The Ultimate Tropical Escape: How to Perfect Your Mai Tai Mocktail Recipe

Shake things up and make a Mai Tai Mocktail that everyone can enjoy! This recipe is a must-try and uses these ingredients: Non alcoholic rum alternative, orange juice, pineapple juice, lime juice and orgeat syrup. Fortunately, this drink is really simple to make, and you can even prepare it ahead of time. 

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What Is A Mai Tai?

A Mai Tai is a popular tropical cocktail typically made with rum, fruit juices, and a variety of other ingredients. It is known for its refreshing and tropical flavors. 

The exact recipe for a Mai Tai can vary, but the traditional version includes rum (usually a combination of light and dark rum), lime juice, orange liqueur (such as orange curaçao or triple sec), and orgeat syrup (a sweet almond syrup). These ingredients are typically shaken together with ice and served in a glass, often garnished with a sprig of mint, a slice of lime, or a pineapple wedge.

mai tai mocktail

History Of The Mai Tai

The history of the Mai Tai cocktail is often attributed to Victor J. Bergeron, better known as “Trader Vic,” who claimed to have invented the drink in 1944 at his Polynesian-themed restaurant in Oakland, California. According to his account, he created the cocktail for some friends visiting from Tahiti, who exclaimed, “Maita’i roa ae!” upon tasting it, which means “out of this world” in Tahitian. Inspired by their reaction, Bergeron named the drink “Mai Tai.”

However, there have been debates and controversies over the true origins of the Mai Tai. Some argue that the cocktail was invented by Donn Beach (real name Ernest Raymond Beaumont Gantt), the founder of another famous tiki bar called Don the Beachcomber. It is believed that Beach created a similar rum-based drink with tropical flavors and called it the “Mai Tai Swizzle” in the 1930s. The recipes for Beach’s and Bergeron’s Mai Tais differ, with each claiming its own unique blend of ingredients.

Regardless of its exact origins, the Mai Tai gained popularity in the 1940s and 1950s as tiki culture and Polynesian-themed bars and restaurants became a trend in the United States. The drink’s exotic flavors, tropical presentation, and association with the South Pacific made it a hit among cocktail enthusiasts.

Over time, different variations of the Mai Tai emerged, with various rum combinations, fruit juices, and sweeteners. Some bartenders added additional ingredients like grenadine, pineapple juice, or bitters to create their own unique twists on the classic recipe.

Despite the debates surrounding its origins, the Mai Tai remains one of the most famous and beloved tropical cocktails. It has become a symbol of tiki culture and is often associated with relaxation, vacation, and tropical paradise.

How To Make The Ultimate Mai Tai Mocktail

Feel free to adjust the proportions of the ingredients of your non-alcoholic Mai Tai to suit your taste preferences. You can also experiment with different fruit juices, syrups, or garnishes to add your own twist to the mocktail. Thus, here’s another Mai Tai Mocktail recipe involving a non-alcoholic spirit of your choice:

mai tai mocktail

Mai Tai Mocktail Recipe

This non-alcoholic Mai Tai mocktail can be adjusted to suit your taste. You can also experiment with different fruit juices, syrups, or garnishes to add your own twist to your Mai Tai mocktail. Here’s another Mai Tai Mocktail recipe using a non-alcoholic rum of your choice. We prefer Ritual because of it's coconutty-vanilla flavor.
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Drinks

Equipment

Ingredients
  

Instructions
 

  • Add ingredients to a shaker with ice cubes and shake, shake, shake for 10ish seconds.
  • Add to glass with ice.
  • Garnish with cherry, mint, pineapple, lime, or whatever you want.
Keyword Mai Tai Mocktail Recipe, Mai Tai Virgin Recipe, Mocktail Mai Tai

Mai Tai Mocktail With Items From Home

To make an ultimate Mai Tai Mocktail, here’s a recipe that captures the tropical flavors and essence of the original cocktail using ingredients easily found at the grocery store or in your kitchen:

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces orange juice
  • 2 ounces pineapple juice
  • 1 ounce lime juice
  • ½ ounce almond syrup or orgeat syrup
  • ½  ounce simple syrup (optional, for added sweetness)
  • Splash of grenadine
  • Pineapple wedge, lime wheel, or mint sprig for garnish
  • Crushed ice

Instructions

  1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass with crushed ice.
  2. Add orange juice, pineapple juice, lime juice, almond syrup (or orgeat syrup), and simple syrup (if desired) to the shaker.
  3. Shake the mixture vigorously for about 15-20 seconds to thoroughly combine the ingredients and chill the mocktail.
  4. Fill a glass with fresh crushed ice.
  5. Strain the mocktail into the glass over the ice.
  6. Add a splash of grenadine for color and extra sweetness.
  7. Garnish the drink with a pineapple wedge, lime wheel, or a sprig of mint.
  8. Optionally, you can use a straw or a stir stick to mix the grenadine into the mocktail for added visual appeal.
  9. Serve and enjoy your ultimate Mai Tai mocktail!

The instructions are just similar to the other recipe; you just add the non-alcoholic rum substitute to the liquid mixtures. Watch the video below from Mixology for a practical demonstration of creating the ultimate Mai Tai Mocktail drink:

Food Pairings For Your Mai Tai Mocktail

These food pairings enhance the overall tropical experience and provide complementary flavors and textures to the non-alcoholic Mai Tai Mocktail, creating a harmonious combination of tastes. Enjoy experimenting with these pairings and discover your personal favorites!

Mai Tai Mocktail Paired With Coconut Shrimp

Coconut shrimp is a delicious appetizer or snack that features shrimp coated in a crispy coconut breading. The sweet and nutty flavors of the coconut shrimp complement the tropical notes of the Mai Tai mocktail. The richness of the shrimp pairs well with the fruity and refreshing flavors of the mocktail, creating a delightful combination of textures and tastes.

Non-Alcoholic Mai Tai Paired With Teriyaki Chicken Skewers

Teriyaki chicken skewers are marinated in a sweet and savory sauce and grilled to perfection. The sweet and tangy flavors of the teriyaki sauce complement the tropical flavors of the Mai Tai mocktail. The charred notes from grilling add depth to the dish, creating a satisfying contrast to the mocktail’s vibrant and refreshing profile.

Mai Tai Mocktail Paired With Fresh Fruit Salad

A fresh fruit salad consisting of juicy pineapple, ripe mango, citrus segments, and other tropical fruits accompanies a Mai Tai mocktail. The bright and vibrant flavors of the fruits mirror the fruity elements of the mocktail. The juicy and refreshing nature of the fruit salad helps cleanse the palate between sips of the mocktail, making it a refreshing and harmonious pairing.

Non-Alcoholic Mai Tai Paired With Sesame-Ginger Tofu Lettuce Wraps

Sesame-ginger tofu lettuce wraps offer a balance of flavors and textures. The savory and umami-rich tofu, marinated in a blend of sesame oil, ginger, and soy sauce, pairs well with the fruity and citrusy notes of the mocktail. The crisp lettuce wraps provide a refreshing crunch and act as a light vessel to hold the flavorful tofu, creating a satisfying contrast that complements the mocktail.

Mai Tai Mocktail Paired With Mango Salsa And Tortilla Chips

mai tai recipe

Mango salsa combines the sweetness of ripe mangoes with the tanginess of lime juice, chili peppers’ heat, and cilantro’s freshness. The fruity and zesty flavors of the mango salsa complement the tropical flavors of the Mai Tai mocktail. Scooping up the vibrant and refreshing salsa with tortilla chips adds a satisfying crunch and a touch of saltiness, creating a delightful contrast to the mocktail.

Mai Tai Mocktail Paired With BBQ Chicken Pizza

A Mai Tai Mocktail makes the perfect pairing with BBQ chicken pizza. Smoky flavors, tangy barbecue sauce, tender chicken, and a tropical twist with a refreshing Mai Tai mocktail makes this a dynamic pairing.

Add a touch of freshness is with red onions and cilantro. Caramelizing your onions completely changes the flavor profile a bit and now adds a bit more richness.

The orgeat syrup in the Mai Tai mocktail adds a nice almond undertone, enhancing the cocktail’s complexity and lending a subtle nutty sweetness and it also enhances the flavors of the BBQ Chicken Pizza.

mai tai mocktail

The concept of mocktails has been around for quite some time, as people have sought non-alcoholic beverages that offer the same flavors and experience as their alcoholic counterparts. Bartenders and mixologists have experimented with creating alcohol-free versions of popular cocktails to cater to those who do not consume alcohol.

Mocktails, including the Mai Tai mocktail, have gained popularity in recent years due to various factors, such as an increased focus on health and wellness, the rise of the sober-curious movement, and the desire for inclusive and diverse drink options at bars and social events.

mai tai mocktail food pairing

Mai Tai Mocktail FAQs

What is Mai Tai mix made of?

Mai Tai mix typically consists of a blend of fruit juices, including orange juice, pineapple juice, and lime juice, for a tangy kick. It is often combined with almond or orgeat syrup, adding a sweet and nutty flavor profile. The mix can vary depending on personal preferences or specific recipes, but these ingredients form the foundation of the classic Mai Tai flavor.

How do you serve Mai Tai mocktail?

Mai Tai mocktails are typically served in a glass filled with crushed ice. The mocktail mixture is strained into the glass, and a splash of grenadine may be added for extra color and sweetness. The glass is often garnished with a pineapple wedge, lime wheel, or a sprig of mint to enhance the visual appeal.
 
Sipping the mocktail through a straw or using a stir stick to incorporate the flavors adds to the overall experience.

What does Virgin Mai Tai cocktail taste like?

A Virgin Mai Tai cocktail, also known as a non-alcoholic Mai Tai or Mai Tai mocktail, tastes like a refreshing blend of tropical flavors. It typically has a fruity and citrusy profile, with notes of orange, pineapple, and lime juice providing a tangy and zesty taste. The addition of almond syrup or orgeat syrup contributes a touch of sweetness and a subtle nutty undertone.

Why is the drink called Mai Tai?

The drink is called Mai Tai because it was named by Victor J. Bergeron, also known as “Trader Vic,” who claimed to have invented the cocktail in 1944. According to his account, he created the drink for friends from Tahiti who exclaimed “Maita’i roa ae!” upon tasting it, which means “out of this world” in Tahitian. Inspired by their reaction, Bergeron named the drink “Mai Tai.”

Is Mai Tai good for you?

The healthiness of a Mai Tai cocktail depends on various factors, including the specific recipe, ingredients, and individual consumption patterns. Generally, Mai Tais contain rum, fruit juices, and sweeteners, which contribute to their flavor profile. However, they are often high in sugar and can be calorie-dense. 

If you prefer a healthier option, you can explore non-alcoholic Mai Tai mocktails that offer tropical flavors without alcohol and can be enjoyed in moderation.