Don the Beachcomber Mai Tai

Transport yourself to the tropics with the alluring charm of a , but not just any Mai Tai, a Don the Beachcomber Mai Tai. This sensational cocktail, nestled comfortably within the annals of mixology, stands as a testament to the genius of its creator and the timeless allure of a well-made drink. So, let's embark on a flavorful journey, uncovering the rich history and unique composition of this tropical libation.

Ernest Raymond Beaumont Gantt, better known as Donn Beach, is the man behind the legend of Don the Beachcomber. Born in Texas in 1907, Beach traveled extensively in the Caribbean and the South Pacific, developing a deep appreciation for the tropical . This fondness for the tropics paved the way for him to become the founding father of the tiki culture in the United States.

In Hollywood, 1933, Donn Beach opened the first Don the Beachcomber – a bar and restaurant adorned with Polynesian artifacts and serving exotic -based . The establishment quickly gained popularity, setting the stage for the tiki craze that swept across the nation. Among his myriad of cocktail creations, one stood out and has become a classic – the Mai Tai cocktail.

When you delve into the history of this iconic drink, you'll find two competing narratives – one from Don the Beachcomber and the other from Trader Vic. However, while the Trader Vic's Mai Tai is more widely recognized, Don the Beachcomber's rendition predates it by about a decade. His version, known for its complexity and balance, is a delectable mix of flavors that promises a tropical escape with every sip.

In the following sections, we'll uncover the fascinating history of the Mai Tai, explore its ingredients, learn how to make one, and even discover some intriguing variations. So raise your glass, and prepare for a journey to the heart of the tiki culture with Don the Beachcomber's Mai Tai.

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Ingredients of Don the Beachcomber Mai Tai

List of Ingredients

The Don the Beachcomber Mai Tai is a concoction of distinct flavors, each contributing to its unique, tropical taste. Here is a carefully curated list of key components:

  • 1.5 oz of Gold Rum
  • 1.5 oz of Dark Rum
  • 1 oz of Lime
  • 0.5 oz of Cointreau
  • 0.25 oz of Orgeat Syrup
  • 0.25 oz of Simple Syrup
  • Dash of Angostura Bitters
  • Mint for garnish

Each ingredient plays a pivotal role in the overall flavor profile of the cocktail.

The Role of Each Ingredient

Let's delve into the role of each ingredient in the creation of the perfect Don the Beachcomber Mai Tai:

Gold Rum and Dark Rum: These two types of rum provide the strong, robust backbone of the cocktail. The Gold Rum offers a smooth, rich flavor, while the Dark Rum adds depth and a hint of molasses sweetness. They're the heart of any Mai Tai rum concoction.

Lime Juice: The Lime Juice introduces a tangy freshness that cuts through the richness of the rum. It adds a clean, citrus note, balancing the sweetness and enhancing the tropical vibe.

Cointreau: This high-quality orange brings a subtle citrus undertone and a touch of sophistication to the cocktail, marrying well with the other ingredients.

Orgeat Syrup and Simple Syrup: Both syrups add sweetness to the Mai Tai. The Orgeat Syrup, an almond-based syrup, introduces a nutty flavor that complements the rums, while the Simple Syrup provides a clean, uncomplicated sweetness.

Angostura Bitters: Just a dash of these bitters lends complexity and a hint of spice to the Mai Tai, rounding out the flavors.

Mint: Used as a garnish, mint adds an olfactory element to the drink. The fresh, crisp aroma of mint enhances the overall experience of sipping this tropical delight.

By understanding the function of each component in your cocktail, you can experiment with proportions and even substitutions to create your own Mai Tai variations. Happy mixing!

How to Make the Don the Beachcomber Mai Tai

Step-by-step Guide

Crafting the perfect Don the Beachcomber Mai Tai is an art that can be mastered with the right guidance. Here's a detailed, step-by-step guide to get you started.

  1. Prepare your Ingredients: Assemble your selection of rums, lime juice, orange , orgeat, and simple syrup. Make sure everything is within easy reach.
  2. Mix: In a cocktail shaker, pour 1 ounce of light rum, 1 ounce of dark rum, 1/2 ounce of lime juice, 1/4 ounce of orange curaçao, 1/4 ounce of orgeat, and 1/4 ounce of simple syrup.
  3. Shake: Cap your shaker and give it a vigorous shake for about 10 to 15 seconds. This ensures the ingredients are well-blended and the drink is properly chilled.
  4. Pour: Strain the cocktail into a mai tai glass filled with crushed ice.
  5. Garnish: Add a sprig of mint, a slice of lime, and a cherry on top for the perfect mai tai garnish.
  6. Serve: Present your creation with a cocktail straw and enjoy.

Tips for Perfection

  • Quality of Ingredients: Always use fresh lime juice and high-quality rums for the best taste. The mai tai rum you choose can significantly influence the flavor of your cocktail.
  • The Shake: A vigorous shake not only blends the ingredients thoroughly but also adds the necessary chill to the drink.
  • The Garnish: Never underestimate the power of a good garnish. It can elevate the aesthetic appeal of your drink and enhance its overall flavor.
  • The Glassware: Serving your mai tai in the right glassware can enhance your drinking experience. Choose a glass that is visually attractive and practical for the drink.

Remember, the key to a perfect Don the Beachcomber Mai Tai is patience and precision. Take your time, measure your ingredients accurately, and enjoy the process. Happy mixing!


In an increasingly busy world, it's essential to find time for simple pleasures. Unwinding at home with a glass of a homemade Don the Beachcomber Mai Tai offers a unique opportunity to indulge in a little slice of tropical paradise without leaving the comfort of your living room. The allure of this classic cocktail goes beyond its refreshing taste, acting as a symbolic beacon of relaxation and leisure.

Crafting this cocktail at home invites an element of creativity into your day, as you become the master of your mix, tailoring the recipe to your specific taste. The act of making a cocktail like this is not just about the final product; it's a process, a journey of discovery. Each ingredient, from the mai tai rum to the mai tai garnish, plays a crucial role in this dance of flavors, contributing its unique character to the symphony that is a Don the Beachcomber Mai Tai.

Not to mention, the comfort of savoring this delightful concoction at home allows for a more intimate experience. There's something inherently gratifying about creating a cocktail from scratch, a testament to one's skill and patience. It's a way to impress friends and family, to take a moment for oneself, or even to learn something new.

Moreover, the significance of enjoying a Don the Beachcomber Mai Tai at home also lies in the connection it brings. Whether it's reminiscing about a previous visit to the tropics, dreaming of future travel plans, or simply enjoying the exotic escapism this cocktail offers, it's a drink that brings people together.

In conclusion, the Don the Beachcomber Mai Tai is not just a cocktail; it's an experience. It's a passport to a tropical getaway, a nod to the art of mixology, and a symbol of relaxation and enjoyment. So, why not take a trip to your kitchen, and whip up this classic mai tai recipe? Embrace the art of cocktail making and let the Mai Tai transport you to a tropical paradise, all from the comfort of your home.

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Thomas Ashford

Thomas Ashford is a highly educated brewer with years of experience in the industry. He has a Bachelor Degree in Chemistry and a Master Degree in Brewing Science. He is also BJCP Certified Beer Judge. Tom has worked hard to become one of the most experienced brewers in the industry. He has experience monitoring brewhouse and cellaring operations, coordinating brewhouse projects, and optimizing brewery operations for maximum efficiency. He is also familiar mixology and an experienced sommelier. Tom is an expert organizer of beer festivals, wine tastings, and brewery tours.