Mai Tai Glassware

Steeped in a rich tapestry of history, the cocktail is undeniably a classic in the world of mixology. This iconic libation, characterized by its vibrant flavors and tropical allure, is a true testament to the creative genius of its creator, Victor J. Bergeron, popularly known as “Trader Vic”.

The Mai Tai's story begins in 1944 in Oakland, California, at Trader Vic's eponymous Polynesian-themed restaurant and bar. According to lore, Trader Vic concocted this exotic cocktail for some Tahitian friends who exclaimed “Mai Tai-Roa Ae!”, meaning “Out of this world—the best!”. Thus, the Mai Tai cocktail was born, its name forever echoing its initial acclaim.

The original Mai Tai was a delectable mix of premium aged , fresh lime , orange , rock candy syrup (a simple syrup), and a splash of French orgeat, an almond syrup with a hint of orange flower . It was a cocktail intended to showcase the quality of the rum, not bury it under an avalanche of sugary mixers. This is a far cry from many of the overly sweet and fruit-laden renditions commonly served today. Indeed, the original Mai Tai was a balanced and refreshing drink, embodying the spirit of the tropics in a glass.

But the Mai Tai is not just about its delightful blend of flavors. Presentation plays a significant role in the cocktail's appeal. Traditionally served in a double old-fashioned glass, the Mai Tai is often adorned with a sprig of fresh mint, a slice of lime, and sometimes a cherry or pineapple wedge, embodying a tropical aesthetic that is as pleasing to the eye as the cocktail is to the palate.

In this article, we will delve into the importance of glassware in cocktail presentation, explore various types of Mai Tai glassware, and provide tips on choosing the perfect glass for your Mai Tai. Whether you're a seasoned mixologist or a cocktail enthusiast, this guide will help you elevate your Mai Tai experience to new heights.

mai tai glassware 1689861765

Types of Mai Tai Glassware

When it comes to enjoying a perfectly concocted mai tai cocktail, the type of glassware used can dramatically enhance your overall experience. This section will explore the three most common types of Mai Tai glassware: traditional Mai Tai , highball glasses, and old fashioned glasses.

Traditional Mai Tai Glasses

The classic, or traditional, Mai Tai glass is typically a double old fashioned glass – a short, robust glass with a wide brim. This design is not merely aesthetic; it plays a crucial role in the presentation and enjoyment of the cocktail. The wide brim allows for the full expression of the mai tai garnish and the short structure keeps the cocktail cool, enhancing the flavor profile of the mai tai rum.

Highball Glasses

A favorite, the highball glass is a tall, straight-sided glass that offers an elegant presentation for a mai tai cocktail. It's perfect for layered or those with a significant amount of mix, like a mai tai mix. The height of the glass allows the vibrant colors of the cocktail to shine, creating a visually pleasing experience.

Old Fashioned Glasses

The old fashioned glass, also known as a rocks glass, is a versatile choice for a variety of cocktails, including the mai tai. Its wide brim and thick base make it ideal for cocktails that are served on the rocks, as it can accommodate large ice cubes. An old fashioned glass is perfect for showcasing the rich hues of a classic mai tai recipe, and its sturdy design ensures durability.

Each of these glass types offers a unique way to enjoy a mai tai. Whether you prefer the traditional method, the elegance of a highball glass, or the versatility of an old fashioned glass, the choice of glassware can add an extra layer of enjoyment to your cocktail experience.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Mai Tai Glassware

Choosing the perfect glassware for your Mai Tai cocktails encompasses more than just aesthetics. Several factors, including size and volume, shape and design, and material, significantly influence the overall cocktail experience.

Size and Volume

The size and volume of your glassware can directly impact the taste of your Mai Tai cocktail. A larger glass might cause the cocktail to dilute faster due to the increased ice surface area, while a smaller glass might concentrate the flavors. Therefore, it is crucial to select a glass with a size and volume that optimally balances the cocktail's strength and dilution. Traditional Mai Tai glasses usually hold between 12 to 14 ounces, providing adequate room for the cocktail and ice without leading to excessive dilution.

Shape and Design

The shape and design of the glassware play a pivotal role in enhancing the visual appeal of your Mai Tai. A well-designed glass can showcase the vibrant colors and intricate Mai Tai garnish, elevating the overall presentation of the cocktail. For instance, a traditional Mai Tai glass with its tall and slim design, often with a slight curve, is perfect for showcasing layered drinks. On the other hand, an old fashioned glass, with its wide brim, allows for a broad view of the cocktail, making it ideal for cocktails with detailed garnishes.


The material of your glassware is another significant factor to consider. While glass is the most common material due to its clarity and neutrality, other materials like crystal can add a touch of luxury to your cocktail experience. Crystal glasses often have more intricate designs and refract light more effectively, creating a more visually appealing presentation. However, they can be more fragile and expensive than glass.

Plastic is another option for outdoor or casual settings, but it might not provide the same clarity or feel as glass or crystal. When choosing the material, consider the environment in which you'll be serving the Mai Tai cocktails and balance it with your budget and personal preferences.

In conclusion, selecting the right glassware for your Mai Tai is as much about practicality as it is about aesthetics. By considering the size and volume, shape and design, and material of the glass, you can enhance not only the taste but also the overall presentation of your Mai Tai cocktail. Whether you're serving the classic Mai Tai recipe or experimenting with Mai Tai variations, the right glassware can make all the difference.


Choosing the perfect glassware for your Mai Tai cocktail is a combination of understanding your drink and personal preference. It starts with appreciating the aesthetics and functionality of the glassware and how it influences the overall cocktail experience.

We've covered the various types of Mai Tai glassware, from Traditional Mai Tai Glasses, Highball Glasses, to Old Fashioned Glasses. Each type offers a unique presentation and can subtly influence the taste of your mai tai cocktail.

When selecting your glassware, remember to consider the Size and Volume, Shape and Design, and Material. The perfect glassware should not only look good, but it should also enhance the flavors of your classic mai tai recipe.

Lastly, do not forget to take care of your glassware. Proper cleaning and storage will ensure their longevity and keep them looking pristine for each use.

Call to Action: Start Building Your Collection Now!

Now that you are equipped with this knowledge, it's time to begin your journey in finding the perfect Mai Tai glassware. Whether you decide to purchase from Online Retailers, Specialty Stores, or explore Thrift Shops, the choice is yours.

Remember, the right glass can elevate your mai tai cocktail presentation to new heights, adding an extra layer of sophistication and enjoyment to your cocktail experience. So why wait? Start building your Mai Tai glassware collection today, and take your cocktail experience to the next level!

Photo of author

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.