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Spotlight on the Mai Tai

At your favorite Japanese restaurant, you may have noticed the Mai Tai listed on the cocktail menu. Whether you’ve tried this drink and loved it or wonder if it’s a beverage that you might enjoy, continue reading to discover some interesting facts about this popular drink.

The Mai Tai’s Origin

It’s rumored that when the Mai Tai cocktail was first available, its popularity depleted rum supplies. Whether this story holds water is up for debate, but the Mai Tai has been and continues to be an incredibly popular drink. Although there are several theories regarding the Mai Tai’s origin, most people attribute its invention to Victor J. Bergeron, who is better known as Trader Vic, the founder of a Polynesian-themed restaurant chain that began in Oakland, California. It’s said that, in 1944, when Trader Vic first mixed the beverage for some friends visiting from Tahiti, that one was so delighted with the flavor that she exclaimed " maita’i roa a’e," which means “out of this world!” Trader Vic then dubbed the cocktail the Mai Tai.

The Mai Tai’s Original Recipe

Like many popular cocktails, variations of the Mai Tai have been concocted over the years, leaving many people confused about what goes into a traditional version of this drink. Although not everyone agrees about the ingredients, the consensus is that rum, fresh lime juice, Orgeat, orange curacao or triple sec, and simple syrup are Mai Tai fundamentals. The drink is traditionally shaken with ice and served over crushed ice, and may be garnished with a sprig of mint or lime wedge.

The Mai Tai’s Evolution

While many people favor the original Mai Tai recipe, plenty enjoy exploring the variations that have been created over the years. Some of the ingredients that you may see used in Mai Tai variations include mango puree, pineapple juice, muddled blueberries, mezcal, cachaça, absinthe, and blended scotch.

At House of Genji, our Japanese steakhouse features a cocktail lounge and teppanyaki dining in San Jose. If you’d like to learn more or make a reservation, then please give us a call at (408) 453-8120.


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