If you have only had Mai Tais with pineapple juice in them, then you, my friend have yet to enjoy a proper Mai Tai.
This tropical cocktail was invented in 1944 by Vic Bergeron, a Bay Area bartender and restauranteur who founded the Trader Vic’s restaurant chain.
Since rum cocktails were all the rage at the time, Bergeron challenged himself to create a new one using aged Jamaican rum.
He added in Dutch Orange Curacao, French Orgeat, fresh lime and a dash of Rock Candy syrup; shook it over shaved ice; then served it to two friends who had just returned from Tahiti.
Upon tasting the concoction, the friends exclaimed, Maita’i! (‘out of this world’ in colloquial Tahitian). Digging the expression, Bergeron wasted no time adding Mai Tai to the cocktail menu.
Trader Vic’s Emeryville
Trader Vic’s is a Polynesian-themed bar that is home to over 200 signature cocktails created by Vic Bergeron himself. It is situated on a pier in the city of Emeryville (across the bay from San Francisco Giants Ballpark).
Happy hour: Tue, all nite; Wed-Fri, 4pm-6pm & 9pm-close