Garnish the cocktail with a sprig of mint, a slice of pineapple and lime zest, and it's ready to be served.
History of the Mai Tai
Two very famous and important barmen in cocktail history compete for the paternity of the cocktail. Victor Jules Bergeron and Ernest Raymond Beaumont-Gantt, better known as Trader Vic and Don The Beachcomber respectively.
According to Trader Vic, the cocktail was created in 1944 at his venue in Oakland, California, when some friends, returning from Tahiti, tasted it, and were so enthusiastic that a woman exclaimed "maitai roa ae". The term means "good" and it is recognised that the name Mai Tai is derived from Tahitian term.
According to Don The Beachcomber, the drink was developed by him much earlier, in 1933 at his local in Hollywood. In any case, the original recipes are different, as Ernest Raymond's cocktail was much fancier.
Mai Tai rose to prominence in the 1950s and 1960s when it was featured on many lists of local tiki, following its mention in the movie Blue Hawaii with Elvis Presley. The cocktail definitely is
very tied to the Tiki culture, so much so that it is considered the Tiki cocktail par excellence.
There are no real variations of this cocktail, but there are several versions of this recipe. Being such a famous cocktail, every bartender interprets it in their own way.
As an alternative to Mai Tai you can always make one of the other cocktails of the Tiki family, for example: the Zombie, the Hurricane, the Scorpio,
Tiki is first and foremost a way of life that is about culture, history, drinks and food. Americans who espouse this philosophy are easily recognisable because of their themed dress, their preference for cocktails that are historically Tiki, their understanding of rums, and propensity to install a real Tiki bar in their house or garage.
The real origins of Tiki drinks are New Zealand, French Polynesia and Oceania in general. Obviously, at their origins, they were not as we know them today or as in the 1930s when
Don The Beachcomber created this mixing culture. We are talking about 2500 years ago.
The term derives from a spiritual belief of Polynesian origin and is widespread throughout Oceania. The founders of this belief recreated human faces in the forms of statues made from lava rock, wood and bone. Legends say that each statue had its own spirit. The carvings are often seen used to mark the boundaries of sacred or significant places.