If you’re familiar with Texas then you may know our passion for food – Houston, Dallas, and Austin are all great foodie cities. And you may know our love of Tex Mex food. Tex Mex is different than Mexican food in New Mexico. It’s different than Mexican food in California.
And we even put a twist on margaritas! That’s what inspired this Modern Mai Cocktail Recipe – it’s so incredibly delicious!
Why in the World am I Bringing Up Tex Mex?
Let me cut to the chase and tell you about this Orange Mai Tai Recipe – the name says it all! I used orange juice in place of orange liqueur. The full recipe is at the bottom but if you want to understand the how’s and why’s of this cocktail, read on.
With margaritas, most recipes use lemon and lime juice or sweet and sour. Which one depends on how nice the recipe is. But adding a splash of orange juice instead, makes a margarita that’s out of this world!
It’s fruity and citrusy without being too tart or too sugary. It’s packed with flavor so you don’t need to add a bunch of other ingredients to make a great cocktail. It’s a Tex Mex secret.
The History of the Mai Tai
The original Mai Tai was likely created by an important Tiki restauranteur and bar owner Trader Vic (Victor Jules Bergeron, Jr.) It’s still disputed as Donn Beach also claims credit for inventing the cocktail. But both restaurant bars are legendary and both men are legends either way. And this discrepancy is no surprise in the world of rum and tiki drinks.
A Mai Tai a rum based cocktail that combines dark rum, citrus, and almond liqueur over ice. It’s often garnished with fresh mint. Since many of the original tiki bars were secretive about their recipes, and there are several different tiki drink creators claiming credit for the cocktail, there is no original recipe or one way to make a Mai Tai. It’s open to interpretation.
Where to Get the Best Almond Liqueur
An example of these differences is the almond liqueur. You need it to make a Mai Tai but what kind can vary from recipe to recipe. Some people use Crème de Almond liqueur to get the unique flavor. Others use Orgeat Syrup. Still others use Crème de Noyaux liqueur (which tastes like almond but is actually made with apricot and stone fruit pits).
I’ve tried all 3 and usually prefer Crème de Almond because it’s available at most liquor stores (Crème de Noyaux is hard to find) and tastes delicious.
Even amaretto could work for this Orange Mai Tai Cocktail, although I have never seen it used in tiki cocktails.
How to Make an Orange Mai Tai
To make an Orange Mai Tai, you can either use a shaker or a swizzle stick to swizzle the cocktail instead of shaking it. I prefer the swizzle, since it doesn’t take much to blend these very sparse ingredients.
Start with half a highball glass of crushed ice. Then simply layer your dark rum on the bottom, then top with creme de almond liqueur, next add a splash of lime juice. The lime has to be fresh. Don’t even think about pre-packaged lime! Then last add orange. Shake or swizzle to mix!
Many people prefer to add a floater of dark rum to the top or spritz with bitters. Those are both great options but not necessary.
How to Garnish an Orange Mai Tai
Garnish an Orange Mai Tai with:
Fresh Mint (Slap it across your hand to open up the oils first)
A Skewer of Maraschino Cherries
A Lime Halved and Face Down to Look like an Island
An Orange Wedge
Tiki Drink Umbrellas (just to make it cute)
How to Serve an Orange Mai Tai
Since nothing says summer like Tiki Cocktails, this is the perfect summer drink. It’s perfect for a cocktail party or anytime you want to impress some guests.
It’s fast and easy to make which is perfect for a pre-dinner drink.
It’s a wonderful addition to a luau so you could serve this with barbeque, grilled chicken, grilled fish, fish tacos or poke bowls.
Orange Mai Tai Cocktail Recipe
- 1 Cocktail Shaker not required
- 1 Highball Glass
- Fill a highball glass half full with crushed ice.
- If using a shaker, combine your Dark Rum, Crème de Almond Liqueur, Lime Juice, and Orange Juice.
- Shake until blended. Pour over ice.
- If you plan to swizzle your Mai Tai instead, layer the Dark Rum, Crème de Almond Liqueur, Lime Juice and Orange Juice. Then swizzle.
- Optional: Top with a floater of dark rum or with a dash of traditional bitters.
- Optional: Add a garnish like a skewer of Maraschino Cherries or Fresh Mint. More ideas can be found in the blog post above.
- Serve immediately.
Let’s Stay Friends!