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Properly Sauced: It's National Mai Tai Day!

By Rob Christopher in Food on Jun 30, 2013 6:00PM

2013_6_30maitai.jpg “Mai Tai-Roa Aé!"

That's Tahitian for "Out of this world! The best!" which was apparently uttered by Carrie Guild upon tasting the drink for the first time, circa 1944. Her friend "Trader Vic" Bergeron had just finished perfecting it; her reaction was everything he'd hoped for, and she wasn't alone in her delight, for the Mai Tai would soon replace the Zombie as the classic tiki drink.

But if you've ever had a shoddily-made Mai Tai, you know how easy it is for someone to make a bad one. Including us. Our 2010 post on the subject is something we wish we could take back. The recipe we offered, quite simply, is sub-par. Well, as they say, live and learn. Three years later, after countless hours of personal taste testing, we're happy to present a formulation that's truly out of this world. It's National Mai Tai Day, so mix one up!

Our Ultimate Mai Tai

1.5 oz. fresh squeezed lime juice
0.75 oz. Smith & Cross rum
0.75 oz. Myers's dark rum
0.75 oz. La Favorite Ambre Rhum Agricole
0.75 oz. Duquesne Rhum Agricole Élevé Sous Bois
0.75 oz. Mathilde Orange XO Liqueur
0.75 oz. B.G. Reynolds' orgeat syrup


1. After squeezing your limes, reserve half a lime shell and drop it into a double old-fashioned glass or tiki tumbler.
2. Shake all ingredients well with crushed ice and pour unstrained into the drinking vessel.
3. Add more crushed ice to fill and garnish with fresh mint sprig.

Yes, that's four different kinds of rum. You just have to trust us when we say that the unique flavor profiles of each blend together into a symphony: Smith & Cross contributes funk, Myers's acts like the equivalent of a buttery subwoofer, La Favorite adds some grassy sharpness, and Duquesne rounds it out with a soft tang. Meanwhile the Mathilde and B.G. Reynolds orgeat both work wonderfully, adding the presence of oranges and almonds without any sugary heavy-handedness.

Also: this is a strong drink, made for slow sipping. Don't skimp on the ice. You want your Mai Tai to stay properly chilled so you can enjoy it over time. When you're in paradise, you don't want to hurry things.