The Mai Tai is a classic Polynesian-style cocktail that was created in 1944 by Victor J. Bergeron, the founder of Trader Vic's. It is said that he wanted to create a drink that showcased the flavors of the Caribbean, and the Mai Tai was born. The name 'Mai Tai' comes from the Tahitian word 'Maita'i', which means 'good' or 'excellent'. This cocktail quickly gained popularity and became a staple in tiki bars around the world.
- The original recipe called for 17-year-old J. Wray & Nephew Rum, which is no longer available.
- The Mai Tai has been adapted and modified over the years, with many variations now existing.
- This cocktail is often associated with tropical vacations and tiki culture.
The Mai Tai has a balanced, sweet, and tangy taste with a hint of almond from the orgeat syrup. The combination of light and dark rums gives it a rich and complex flavor, while the lime juice adds a refreshing citrus note.
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What does 'Tiki culture' refer to?
Tiki culture or 'Tiki pop' is a style that began in the United States in the mid-20th century. It is inspired by the romanticized perception of tropical cultures, particularly Polynesian.
Is there a non-alcoholic version of the Mai Tai?
Yes, there are non-alcoholic versions known as 'mocktails'. Typically these will use tropical juices to replicate the sweet and tangy flavors of the original Mai Tai.
What kind of glass is best to serve a Mai Tai in?
The Mai Tai is traditionally served in a 'double old-fashioned' glass, but can also be served in a highball glass or a novelty 'Tiki' mug.
What is the meaning of 'curaçao'?
Curaçao refers to a type of liqueur made from the dried peel of the Laraha citrus fruit, native to the island of Curaçao in the Caribbean.
Why is the cherry often used as a garnish?
The cherry provides a pop of color contrast against the cocktail, and adds a layer of sweetness when eaten towards the end of the drink.