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Best Mai Tai Cocktail Recipe

Prep Time: 5 minutes
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Best Mai Tai Cocktail Recipe

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So, I’m celebrating a milestone today. This is my 100th RECIPE! I can’t think of a better way to celebrate than with a cocktail, and this is the best Mai Tai cocktail ever! I am OBSESSED with tiki drinks. I’ve started stocking my bar with all the ingredients I need to make them anytime since I’m away from my favorite tiki bars in San Diego.

What’s a Mai Tai Cocktail?

Maybe you’ve ordered a Mai Tai at a bar and were met with a sickeningly sweet concoction made from pre-made bar mixes. That is not a mai tai. It’s tropical, nutty, boozy and zingy: and it’s nothing like the adult fruit juice you might be expecting.

A Mai tai cocktail is a rum-based libation that was first invented in the 1940s at Trader Vic’s–one of the most popular tiki bars of all time.

What’s in the original Mai Tai cocktail? Contrary to what you might think, there’s no pineapple juice! There’s actually no fruit juice at all, other than lime juice. However, I love any excuse to jazz a cocktail up with passion fruit juice, so my take on a mai tai is a bit more tart and fruit forward. A traditional Mai Tai cocktail can be so boozy! I think the passion fruit makes it a little more palatable.

This is a perfect cocktail for parties, but be warned it is STIFF. The juice really hides the amount of booze in it. You could get tanked on just a couple of these bad boys so please drink responsibly.

How to make a Mai Tai Cocktail

This is one of my favorite cocktail recipes to break out during the summer. It’s fresh and perfect for any backyard barbecue!

Tools Needed

Ingredients You’ll Need

What is Orgeat? Can you make a Mai Tai without Orgeat?

Orgeat is a non-alcoholic almond syrup that’s used in a lot of tiki cocktail recipes. It’s very easy to find at most well-stocked liquor stores or on amazon (linked above).

Unfortunately, there is no substitute for orgeat. Without the orgeat, this Mai Tai just isn’t really a Mai Tai! I recommend snagging a bottle and exploring some other great cocktails that you can use it in.

best ever mai tai cocktail

Rums used in a Mai Tai Cocktail

This recipe actually calls for two different types of rum!

Dark rum: Also known as black rum, dark rum has a dark color and a rich flavor that’s smoky and sweet. Myer’s is a common brand and that’s what I typically use.

Light rum: Find a classic white rum made with cane sugar. You’ll have plenty of options at any well-stocked liquor store.

Having a Party? Make a Pitcher! (8-10 Servings)

When entertaining, it can be super hectic to make individual cocktails for your guests. This is why I love to batch out my cocktail recipes for entertaining ease!

To a pitcher, add:

  • 2 cups dark rum
  • 1 cup light rum
  • 3/4 cup grand marnier or cointreau
  • 1 cup passion fruit puree
  • 1/2 cup orgeat syrup
  • 1 cup fresh lime juice

Stir all the ingredients really well with a spoon and store in the fridge. When it’s time to serve, fill cocktail glasses with ice and divide the cocktail mixture among the glasses. Float a tiny bit of rum on top and garnish with fresh mint and lime slices.

Never put ice in the pitcher! This waters down the drink–it’s better to put ice directly in the glasses and divide the cocktail mixture on top.

More Cocktail Recipes to Try Now

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the best mai tai cocktail

Best Mai Tai Cocktail Recipe

I love a good tiki cocktail and the Mai Tai is probably my favorite ever! The addition of passion fruit really makes a huge difference.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Makes: 1 cocktail


  • 2 oz dark Jamaican rum
  • 1 oz light rum
  • .75 oz cointreau or other orange liqueur
  • 1 oz passion fruit puree
  • .5 oz orgeat syrup
  • 1 oz freshly squeezed lime juice
  • crushed ice
  • mint sprigs for garnish
  • sliced lime for garnish


  • Fill a double old fashioned glass with crushed ice to the top. Add all the ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice and shake for 15 seconds. Strain into the glass and garnish with sliced lime and mint springs. Optional: float 1/4 oz of rum on top.


Fresh passionfruit juice is great for this, but I buy a frozen puree that has very little sugar added to it. This is important because the drink is supposed to be a bit tart.

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5 from 3 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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  1. 5 stars
    I made this last night and it was delicious! I used chinola passionfruit liqueur instead of fruit puree, so I added an extra tbs of lime juice. Overall, it was really well balanced, and I will pick up the frozen fruit purée next time for a less boozy drink.

    • So happy you enjoyed it! Chinola is great, but the passion fruit purée will give you a less sweet, more tart cocktail. Hope you love that version too!

  2. Thanks for linking your favorites in the recipe, makes things so much easier! If I could get my hands on fresh passionfruit, what would be the equivalent amount to the puree? Though I haven’t made the drink yet my mouth is watering at the thought of the tartness of the fruit, from the memories of the juice I drank back home in Puerto Rico.

    • Hi Maria! My pleasure—I always want to make it easy for folks to source recipes. If you’re using fresh passionfruit, juice the fruit through a fine mesh sieve or strainer to remove the seeds and then double the juice and the orgeat in the recipe (the purée is more concentrated than fresh passion fruit). You can always throw the seeds in as garnish! I would love to hear how it turns out—cheers!