Mai Tai from A-Z Guide to Cocktail Names & Origins (Part 2) Slideshow

A-Z Guide to Cocktail Names & Origins (Part 2) Slideshow

Lara Ferroni
Slide 1 of 18
Mai Tai


Invented by Vic Bergeron in 1944 at his Polynesia-style Oakland bar. He did not want fruit juices detracting from the two ounces of J. Wray Nephen Jamaican Rum he poured as the base for his creation. He merely added a half ounce of French orgeat (an almond-flavored syrup), a half ounce of orange curacao, a quarter ounce of rock candy syrup, and the juice of one lime. Customer Carrie Wright of Tahiti was the first to taste the concoction, to which she responded, "Mai tai...roe ae," (Tahitian for "Out of this world...the best"). The Mai Tai became famous, and conflicting stories about its origins aggravated Bergeron so much that he elicited a sworn statement from Mrs. Wright in 1970, testifying to his authorship of the cocktail.