not getting a lot of orange or almond like you’d expect from a traditional Mai Tai. But I’m also not picking up much pineapple or coconut, so in that respect this bottled Mai Tai is already a lot better than most.

Garnish with a pineapple, cherry, and umbrella for that authentic Hawaiian vibe.

On the Rocks Premium Cocktails: The Mai Tai is a good standard bearer option in this tier. We’ve liked all the On the Rocks cocktails that we’ve tried, and they tend to have a higher ABV than the canned options. The Mai Tai is made with three Cruzan rums, orgeat that you can taste, along with orange, pineapple, and coconut. It tastes kind of like a Mai Tai and at 20% ABV you’ll feel it too.

On the Rocks is widely available nationwide in 100ml, 200ml, and 375ml bottles (the large one even comes with a cork!). The two-serving 375ml bottle costs around $12, which means that if you want quality you’ll have to pay a little more.

Post Meridiem’s 1944 Mai Tai is certainly comparable to a cocktail, featuring 1½ oz rum, ¾ oz lime juice, ⅔ oz orange curacao, and ½ oz orgeat. There are some pleasant flavors here, though this doesn’t have any lingering mouthfeel like a freshly made Mai Tai would. Definitely boozy, but overall still feels very light.

Lower Proof: Trader Vic’s is Recommended

This Trader Vic’s branded Mai Tai cocktail has been available in Hawaii for many years and is available in some other states, now issued with a new label. This was actually really tasty and pleasant. It is made with rum and orange liqueur and actually resembles a Mai Tai.

Other Brands:

Cutwater Spirits Balu Hai Tropical Tiki Rum Mai Tai is ubiquitous, possibly because of the presence of the rest of their product line that we haven’t explored yet. The Mai Tai is advertised to feature “pineapple, coconut, and citrus” which doesn’t taste like a Mai Tai at all. Very unimpressed.

Koloa Mai Tai is widely available in Hawaii, but the flavor profile doesn’t come close to a Mai Tai. It worked for us on a hot evening, though. 17% ABV.


Flying Embers Mai Tai. Based on fermented cane and lime, not a distilled spirit, and tastes a lot like a wine spritzer. But it does have pleasant flavors. 10% ABV.

10Barrel Brewing Co. Mai Tai. Heavy on Pineapple and Coconut, so while it is a nice tropical cocktail it isn’t really a Mai Tai. 12.5% ABV.

Villager Spirits Mai Tai. The can says it contains rum, curaçao, and lime. But it tastes like coconut and pineapple, and isn’t particularly pleasant. 11% ABV.

Boulevard Beverage Mai Tai Fling. It is bright yellow, like if Mountain Dew and a Midori Sour had a baby. It was so terrible we poured the entire four pack out on the spot. 8% ABV.

Juneshine Spirits Tropical Rum Mai Tai. It is pink, bubbly and has an artificial cherry aftertaste. The worst Mai Tai we’ve ever tried. 10% ABV.

Mai Tai Crafted with Myers’s Rum / Original Cocktails by Heublein. It tastes like a fuzzy navel with an artificial peach-forward taste. 20% ABV.

Monaco Craft Cocktail Classic Mai Tai. Includes rum, orange curaçao, and … bubbles. 9% ABV.