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The Mai Tai Cocktail Turns 70!

Guests are invited to join the Trader Vic’s team for a ‘Toast Around the World’, beginning in Tokyo and ending in California, the home of the Original Mai Tai®

This month, the iconic Mai Tai cocktail will celebrate 70 years of captivating guests of Trader Vic’s and the Mai Tai Lounge around the world. In Dubai, Trader Vic’s Madinat Jumeirah, Trader Vic’s Festival City and Trader Vic’s Mai Tai Lounge, JBR will all be joining in the fun. On Friday, September 26th, guests are invited to join Trader Vic’s at 9 pm in a ‘Toast Around the World’ to honour this world-famous cocktail. Starting in Tokyo, the Trader Vic’s team will raise their Mai Tais high and continue the toast at each Trader Vic’s location, ending in California where it all began, the home of the Original Mai Tai®.

Mai Tai cocktail

The Mai Tai was invented in Oakland, California at The Trader’s small restaurant on San Pablo Avenue

If you Google the word ‘Mai Tai’, you will end up with almost 6,870,000 results. The Trader, Victor Bergeron, himself could not have predicted the Mai Tai’s worldwide popularity on that fine day in 1944 when he made history by simply creating a concoction for some friends at his Oakland bar.

When you think of a Mai Tai, you assume it must have been invented by some thirsty beachgoer after a warm day on the sands of Hawaii. Beach imagery aside, the Mai Tai was actually invented in Oakland, California at The Trader’s small restaurant on San Pablo Avenue.

The story in the words of Mr Victor Bergeron…

“I was at the service bar in my Oakland restaurant. I took down a bottle of 17-year-old Jamaican J. Wray Nephew rum, added fresh lime, some Orange Curacao from Holland, a dash of Rock Candy syrup, and a dollop of French Orgeat, for its subtle flavour. A generous amount of shaved ice and a vigorous shaking by hand produced the marriage I was after. Half the lime shell went in for colour, I stuck in a branch of fresh mint and gave two of them to Ham and Carrie Guild, friends from Tahiti, who were there that night. Carrie took on sip and said, “Mai Tai – Roa Ae”. In Tahitian this means ‘Out of this World – The Best’. Well, that was that. I named the drink Mai Tai.”

As Trader Vic’s expanded, so did the popularity of the Mai Tai, reaching Hawaiian shores in 1953 by way of The Matson Steamship Lines when they asked Vic to develop menus for their bars at the Royal Hawaiian, Moana and Surfrider Hotels. When Trader Vic’s became an international brand in the early 1960s, the Mai Tai’s fame spread and it quickly developed into one of the most ordered drinks throughout the world.