Mai Tai

A Classic Mai Tai is a fun and tasty tropical cocktail that everyone loves! The sweet but strong flavors of this drink go perfectly with spicy food!

Nothing makes you feel like you’re on an island or beach vacation like a tropical cocktail! Try serving these Mai Tai cocktails with Spicy Drunken Shrimp or another Asian favorite, these Spicy Asian Dan Dan Noodles!

A Mai Tai drink with garnish

What’s A Mai Tai?

Well for those of you who might not know, 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.

A Mai Tai is a sweet, tropical cocktail that can be enjoyed with spicy food recipes to tame the sweetness of the drink. For instance, you wouldn’t want to sip on a Mai Tai with a sweet dessert recipe that could take the sweetness over the edge.

It’s all about balance, my friends.

Mai Tai Ingredients?

As we discussed above, there are a few different variations on what makes up this tropical drink. Here are the ingredients we used!

  • 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. 

A tropical tiki glass for serving Mai Tai cocktails

How To Make A Mai Tai

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 looking glasses!

  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. Now 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 for a Mai Tai recipe

How To Garnish A Mai Tai

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!

A classic Mai Tai cocktail recipe with garnish

Appetizers To Enjoy With A Mai Tai Cocktail

Like we mentioned before, this is the time to break out all you spicy food recipes! Spicy food will balance out the sweet flavors in this drink and make you feel like you’re sitting on the beach on your favorite tropical island!

A Mai Tai drink with garnish

Classic Mai Tai Recipe

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

This Mai Tai cocktail is a classic, delicious drink that everyone will enjoy! The sweet flavors of this drink go perfectly with a spicy dinner!



  • 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
  • 2 oz. Malibu Spiced rum


  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

Keywords: mai tai, mai tai recipe, mai tai cocktail, classic cocktails, how to make mai tais

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