Last Thursday I got an email from a girlfriend asking me if I would make mai tais for a party on Friday night. Considering my profession, and the fact that I take pleasure in crafting specialty cocktails for my friends and family to enjoy, this is not an uncommon request. However, her email was more like a quickfire challenge because it wasn't just any old party, it was her rehearsal dinner and 78 people had RSVPed — that's a lot of mai tais. After reading the recipe for Trader Vic's classic mai tai, I started to get nervous. Each cocktail requires 3/4 ounce of freshly squeezed lime juice. If I made enough for everyone to have two drinks (156 cocktails) I would need a lot of limes. It was during this moment of panic that I made an executive decision.
As much as I love using fresh ingredients, premium alcohol, and homemade mixers, in this case, there simply wasn't time. Thus, I took some help from the store. The resulting four gallons of mai tai wasn't the most authentic tiki drink, but it tasted great and did the job at the party! To check out the massive recipe, that's ideal for large, college-style parties, read more.
2 cups dark rum
1 cup light rum
1 cup triple sec
3 1/2 cups no-pulp orange juice
3 1/2 cups pineapple juice
2 cups sweet n' sour mix
1/2 cup grenadine
Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher or cooler. Stir to mix. Serve over ice.
Makes about 24 drinks (I made four batches for the rehearsal dinner).