Now Reading
Creating the Classic Mai Tai

Creating the Classic Mai Tai

Few things endure in today’s world, but at a favorite Waikiki spot in Honolulu, a sunset cocktail is always waiting. Learn how to make it.
By Michelle M. Winner

Creating the Classic Mai TaiThe Mai Tai at Halekulani is a perennial favorite. Photo: Halekulani

Few things endure in today’s world. So when a favorite Waikiki spot for a sunset cocktail is always waiting for me each time I return to Honolulu, I think that is pretty special. Plus there is live Hawaiian music and a lovely hula dancer. What could be more beautiful? Well a Mai Tai for one. And not just any Mai Tai to sip under  Mount Kaimanhila’s (Diamond Head) watchful eye. But the best Mai Tai made the same way for over 30 years.

The House Without a Key at the Halekulani hotel is an open space under a very old Kiawe tree. Tables are scattered  around the beautiful pool all the way to beachside. Watch the sun dip into the Pacific and the twinkling stars will come out one by one in the balmy Waikiki night.  But back to my Mai Tai. I wouldn’t recommend drinking one anywhere but Halekulani because there is something magic going on in that perfect spot with the views, music and hula. But if you must have one before your next trip to Hawaii,  here is the recipe courtesy of  Halekulani.

See Also

clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon

Enduring Mai Tai At Halekulani’s House Without A Key

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

4 from 2 reviews

  • Yield: 1 1x


There is something magical about sipping a Mai Tai on Waikiki beach at Halekulani.


Units Scale
  • 1/3 ounce Orgeat Syrup
  • 1/3 ounce Orange Curaçao
  • 1/3 ounce Rock Candy Syrup
  • 3/4 ounce Bacardi Gold Rum
  • 1/2 ounce Bacardi 151 Rum
  • 1 1/4 ounce Fresh Lime Juice
  • 3/4 ounce Bacardi Select (float)


  1. Build over crushed ice and float with 3/ 4 ounce of Bacardi Select Rum.
  2. Garnish with lime wheel, sugar cane stick, mint leaf, and Vanda orchid.
  • Category: Cocktail
  • Cuisine: Polynesian


View Comments (2)
  • Hello Anton, I refer to the original Trader Vic created in his Oakland restaurant: You are correct. That one used 17 year old rum, and no float. It didn’t have fruit juices either. The addition of pineapple and orange juice, and float of dark rum came later when Matson Steamship company hired Trader Vic to come to Oahu and create some tropical drinks for their hotels the Moana and the Royal Hawaiian. He thought that the addition of these things would make it more appealing to tourists. So we could say that this certainly became the popular version of th Mai Tai. In Hawaii, it’s the most popular libation. At the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort, they sell over 165, 000 a year. No matter which version that you prefer, enjoy your Mai Tai!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

Scroll To Top