Classic summer rum cocktail recipes: Mai Tai and Daiquiri

This is the first of three posts on Sean Ludford’s take on classic summer cocktails. Read more of his writing stylings on – Taylor

Victor Bergeron, best known as Trader Vic, in 1944, created this classic cocktail. The Second World War was in full swing on fronts in Europe and the Pacific and Bergeron was keen to create a mood-lifting cocktail made with the best possible ingredients. He first presented the drink to two friends visiting from Tahiti. His guests replied, Mai Tai, which in Tahitian means out of this world.

Since then this drink has suffered some very poor imitators. Some of the worst offenders were sold by Bergeron himself as bottled, mass-produced, cocktail mixers. However, the original is a damn fine cocktail and when made with high quality rum (read about the joys of dark Caribbean rum) and Orgeat syrup it never fails to impress. (Orgeat syrup can be found with a simple web search and may even be sold in your local café as it is a popular addition to modern coffee drinks.)

Mai Tai Ingredients

2 oz. dark rum (don’t skimp on quality here)
1 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice
1/2 ounce Orange Curacao
1/2 ounce Orgeat syrup
Splash of simple syrup

Mai Tai Method
Place all of the ingredients, along with cracked ice, into a cocktail shaker. Give it a vigorous shake and pour unstrained into a large highball, Collins glass, or a festive Tiki inspired glass. Garnish with a lime wedge and a sprig of fresh mint. Try not to add one of those little paper umbrellas.

Daiquiri – a Classic Recipe

What a classic cocktail and again what a platform to “create” a slew of flavor variations that have haunted the bartenders of years past (and still do in suburban strip malls). This cocktail was born organically if ever a cocktail has. By organic I mean of the climate and circumstance rather than the bright sticker on your banana that warns you that you will be paying 20 cents more per pound. Rum, lime, and sugar are just like peanut butter and jelly.


2 ounces White Rum
1/2 teaspoon superfine sugar
1/2 ounce lime juice


Squeeze the lime juice into your shaker and then stir in the sugar. Add the rum and a handful of cracked ice. Shake well and then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime slice if you like.

One Comment

  1. Some day I’ll get around to making some Orgeat syrup!


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