Banana Mai Tai Cocktail Recipe

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Banana Mai Tai Nutrition Facts





Alcohol content:18%

Created by

Nic Polotnianko

I fell in love with the art of mixology 6 years ago. Since then, I've honed my skills, crafting a myriad of cocktail recipes, and sharing my passion with other enthusiasts.

Last Updated: January 16, 2024


The Banana Mai Tai is a tropical twist on the classic Mai Tai, a cocktail that originated in the 1940s. Trader Vic's founder, Victor Bergeron, is often credited with creating the Mai Tai in Oakland, California. This version adds a banana flavor to the mix, appealing to those who enjoy fruity and exotic cocktails.

  • Origins: The Mai Tai was created as a showcase of good-quality rum.
  • Evolution: Over time, various adaptations have emerged, including this banana-infused variant.
  • Popularity: It's a hit at beachside bars and tropical-themed parties.

How Banana Mai Tai Tastes?

The Banana Mai Tai is a harmonious blend of sweet and tangy flavors with a robust rum undertone. The banana liqueur adds a creamy, fruity note, while the lime juice provides a refreshing citrus kick. The orgeat syrup and orange curaçao round out the sweetness, making it a rich and complex cocktail.

Interesting facts about Banana Mai Tai

  • The Mai Tai is often associated with tiki culture and Polynesian-themed restaurants.
  • The name 'Mai Tai' comes from the Tahitian word 'Maita'i', which means 'good' or 'excellence'.
  • Despite its tropical image, the original Mai Tai was not overly sweet or fruity; it was a balanced cocktail focused on the quality of the rum.


  • Light rum: 1.5 oz(45ml)
  • Dark rum: 0.5 oz(15ml)
  • Banana liqueur: 0.5 oz(15ml)
  • Lime juice: 1 oz(30ml)
  • Orgeat syrup: 0.5 oz(15ml)
  • Orange curaçao: 0.5 oz(15ml)
  • Ice cubes: as needed
  • Mint sprig: 1
  • Garnish: Banana Slice

Light Rum

Light rum adds a subtle sweetness and a smooth, crisp spirit base to the cocktail without overpowering the other ingredients. It's the backbone of the drink, but if you overdo it, you'll overshadow the delicate banana and citrus flavors. Underdo it, and you'll get a less boozy, flatter cocktail.

Alex Green

Dark Rum

Dark rum adds depth with its rich and slightly caramel-like flavor. It provides a nice contrast and complexity to the light rum. Skipping it would make the cocktail less robust, whereas too much might dominate the drink.

Emma Rose

Banana Liqueur

Banana liqueur brings in the tropical flair, adding sweetness and the obvious banana flavor which makes this Mai Tai unique. If omitted, you'd lose the signature banana essence. A good alternative could be a splash of crème de banane for a similar effect.

Mary Mitkina

Lime Juice

Fresh lime juice is essential for adding a zesty tang and balancing the sweet components. If you use bottled lime juice, the drink could end up tasting a bit flat, so fresh is best. Too little, and the drink might be too sweet; too much, and it could become too tart.

Alex Green

Orgeat Syrup

Orgeat syrup introduces a nutty and slightly floral element that is a hallmark of Mai Tais. If you don't use it, the drink would lose some complexity. Almond syrup can be a substitute but may lack the subtlety of traditional orgeat.

Emma Rose

Orange Curaçao

Orange curaçao brings a sweet, bitter orange peel touch that complements the tropical profile. If it's missing, the drink won't have that characteristic hint of orange that completes the flavor palate. Triple sec is a possible alternative, offering a similar citrusy sweet profile.

Mary Mitkina

Ice Cubes

Ice is crucial for chilling and diluting the cocktail to the perfect strength and temperature. Without enough ice, you could end up with a cocktail that's too warm and strong. More ice might over-dilute the drink, weakening the flavors.

Alex Green

Mint Sprig

Adds a fresh, aromatic garnish that gives a nice contrast to the sweetness of the drink. Plus, it looks pretty! If you skip the mint, it's not a deal-breaker, but you'll miss out on that refreshing scent each time you take a sip.

Emma Rose

Banana Slice

The banana slice garnish nods to the banana flavor in the drink and offers a tropical touch. Without it, the presentation would be less fun. It's all about those small details that enhance the overall experience.

Mary Mitkina

Recipe. How to make Banana Mai Tai Drink

To craft the perfect Banana Mai Tai, follow these steps:

  1. Fill a shaker with ice cubes.
  2. Pour in the light rum, dark rum, banana liqueur, lime juice, orgeat syrup, and orange curaçao.
  3. Shake vigorously until well chilled.
  4. Strain into an ice-filled glass.
  5. Garnish with a mint sprig and a banana slice on the rim of the glass.

Pro Tips

  • Use fresh lime juice for the best flavor.
  • Chill the glass before serving to keep the cocktail cool.
  • Adjust the sweetness by varying the amount of orgeat syrup.

Perfect Pairings

Food Pairings

  • Grilled Seafood: The sweet and citrus notes of the Banana Mai Tai complement the smokiness of grilled fish or shrimp.
  • Poultry Dishes: Chicken or turkey with tropical fruit salsas pair well and maintain that island vibe.
  • Hawaiian Pizza: The combination of ham and pineapple echoes the sweet and tangy flavors of the cocktail.

Drink Pairings

  • Cold Brew Coffee: The coffee's bitterness can be a nice contrast to the Banana Mai Tai's sweetness for a refreshing experience.
  • Sparkling Water with a Splash of Pineapple Juice: Keeps things light and enhances the tropical theme.

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What you could change in Banana Mai Tai

If you're looking to substitute ingredients, here are some options:

  • Banana Liqueur: You can use crème de banane or a banana-flavored syrup.
  • Orgeat Syrup: Almond syrup or amaretto can be used as alternatives.
  • Orange Curaçao: Triple sec or another orange-flavored liqueur could work in a pinch.

Explore all drinks starting with B here

And of course - twists🍹

Coconut Banana Mai Tai

Replace the orgeat syrup with coconut syrup for a tropical twist. This version will transport you straight to the shores of an exotic beach with its creamy coconut note paired with the banana and rum.

Spiced Banana Mai Tai

Introduce a dash of cinnamon or a cinnamon stick in the shaker. The spice will give a warm contrast to the tropical flavors—ideal for sipping on a cooler evening.

Berry Banana Mai Tai

Add a splash of raspberry liqueur or muddle a few fresh berries before shaking. This addition will bring a tart and sweet dimension that plays well with the banana and citrus, creating a lovely balance.

In case you forgot basics how to make Banana Mai Tai

Add your ingredients to the shaker first, then ice. Fill it up to ¾ of its capacity to ensure enough space for shaking. Hold the shaker with both hands (one on the top and one on the bottom) and shake vigorously. The shake should come from your shoulders, not your wrists.

Learn everything on how to shake

Place your chosen strainer on top of the shaker or mixing glass, ensuring a secure fit. Pour the cocktail into a glass through the strainer, which will catch solid ingredients and ice. If double straining, hold the fine mesh strainer between the shaker and the glass.

Learn everything on how to strain

Garnishing a bar drink depends on the type of garnish and the cocktail. Generally, it involves preparing the garnish (like cutting a citrus wheel or picking a sprig of mint), and then adding it to the drink in a visually appealing way (like perching it on the rim or floating it on top).

Learn everything on garnishing

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Frequently Asked Questions on Banana Mai Tai

What type of glass is best suited for serving a Banana Mai Tai?

A double old-fashioned glass or a tiki mug are common choices for serving a Banana Mai Tai, as they enhance the tropical experience.

Can I make a non-alcoholic version of this cocktail?

Yes, you can make a mocktail version by omitting the rums and replacing them with additional fruit juices or non-alcoholic spirit alternatives.

What's the best way to juice limes for cocktails?

Using a hand-held citrus squeezer or a citrus press will help you get the most juice out of your limes.

How can I make my own orgeat syrup?

Homemade orgeat syrup can be made by simmering almond milk with sugar and adding a touch of orange flower water or almond extract.

What is the shelf life of a Banana Mai Tai if pre-mixed?

It's best to enjoy Banana Mai Tai immediately after mixing, as the fresh ingredients like lime juice don't store well for long periods.

What are some common garnishes for tropical cocktails like the Banana Mai Tai?

Common garnishes include tropical fruits, such as pineapple wedges, maraschino cherries, and edible flowers to enhance the tropical presentation.

Is there a specific technique to shaking cocktails?

The key is a vigorous shake for about 10-15 seconds to ensure that all the ingredients are well-chilled and mixed, giving the cocktail a smooth texture.

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