Thanks for checking out – Mai Tai offer you a drink?

Mai Tai 3

In the past few days and its associated Facebook page, have received a lot of attention from YOU, dear readers. As such,’s CEO (Cocktail Experimentation Officer) and CTO (Cocktail Tasting Officer) would like to say THANK YOU – your support is what makes creating and drinking cocktails such a worthwhile cause.

Anyway, enough sucking up, it’s time to celebrate with the most celebratory cocktail I can think of – the Mai Tai.

One of the many reasons I like making Mai Tais is because they are so damn cheerful. They look like a sunset in a glass. And they taste like a holiday in the tropics – minus the sunburn, shitty low-grade alcohol and sand in your whatsit. Sure, they take a while to make, because they involve fifty bajillion ingredients, but that just helps build up the anticipation for a memorable drink.  Plus, I can say “Mai Tai offer you a drink?” as I hand them over to unsuspecting visitors, who don’t know whether to clutch their stomachs and groan at the TERRIBLE word play or gratefully accept a cocktail of such beauty and retro cool. Seeing their tiny brains implode as they try to decide the correct course of action just adds to the pleasure of making – and imbibing – this delicious drink.

You can read more about Mai Tais – and many other retro cocktails – here.


There are loads of Mai Tai recipes out there. This is the first one I tried creating at home and I still think it’s one of the best. Don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients – all the ingredients are easy to obtain (I’ve seen other recipes requiring chargrilled pineapple juice, among other things that frankly sound like a pain in the arse to procure or create), it’s easy to make and it’s well worth the effort (and by ‘effort’ I mean buying a shiteload of booze).


30ml white rum (I use Havana Club or Bacardi)

30ml dark rum (I use Mount Gay. Come on, who could resist that name?)

15ml Cointreau

15ml Amaretto (I use orgeat instead – it’s an almond syrup that you can buy at specialty shops)

15ml lemon juice

90ml pineapple juice

90ml orange juice

15ml sugar syrup

dash of grenadine

lime slice

mint leaves


The recipe suggests a goblet glass, but I prefer a highball or Collins glass.


Half-fill the glass with crushed ice (I use ice cubes, either is fine). Add all liquid ingredients. Stir, then garnish with lime slice and some mint leaves.


Once you’ve got all the ingredients, this is a cinch.


This recipe is from Shaken: 250 Very Sexy Cocktails (Murdoch Books, 2004). This is the first cocktail book I ever owned. It was given to me by the CTO (it was more of a subtle hint than a birthday present). It is full of lush photography and easy recipes and is partly to blame for my obsession with cocktails. As such, I highly recommend you buy a copy.


Isn’t this supposed to be a NEW cocktail, since that’s the ENTIRE POINT of this website? Why, yes. Yes, it is. Thank you for noticing. I’ve made loads of Mai Tais following the above recipe. But recently when I was craving one I realised, after an eternity of preparation…well, after juicing the orange and the lemon and lining up all the necessary bottles….that I didn’t have any white rum.

And the local bottle shop was already shut.


Naturally I kept my cool and did not have a screaming fit about this. No sir. That was not me. I was NOT the one lying on the floor kicking my feet and sobbing about the unfair cruelty of this world. Although strangely, while I was definitely not having a ground-level tantrum, I spied an old bottle of Malibu on the bottom shelf of the bar and thought, hang on, that’s basically rum – why not use that instead? And so I did. It added a coconutty vibe that was not out of place with the tropical flavours of the drink. While I was bastardising the drink I went a step further and used orange curacao instead of Cointreau, because it’s cheaper and for ages I’ve been wondering if you can get away with using it in a mixed drink (you can) or if that’s some kind of heresy (it probably is but I haven’t been burned at the stake yet). And, as mentioned above, I use orgeat instead of amaretto as a matter of course – because for the longest time I had orgeat handy but not amaretto, and now I’m so used to the orgeat I’m reluctant to change. And so I think I’ve made some kind of new Mai Tai by accident, or at least it’s a new version of a Mai Tai, and that’s close enough to a new cocktail that I’m happy to share it here.

Mai Tai 4


Yep, that’s what I’m calling this baby. Although saying “Might I offer you a Mai Tai Offer You a Drink?” might get confusing…but after the first few cocktails no one will care.


30ml Malibu

30ml dark rum (regular, not the spiced kind)

15ml orange curacao

15ml orgeat

15ml lemon juice

90ml pineapple juice

90ml orange juice

15ml sugar syrup

dash of grenadine

small bunch of mint leaves


Highball or Collins glass.


Half-fill the glass with ice cubes. Add all liquid ingredients except the grenadine. Stir with a bar spoon, then add a dash of grenadine and stir gently – you will hopefully get a sunset-ish effect. Garnish with mint leaves (as in, pick all the crappy leaves off the bottom of the bunch of mint, then shove the stems into the glass. You want about 5 stems of mint per glass). Add a cocktail umbrella if you’re feeling retro, a lime slice if you’re feeling classy, and a straw if you don’t want a bunch of mint hitting you in the face as you drink.


Time-consuming but easy – and a good way to use up that Malibu you’ve got leftover from an ’80s party.


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2 thoughts on “Thanks for checking out – Mai Tai offer you a drink?

  1. Leslie Haworth says:

    As lucky recipient of one of these I am delighted to get the recipe here. I’m going to try and master this. Soo good!


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