It's Tiki Time: The Trinidad Mai Tai

It's Tiki Time: The Trinidad Mai Tai

Pix and Story :: Anastacia Uriegas

We did the unthinkable; we tweaked the Mai Tai, a tried-and-true tiki classic created by the legendary barman, Victor J. Bergeron (better known as Trader Vic). The original Mai Tai--a shaken concoction of 17-year rum, orange curaçao, fresh lime juice, orgeat, and rock candy syrup--was created in 1944. The recipe went through several modifications after the popularity of the drink exhausted the supply of aged rum the recipe called for and when drinkers’ palettes demanded a less-sweet version. The modern version now calls for two or more types of rum, which adds to the drink’s complexity and either omits the simple syrup or replaces it with Demerara simple syrup instead.

For this mashup, we combined elements of this classic Mai Tai and the Trinidad Sour, a modern classic created by NYC bartender Giuseppe Gonzalez in 2009 which earned its oddball status by using an unheard of amount of Angostura. Any cocktail enthusiast will recognize Angostura as the aromatic, blood orange liquid frequently added to popular cocktails like the Old Fashioned. (Angostura Bitters also has a long history, it was created in 1824 as a medicinal tincture used to alleviate stomach issues.) The thing is though; Angostura is delicious on its own, has a high alcohol content, and adds fragrance and an herbaceous bitterness to our boozy and balanced Trinidad Mai Tai.

The Trinidad Mai Tai


3/4 Ounce Martinique White Rhum Agricole (We used Rhum J.M. White Agricole)

3/4 Ounce Jamaican Overproof Dark Rum (We used Smith & Cross Traditional Jamaica Rum)

1 Ounce Angostura Aromatic Bitters

3/4 Ounce Orgeat Syrup (We like Liber & Co.; Better Quality Orgeat = Better Drink)

1 Ounce Fresh Lime Juice



Fresh Mint Sprig for Garnish

Lime Wedge for Garnish

Drink Umbrella for Garnish


Hawthorne Strainer

Rocks Glass

Cube Ice for Shaking

Crushed Ice for Serving



1. Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker.

2. Add ice and shake until chilled.

3. Strain into rocks glass filled with crushed ice.

4. Garnish with mint sprig, umbrella and lime wedge.

5. Top off the drink with more crushed ice.