Perhaps the most iconic cocktail Trader Vic ever created, the Mai Tai has gone through several iterations according to shifting availabilities of various rums since its genesis in 1944. Vic originally called for a seventeen-year-old Jamaican rum, but the sheer popularity of the drink at his rapidly expanding empire resulted in a dwindling supply of that particular bottling. The years that followed witnessed several reformulations based on available rums, but Martin Cate notes that this hardly impacted the end result. “The fundamental nature of the Mai Tai is that it’s a showcase for great rum to shine. All the other ingredients are in small, supporting roles,” he says, adding, “the perfect rum or rum combination for the Mai Tai is the one that makes you happiest when you drink it.
Reprinted with permission from Easy Tiki: A Modern Revival with 60 Recipes, by Chloe Frechette, copyright © 2020. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC. Photographs copyright © 2020 by Lizzie Munro.