Mai Tais in glasses with lei and limes

Mai Tai

Since the coronavirus hit, a few things have changed in my daily life. Okay, wayyyy more than a few things have changed. But some things have changed for the better. Cut me some slack…I’m trying to be optimistic here.

I normally tend toward food recipes. But in these times of crisis, it seems happy hour starts earlier every day. My dining room bar cart has seen more activity than normal as a result of this change, as has my fridge.

I make sure to keep fresh lemons and limes on hand at all times for whatever whimsical drink hits my radar on any given Tuesday, and I took to making ice the old-fashioned way – in a plastic ice tray. Our poor built-in ice maker (circa 1986) just can’t keep up with Covid-level consumption. 🤷‍♀️

I stock up on gallon bags of homemade ice cubes for whenever we “social distance” in the driveway with the neighbors. Or for happy hour in the kitchen. At 2:45 pm. This is no time to judge.

During a recent post I made Painkillers. They are delicious. And after an embarrassingly large number of pitchers consumed, I’m tired of them. However, I stall have lots of rum left on said bar cart.

Enter: The Mai Tai.

I was originally introduced to this lovely cocktail at Trader Vic’s in Chicago, with eight of my closest girlfriends during a weekend train trip to the windy city. Then I was reminded of them again by my mother-in-law a few years ago. She used to drink them at the Polynesian Resort at Disney while her young children ran amuck in the park, unattended. (Talk about the good ‘ol days!)

Yesterday, I just needed an excuse to use some of that rum, so here we go. This drink is not for the faint of heart. My bourbon-on-the-rocks-drinking hubby didn’t think it was strong, although I tend to disagree. Drink cautiously, don’t plan on driving anywhere – oh, that’s right, we can’t – and mix up a pitcher of these to celebrate the start of another weekend in quarantine.

Mai Tai

Recipe by CandaceCourse: DrinksCuisine: PolynesianDifficulty: Easy


Prep time



These drinks are fruity, delicious, and STRONG. Sip slowly and enjoy!


  • 1 oz white rum

  • 1 oz gold rum

  • 1 oz amaretto

  • 1/2 oz grand marnier or cointreau

  • 1 oz orange juice

  • 1/2 oz freshly squeezed lime juice

  • 1/4 oz simple syrup

  • Splash of black rum for floater

  • Lime wedges and maraschino cherries for garnish


  • Crush ice in zip top bag with rolling pin or mallet. Fill a 12-oz glass and set aside while mixing cocktail.Bag of ice with ice tray and rolling pin to crush
  • In large shaker filled with ice, combine first seven ingredients. Shake vigorously to combine. Strain into glass filled with crushed ice.Glasses with ice, mai tai garnish and lime
  • Garnish with lime wedge and cherry. Gently pour about 1 oz of black rum over top of drink so it floats. Mai Tai ingredients - cherries, rum, amaretto, grand marnier
  • Put your feet up and enjoy. I’ll be right there with ya’.Mai Tai in glasses with lime and straw and lei


  • This drink is delicious but strong. Sip slowly.
  • I know the crushed ice seems like a pain. It’s the way they serve them at Trader Vic’s and the Polynesian and it’s just more festive. Show someone you love how much you care. Crush the ice.
  • You can make this by the pitcher. Just increase all ingredients for the number of people you are entertaining. Add about 1 oz of water for each serving size and refrigerate until ready to use. Pour over ice and garnish.
  • Use good rum, orange liqueur and real DiSaronno. You only live once. (I also stole some of the hubs’ fancy cherries. Because, yum.)
  • Simple syrup: Combine 2 parts hot water and 1 part granulated sugar. Stir to combine and then refrigerate until ready to use.

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