Episode 2: Making a Manchester Mai Tai

The Mai Tai, in short, is a proper cocktail. Made to be easy to drink and enjoyable, it is widely considered the iconic Tiki cocktail, but like most classic drinks there is controversy over it's origins. 

In 1943, Victor Jules, Bergeron, also know as Trader Vic, opened hi first restaurant in Oakland. Serving his now famous Polynesian food with a mix of Chinese, French and American dishes cooked in wood-fired ovens. But he is best know for the rum based cocktails he created. 

The story goes that one evening, in 1944, he tested a new drink on two friends from Tahiti. After the first sip, one of those friends, Carrie Guild, tasted it and cried out: "Maita'i roa ae!" (literally "very good!", figuratively "Out of this world! The best!")—hence the name.

Others, notably Ernest Raymond Beaumont-Gannt, the then owner of Don the Beachomber's, has also laid claim to the creation of this drink. Famously, in his own Bartender's Guide, Vic declared "Anybody who says I didn't create this drink is a dirty stinker."

Such was the success of the Mai Tai in Vic's growing chain of restaurants that he started marketing bottled Mai Tai mix. In 1970, he sued Don for releasing a rival Don the Beachcomber's Mai Tai mix, with a label claiming to be the drinks originator. 

In fact, Vic's Helluva Man's Cookbook declares, "We originated this drink; we made the first Mai Tai: we named the drink. A lot of bastards have copied it and copyrighted it and claimed it or their own. I hope they get the pox. They're a bunch of lousy bastards for copying my drink..."

On that note, here's he we do it!

Mai Tai

The Mai Tai is basically a Daiquiri based on rum with orange curaçao liqueur and orgeat syrup contributing to it's flavour and sweetness. 

  • 40ml Manchester Still Faradays Proof Rum
  • 20ml Orange Curaçao Triple sec
  • 30ml Freshly squeezed lime
  • 10ml Almond (Orgeat) syrup
  • 10ml Sugar Syrup


Put all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker full of ice. Shake vigorously to chill and mix all ingredients.


Strain in to a glass filled with crushed ice or if your doing this at home over ice cubes. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint, a wedge of lime, and maybe cocktail cherry too. 



Manchester Mai Tai

A Mancunian twist uses a Mancunian flavour; Vimto, which was created in 1908 at Granby Row, in the center of Manchester (just a few roads from our own distillery), by (John) Noel Nichols of Blackburn. 

Anyone who has had a nigh in Manchester will be familiar with a Cheeky Vimto. Here is how to make a Mancunian Mai Tai:

  • 40ml Manchester Still Daltons Element spiced Rum 
  • 20ml Orange curacao/Triple sec
  • 30ml Freshly squeezed lime
  • 10ml Vimto syrup
Put all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker full of ice. Shake vigorously to chill and mix all ingredients.

    A Manchester twist on a classic.