Blue Hawaiian and Mai Tai cocktails. Both classic cocktails. Both easy to make from simple ingredients. Both certain to bring you back to the ’70s in a big way. Groovy flared jeans, psychedelic florals, and hippy hats optional. But if you’re going to do ’60s cocktails, then really do ’60s cocktails. You know, really embrace the spirit of these Mai Tai and Blue Hawaiian cocktails. Just don’t forget the paper umbrellas.–Rick Rodgers and Heather Maclean

How The Mai Tai Cocktail Got Its Name

According to cookbook author Rick Rodgers, “Victor Jules Bergeron, Jr., founder of the tiki restaurants that bear his nickname “Trader Vic’s,” claimed to have invented the Mai Tai when he had an overstock of rum. When he served it to a guest, the drinker supposedly exclaimed “Maita‘i! roa!”, a Tahitian phrase loosely translated as “way cool!” Vic’s rival, Don the Beachcomber, the eponymous owner of his own Polynesian restaurants, also claims to have invented the Mai Tai, but of course, years earlier. Whoever it was, we thank them.” We’ll drink to that.

Two of each mai tai and blue Hawaiian cocktails, in glass tiki glasses and garnished with paper umbrellas on a tray.

Mai Tai and Blue Hawaiian Cocktails

5 from 1 vote
These mai tai and blue Hawaiian cocktail recipes are easy to make from simple ingredients. Pure and simple 60s vibes.
David Leite
CourseDrinks
CuisineAmerican
Servings1 servings
Calories253 kcal
Prep Time5 minutes
Total Time5 minutes

Ingredients 

For the Mai Tai

  • 1 ounce aged or dark rum
  • 1 ounce silver (light) rum
  • 1 ounce triple sec or Curaçao
  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon orgeat or almond-flavored beverage syrup, (Orgeat is a flavoring with almond and hints of vanilla and rosewater. Almond flavoring syrup also works well.)
  • 1 teaspoon grenadine, (optional)
  • Fresh pineapple wedges
  • Maraschino cherry
  • Mint sprigs

For the Blue Hawaiian

  • 1 ounce silver (light) rum
  • 1 ounce blue Curaçao
  • 1 ounce cream of coconut, such as Coco Lopez
  • 2 ounces pineapple juice
  • Fresh pineapple wedge
  • Maraschino cherry

Instructions 

Make the Mai Tai

  • Fill a large tiki or hurricane glass with ice. Half fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the rums, triple sec, lime juice, orgeat, and grenadine, if using, to the shaker. Shake well. Strain the cocktail into the glass. Garnish with the pineapple, cherry, and mint. Imbibe.

Make the Blue Hawaiian

  • Fill a large tiki or hurricane glass with ice. Half fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the rum, Curaçao, cream of coconut, and pineapple juice to the shaker. Shake well. (Prefer a frozen Blue Hawaiian? Process the liquid ingredients with 1 cup cracked ice in a blender until smooth.) Strain the cocktail into the glass. Garnish with the pineapple and cherry. Imbibe.
The Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Sixties Cookbook

Adapted From

The Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Sixties Cookbook

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Nutrition

Serving: 1 servingCalories: 253 kcalCarbohydrates: 16 gProtein: 0.1 gFat: 0.1 gSaturated Fat: 0.03 gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.01 gSodium: 5 mgFiber: 0.1 gSugar: 13 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2012 Rick Rodgers. Photo © 2012 Ben Fink. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

What’s not to love about this Blue Hawaiian made from rum, Curaçao, cream of coconut, and pineapple juice, oh my! We had ours straight up, but I bet they’d be great frozen, too. Pretty and refreshing, and overall, a very nice cocktail.

This is a classic Mai Tai and would make Trader Vic or Don the Beachcomber proud. So many bars, especially in Hawaii, make very fruity or pineappley versions of this cocktail. A true Mai Tai is supposed to have a kick, and this one does. Treat yourself and make this. You’ll never order one on the beach again.

The Blue Hawaiian is a classic cocktail that’s frequently ruined by hotels, bars, and restaurants trying to be cheap. This is how it’s supposed to taste. Try it, you’ll like it. P.S. Use good rum.




About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.


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