Mai Tai recipes are mostly based on Trader Vic’s 1944 recipe include rum, lime juice, orgeat syrup, and orange liqueur (typically orange curaçao). Variants may include the addition of falernum, bitters, grenadine, orange and grapefruit juices, and so on.
Victor J. Bergeron claimed to have invented the Mai Tai in 1944 at his restaurant, Trader Vic’s, in Oakland, California. Trader Vic’s forerunner, Donn Beach, claimed to have instead first created it in 1933, although a longtime colleague said that Beach was actually just alleging that the Mai Tai was based on his Q.B. Cooler cocktail. Don the Beachcomber’s recipe is more complex than that of Vic’s and some believe tastes quite different. Others believe that despite the difference in ingredients that they taste quite similar.[7
The name was allegedly taken from maita’i, the Tahitian word for “good” or “excellence”, although the drink is usually spelled as two words, sometimes hyphenated or capitalized.