Mai Tai Cocktails with Grenadine

The story of the cocktail begins in the tropical landscape of 1940s California tiki culture. Victor J. Bergeron, famously known as Trader Vic, is said to have concocted this exotic libation in 1944 at his restaurant in Oakland, California. According to the lore, the drink was so well-received by some Tahitian friends that one of them exclaimed, “Maita'i roa ae!” – which translates to “Out of this world! The best!” The name stuck and so did the cocktail's fame.

This delightful concoction of , lime , orgeat syrup, and orange has since become a staple in the world of tropical . However, the Mai Tai cocktail has seen several variations over the years, each adding a unique twist to the classic recipe. One such variation involves the addition of grenadine, which brings us to the focus of this article.

Grenadine, a sweet and slightly tart syrup made from pomegranate juice and sugar, has been a go-to ingredient for cocktail enthusiasts seeking to add a dash of color and sweetness to their drinks. When incorporated in a Mai Tai cocktail, grenadine imparts a deeply red hue and a fruity complexity that beautifully complements the potent rum and the citrusy notes of the cocktail.

The usage of grenadine isn't just limited to aesthetic appeal or taste, it also adds to the overall balance of the cocktail, providing a counterpoint to the acidity of the lime juice and the strength of the rum. Whether you're a fan of the classic Trader Vic's Mai Tai or a mixologist experimenting with your own Mai Tai variations, grenadine can be a game-changer.

So, let's dive into the world of Mai Tai cocktails with grenadine and explore how this versatile ingredient can transform a good cocktail into a great one.]

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The Classic Mai Tai with Grenadine

Recipe and Instructions

The classic Mai Tai with grenadine is a tantilizing blend of rum, lime juice, orgeat syrup, and grenadine. It's a cocktail that embodies the spirit of tropical islands with its vibrant taste and inviting presentation.

Here's what you'll need to concoct this tantalizing :

  • 2 ounces of Mai Tai rum
  • 1 ounce of lime juice
  • 1/2 ounce of orgeat syrup
  • 1/4 ounce of grenadine
  • A maraschino cherry and lime slice for garnish

Follow these steps to create your own classic Mai Tai with grenadine:

  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.
  2. Pour in the rum, lime juice, orgeat syrup, and grenadine.
  3. Shake vigorously for about 15 seconds.
  4. Strain the cocktail into a Mai Tai glass, filled with crushed ice.
  5. Garnish with a maraschino cherry and lime slice.

Tips for the Best Outcome

Creating the perfect Mai Tai is not just about the ingredients, it's also about the process. Here are some expert tips to ensure every sip of your Mai Tai is a trip to the tropics:

Choose Your Rum Wisely: The rum is the soul of any Mai Tai, so don't skimp on quality. Seek out a well-aged, dark rum that packs a punch of flavor. Check out our guide on the best Mai Tai rum brands to help you make an informed choice.

Fresh Lime Juice: Using fresh lime juice instead of the bottled version can be a game changer. It adds an invigorating freshness that elevates the entire drink.

The Right Balance: Striking the right balance between the sweetness of the grenadine and orgeat syrup, the tartness of the lime juice, and the robustness of the rum is key. Adjust the proportions as needed to suit your taste.

Presentation: A Mai Tai is more than just a cocktail; it's an experience. Serve it in a chilled glass, garnished with a maraschino cherry and lime slice for that authentic, tropical feel. For more presentation tips, check out our Mai Tai cocktail presentation guide.

By adhering to these guidelines, you're well on your way to mastering the art of the classic Mai Tai with grenadine. Happy mixing!

Variations of Mai Tai with Grenadine

The traditional Mai Tai cocktail is a versatile beverage that allows for an array of tantalizing variations. By tweaking a few ingredients or adding a unique twist, you can create a refreshing new interpretation while still preserving the essence of the original Mai Tai. Here, we will explore three such variations, each with grenadine as a common denominator – Fruity, Spicy, and Tropical.

Fruity Mai Tai with Grenadine

Elevate the standard Mai Tai by incorporating a burst of fruity flavors. This variant complements the sweet-tart essence of grenadine with a mix of fresh, seasonal fruits.


  • 2 oz rum
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • 1/2 oz grenadine
  • 1/2 oz triple sec
  • Assorted fruit slices (for garnish)


  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.
  2. Pour in the rum, lime juice, grenadine, and triple sec.
  3. Shake until well mixed.
  4. Strain into a glass filled with ice.
  5. Garnish with assorted fruit slices.

Spicy Mai Tai with Grenadine

For those who love a kick in their cocktail, the Spicy Mai Tai variation is perfect. The addition of jalapeno peppers provides a surprising zing, perfectly contrasting the sweet grenadine.


  • 2 oz rum
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • 1/2 oz grenadine
  • 1/2 oz triple sec
  • 2-3 slices of jalapeno


  1. In a cocktail shaker, muddle the jalapeno slices.
  2. Add ice, rum, lime juice, grenadine, and triple sec.
  3. Shake well and strain into a glass over ice.

Tropical Mai Tai with Grenadine

This Tropical Mai Tai variation transports you straight to a palm-fringed beach. With the addition of coconut and pineapple, it's a refreshing, island-inspired twist on the classic Mai Tai.


  • 2 oz rum
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • 1/2 oz grenadine
  • 1/2 oz triple sec
  • 1/2 oz coconut cream
  • 1/2 oz pineapple juice
  • Pineapple slice and cherry (for garnish)


  1. In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine rum, lime juice, grenadine, triple sec, coconut cream, and pineapple juice.
  2. Shake well and strain into a Mai Tai glass filled with ice.
  3. Garnish with a slice of pineapple and a cherry.

Each of these variants offers a unique twist on the classic Mai Tai, demonstrating how easy it is to experiment with Mai Tai variations. Whether you prefer fruity, spicy, or tropical flavors, these recipes with grenadine are sure to delight.


The world of cocktails is as vast and exciting as it is delicious, and there's no better way to dive into this realm of flavors than by exploring the diverse variations of the Mai Tai. Our journey through the tropical, fruity, and spicy renditions of this classic concoction serves as a testament to the versatility of the Mai Tai.

Dare to experiment with these different interpretations of the Mai Tai cocktail. Whether you are a seasoned mixologist or a cocktail enthusiast, the endless possibilities that these variations present will surely keep your taste buds intrigued. Each sip is an opportunity to discover a unique symphony of flavors, and who knows, you might even create your own signature Mai Tai with a personal twist.

As we wrap up this exploration of the Mai Tai, let's revisit some of the fundamental tips for creating the perfect Mai Tai with grenadine:

  1. Choice of Rum: Opt for a high-quality rum to ensure a flavorsome foundation for your cocktail. Remember, the rum is the heart of a Mai Tai, and the choice you make will significantly influence the end result. Discover more about the best options in our Mai Tai rum guide.
  2. Balance of Flavors: Achieving harmony between the sweet, sour, and strong components of your Mai Tai is crucial. The vibrant grenadine should not overpower the other elements but rather enhance the overall balance.
  3. Presentation: Serve your Mai Tai in a proper glass, garnished with fresh fruit or an umbrella for that authentic tropical touch. Check out our Mai Tai garnish ideas for more inspiration.

In the end, the secret to a perfect Mai Tai lies in the quality of the ingredients, the balance of flavors, and a dash of creativity. So, step into your home bar, unleash your inner mixologist, and start exploring these enticing Mai Tai variations. Here's to delicious adventures and unforgettable cocktail experiences. Cheers!

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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.