Orange Mai Tai Cocktail Recipe

modern mai tai tiki cocktail recipe

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!

all ingredients to make a modern mai tai

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.

close up of ingredients for a modern mai tai

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.

add rum to the glass of ice mai tai recipe

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.

add creme de almond liqueur to the spiced rum

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.

finish the mai tai with orange juice

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).

finished orange mai tai recipe

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 easy mai tai with orange

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.

add cherries and orange to the mai tai

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.

cocktail recipe for an orange mai tai

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
Pineapple Leaves
Tiki Drink Umbrellas (just to make it cute)

detail of the orange mai tai recipe pop shop america

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.

mai tai cocktail recipe with orange

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 recipe tutorial pop shop america

Orange Mai Tai Cocktail Recipe

Brittany Bly
This recipe puts a modern twist on a simple but irresistible Mai Tai Tiki Cocktail!
Course Beverage, cocktails
Cuisine American, tiki
Servings 1 drink


  • 1 Cocktail Shaker not required
  • 1 Highball Glass


  • 2 cups Crushed Ice
  • 2 oz Dark Rum
  • 1/2 oz Crème de Almond Liqueur
  • 1/2 oz Fresh Lime Juice
  • 2-4 oz Orange Juice to taste
  • 1 dash Dark Rum optional to float on top
  • 1 dash Bitters
  • 1 garnish like a skewer of cherries, fresh mint


  • 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.
Keyword cocktails, drink recipes, mai tai, tiki cocktail, tiki drink

recipe for an orange mai tai cocktail

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