Mai Tai Cocktail

A classic Mai Tai Cocktail is a tropical delight! This sweet but boozy drink will make any party or happy hour feel like a beach vacation. Serve with your favorite, spicy appetizers to go along with the sweet flavors in this drink recipe.

mai tai recipe with decorative garnish

What’s A Mai Tai?

A Mai Tai is a tropical drink recipe that’s made form orange and pineapple juice and light and/or dark rum. A splash of orange Curaçao is usually added along with simple syrup. We chose not to include simple syrup in our Mai Tai recipe because we feel that the drink is already sweet enough.

This classic Mai Tai Cocktail is a sweet, tropical cocktail that can be enjoyed with spicy food recipes to balance the sweet flavors. It makes every night feel like you’re on a beach vacation.

Ingredients You’ll Need

As we discussed above, there are a few different variations for this delicious tropical beverage. Here is the recipe that we like best.

  • Pineapple Juice: Any brand of pineapple juice will do just fine!
  • Orange Juice: Here’s where you can choose to use an orange juice with pulp or without pulp. Either one works fine, it’s your choice.
  • Grenadine: Grenadine is what helps give this cocktail it’s layered, tropical feel. You can easily find grenadine in the drink aisle at your grocery store.
  • Orange Curaçao: This liquor is the cousin to its famous Blue version.
  • Rum: You can use light or dark rum or a combination of both. We like using light rum in the drink recipe and dark rum as a floater on top. 
empty tiki glass with garnish

How To Make A Mai Tai Cocktail

The fun part about any drink is the flavor, of course but also the presentation. We like building these cocktails in fun tiki glasses like these. Of course you can use any drink glass that you have, but if you’re making this Mai Tai recipe for a party try and fun some fun, tropical themed glassware.

  1. Start by adding the grenadine to the bottom of the glass. The grenadine will stay on the bottom of the glass if you pour the rest of the ingredients in slowly because it’s so thick and syrupy.
  2. Add ice to the glass but don’t stir. You want to see that red layer on the bottom when you build the rest of this cocktail. Add the pineapple and orange juice, along with the Curaçao and rum.
  3. Here’s where you can choose to add a dark rum floater on top or not. We say yes to the dark rum floater, every time.
garnish on the side of glass for mai tai cocktail

Garnish Ideas

As important as the flavor and glass are to this Mai Tai recipe, it’s all about the garnish too. When you serve a drink that’s as fun as this one is, don’t forget to add a paper umbrella and lots of fruit garnish.

Get creative with your garnish, slices of pineapple, orange, lemon, lime and cherries are all good choices. That way your friends can have something to snack on as their sipping away on this delicious cocktail!

top of mai tai drink with umbrella and garnish

Appetizers To Enjoy With A Mai Tai

Like we mentioned before, this is the time to break out all your spicy food recipes! Spicy food will balance out the sweet flavors in this drink.

mai tai recipe with decorative garnish

Classic Mai Tai Cocktail

  • Author: Dan
  • Prep Time: 5 min
  • Cook Time: 0 min
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 1x

A classic Mai Tai Cocktail is a tropical delight! This sweet but boozy drink will make any party or happy hour feel like a beach vacation!



  • 1/2 ounce red grenadine
  • 2 ounces orange juice
  • 2 ounces pineapple juice
  • 1/2 ounce Orange Curaçao
  • 2 ounces light rum
  • 1 ounce dark rum

For Garnish:

  • Orange slices
  • Pineapple wedges
  • Lime slices
  • Lemon slices
  • Cherries
  • Paper umbrellas
  • Splash of dark rum for a “floater”


  1. Pour the grenadine into the bottom of a glass.
  2. Fill the glass about halfway with ice, then slowly pour in the orange juice, pineapple juice, Orange Curaçao and light rum. Don’t stir the drink at this point.
  3. Float the dark rum on top if using and then add garnish.
  4. Serve with an umbrella for stirring.


  • Serving Size: 1
  • Category: Cocktails
  • Method: Shake
  • Cuisine: American

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