Don the Beachcomber’s Mai Tai

Donn Beach—a.k.a. Ernest Raymond Beaumont Gantt, a.k.a. Don the Beachcomber—reportedly invented his version of the drink in 1933, when it was called a Mai Tai Swizzle.

• 1 oz gold rum
• 1.5 oz dark rum
• 1 oz (30 mL) grapefruit juice
• 0.75 oz lime juice
• 0.5 oz Cointreau or triple sec
• 0.25 oz falernum
• 6 drops Pernod
• Dash of Angostura bitters
• Mint sprig to garnish

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Trader Vic’s Mai Tai

Victor Bergeron, founder of Trader Vic’s restaurants, claims to be the originator of the Mai Tai, back in 1944. This is his version of the drink.

• 2 oz aged rum
• 1 oz fresh lime juice
• 0.5 oz orgeat syrup (such as Giffard)
• 0.5 oz  Cointreau or Curaçao
• Mint sprig to garnish

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Tai me up

The origins of the tiki cocktail classic, the Mai Tai

The decor at Vancouver’s Shameful Tiki Room is tiki-tastic. Dan Toulgoet photos

Order the Mai Tai at your peril. It can be one of the world’s greatest cocktails but, like the Bellini and the Margarita, in the wrong hands, it can be an unmitigated disaster. Instead of a delicately fragrant yet powerfully boozy elixir, you are as likely to receive a dispiriting glass of something sweet, sticky and suspiciously hued.

Any bartender who knows their way around the classics should be able to make a decent Mai Tai, but for the real deal, you really want to seek out a tiki expert.

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