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
The origins of the tiki cocktail classic, the Mai Tai
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.