Mai Tai for Beginners

Hey there,

yesterday I made Mai Tais for some friends who are not accustomed to good rum. I strictly followed the recipe from NH43:

2,25 cl Lime Juice
1,5 cl Meneau Orgeat
1,5 cl Pierre Ferrand Triple Sec Dry Curaçao
6 cl aged Jamaican Rum

As for rum, I used - a 17 yo Worthy Park with relatively calm esters.

However, I was the only one actually enjoying it. Some didn’t touch it after one sip, others poured 7up into it.

Needless to say, I was disappointed, since there was a lot of money going down the drain.

So my question is: How can I use quality ingredients but make this drink more approachable for beginners?


Did you ask what your friends didn’t like about the drink? Mai Tai is a cocktail with moderately pronounced role of rum, maybe they found it too strong or alcoholic in taste? My experience with Tiki cocktails is that they are also very concentrated and rich in mouth, you can try diluting the Mai Tai with some water.


I think the approach of using worthy park was a good move. Very approachable for beginners. I’m sad to hear they didn’t enjoy…it’s quite a rum forward drink, the question ja what do they enjoy usually?
Just to be sure…you shaked with crushed ice and poured into a DOF glass including the ice?


No ice in the shaker. Crushed and cubes in the glass.

It was way too strong for most. Too sour for some.


I started to bring my girlfriend into maitai by following the exact same recipe as you, but she prefers and pretty much enjoys it with more Spanish style rums; the plantation dark / oftd / botrans is what she likes … and … maybe not the greatest testament to the rum community… this years Cuban Rum Artesanal with CADC finish


Exactly, the main ingredient was rum and I guess they just didn’t like the strength. This explains adding the 7up as a solution :rofl:. Maybe it was just too punchy

Next time give less rum to the ones who said “too strong” and more oregat for the ones who said “too sour”. Some need adjustments but Mai Tai is to good but to like it :slight_smile:


The RA Cuba wasn’t too sharp?


Na the lime hides it pretty well, and we’ll always mix at least two rums. Also she agrees that 40% abv rums just disappear in a Mai Tai. She’s developing the palate over time … she still thinks my favorite (2016 <>H Velier and El Dorado 15 non additive) are too much but she recently enjoyed a hlcf/Ra cuba Mai Tai

Give it time for people and tweak it to their taste so they can explore it step by step at a time.


Definitely shake with ice in the shaker, it helps the dilution and makes it more approachable.

Do keep in mind that the worthy park you mentioned is still 6cl of rum with an ABV that’s VERY high for people not used to drinking (cask strength) spirits straight and/or tiki drinks. It’s not the same as drinking something like a “bacardi mojito” :sweat_smile:

Try to make one for instance with 5cl plantation original dark and see how they like it. Add a 1cl float of OFTD or your Worthy Park and work your way up from there.

Sweet vs. sour is a matter of balancing syrups and lime. if your mai tai becomes to orgeat forward (there’s a lot of difference tastewise in orgeat syrups), you can always substitute a part of it with regular sugar cane syrup.


I don’t know if you are still qualified to judge what’s approachable for beginners anymore given your professional experience on the matter (just kidding) :rofl::rofl::rofl:


Haha fair enough :laughing:. Always hard for me to jump in the minds of people that never had a Mai Tai. But so many people approach me and ask if I can make them a Mai Tai I like…that’s usually not a good idea and I pick something like plantation Xaymaca or Appleton 8 to see if they like the profile of the drink.


I totally get that, a lot of people can’t understand either how I can like a daiquiri made with 6cl unaged TECA/DOK/NYE… at 63%.

After a while you kinda lose track of things in your rum journey. If you would ask me now to drink Plantation XO straight, I would probably pass. But there was a time long ago when I used to think that that was the best “rum” I’ve ever tasted :sweat_smile:

(Sorry off topic)


I’d probably say the same about Mount Gay Eclipse in the 80’s but things have changed over the years :rofl:

I like a spread of rums and most of them are in the 60%+ range and the “lighter” ones i use for baking, ice-cream and candy making :yum:


If I have to make a Mai Tai for guests I usually add Cointreau, almond syrup and a squint of maple syrup.


Yesterday I had people over, I made mai tai and everyone enjoyed it, they wanted the recipe. Two people used to rum and one not used to alcohol.
My recipe is the one from a great cocktail book: the great cocktail course (I don’t know if there is an English or German version).

25ml of lime juice
10ml of triple sec (I’m lucky to have this local production)
15ml orgeat syrup
25ml of amber agricole rum (I use HSE élevé sous bois) but I read on the RUMX reviews of the 7 year old Isautier -new one- that it was perfect in May Tai and I confirm, it is impeccable!
25ml Jamaican rum (for this one it depends on my desires and people: either the hampden younger, it is perfect. Or the Hampden Overproof batch 1. Yesterday I mixed 50/50 of each for the first time and that was very good too).
All this in a shaker. Then pour into a glass filled with ice. Then decorate with a slice of lime and fresh mint.

Note : Usually when I have some, I add a few ml of pressed orange or grapefruit juice in addition to the lime juice. About half of the lime (10/15ml)

My 2 cts :wink:


did you miss the sugar(-syrup)? This might be a reason. I usually add a bit more lime juice and in case my guests don’t like the strong alcohol taste i add a bit fresh orange juice. My guests always liked it and only refused because they felt the strong alcohol is too much.
Or maybe new friends? :wink:


@MoparRules he used 15 ml Orgeat which is sweet enough. The classic 1944 recipe breaks the sugar down into 7,5 ml rock candy syrup and 7,5 ml Orgeat.

I personally also use a full 15 ml Orgeat in my Mai Tais


How you guys feel about adding quartered and slightly crushed lime to Mai Tai (Similar caipirinha)?


It’s not part of the original garnish.

You use mint and a half pressed lime upside down


I don’t as it alters the look of the drink and down the line the whole drink.

BUT: i do like adding a piece of spent lime skin into the shaker with all shaken rum and Mezcal/Tequila Cocktails. It’s called ‘regal shake’ and adds some zesty goodness