HONOLULU (KHON2) — The mai tai is a drink that some would mistakenly think originated from Hawaii. Although it is a very popular tropical drink in Hawaii, this drink is said to be originated in California!

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Victor J. Bergeron, who also went by The Trader, felt a new drink was needed in 1944. He claims to be the first who made the Mai Tai.

According to tradervics.com, he made this drink for his friends that were visiting from Tahiti at his service bar in Oakland.

Carrie took one sip and said, ‘Mai Tai – Roa Ae’. In Tahitian this means ‘Out of this World – The Best’. Well, that was that. I named the drink ‘Mai Tai’”. 

Victor J. Bergeron

The Victor Bergeron original Mai Tai drink:

  • 2 ounces of 17-year-old J. Wray Nephew Jamaican Rum
  • ½ ounce Holland De Kuyper Orange Curaçao
  • ½ ounce French Garnier Orgeat
  • ¼ ounce Rock Candy Syrup
  • Juice from one whole lime

To top off this drink, it should be garnished with ½ of lime shell and fresh mint.

Mai Tai comes to Hawaii

In 1953, it is said Trader Vic took the Mai Tai to the Hawaiian Islands. There is where he was asked to formalize drinks for the bars at the Royal Hawaiian and Moana Surfrider Hotels.

Mai Tai spots in Oahu:

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Over the years establishments have made different versions of the famous mai tai drink, but the classic mai tai has always been a fan favorite and can be served at any bar in Hawaii.