National Mai Tai Day is celebrated each year on August 30, as drink fans and tiki devotees pay homage to America’s most iconic tropical cocktail: the Mai Tai.
The Mai Tai was first introduced in August 1944 by tiki icon Trader Vic. According to liquid legend, Vic spontaneously created the experimental concoction for some friends at his Oakland restaurant. The original drink was comprised of 17-year old Jamaican J. Wray Nephew rum, fresh lime, Orange Curacao from Holland, rock candy syrup, and a dollop of French Orgeat. The Trader shook this combination vigorously, poured it over shaved ice, and accented the glass with half of a lime and fresh mint.
One of his guests, upon tasting his creation, exclaimed, “Mai Tai-Roa Aé.” In Tahitian, this translates to “out of this world—the best.” And thus, the Mai Tai was born.
When Trader Vic was asked to create menus for the Royal Hawaiian, Moana and Surfrider Hotels, he included the Mai Tai among his tiki offerings. The drink became a sensation, and went on to become one of the most popular—and most widely imitated—drinks of all time.
In recognition of Trader Vic’s historic contribution to cocktail culture, the City of Oakland officially declared August 30 Mai Tai Day on August 30, 2009. The formal proclamation touts the Mai Tai as the “quintessential tropical cocktail,” quoting the Oakland Tribune’s observation that the classic concoction “conjures universally positive images of retro-relaxation, portable Polynesia, a liberal lifestyle, multicultural mixology, exotic diversity, delicious creativity and the friendly spirit of Aloha.” We couldn’t agree more.
‘Tai’ one on this August 30 in celebration of National Mai Tai Day!
National Mai Tai Day is typically celebrated