Elvis Presley and a Mai Tai cocktail. These two classic icons can be found together sharing screen time in the 1961 musical comedy blue Hawaii. Although the film has received mixed reviews, the cocktail proved to be a monstrous hit. The Mai Tai was all the rage in the United States during the 1940s and 1950s as tiki culture swept the nation in the aftermath of World War II and the Mai Tai was the poster child of the era. Look no further than blue Hawaii to find star Elvis Presley sipping this smooth cocktail. That image simply screams ‘classic’. The origin of the Mai Tai has been the subject of a bitter feud. The official story goes that in 1944 Victor Jules Bergeron, the man behind Trader Vic, designed the cocktail for his friends visiting from Tahiti. Upon trying the drink his guest Carrie Guild exclaimed “Mai Tai-Roa Ae”, meaning ‘out of this world, the best!’. Then there is Vic’s rival Ernest Raymond Beaumont-Gantt, owner of Don the Beachcomber, who claims to have invented the Mai Tai in 1933. Leave it to Trader Vic to have the best closing argument on the matter; “Anybody who says I didn’t create this drink is a dirty stinker”. Who was the true inventor of everybody’s favourite tiki-styled beverage? It is hard to say. But what there is to be sure of is the undeniable classic nature of the Mai Tai. If you find yourself in a tiki themed bar, then there is no need to look at the menu because it is time for a Mai Tai.
MAKES 1 DRINK
30ml Lime juice
15ml Orgeat (almond syrup)
METHOD: Shake ingredients with ice and strain into a rocks glass with fresh ice
GARNISH: mint leaves and pineapple