This year Trader Vic’s restaurant will be celebrating 70 years of the Mai Tai on Friday 26th September 2014. We are asking all of our guests to join us in a “Toast Around the World” to honor this world-famous cocktail. Starting in Tokyo, we will raise our Mai Tais high and continue the toast at each Trader Vic’s location until we end in California where it all began, the Home of the Original Mai Tai®!
Mai Tai History
If you Google the word “Mai Tai”, you’ll end up with almost 6,870,000 results. The Trader himself could not have predicted the Mai Tai’s worldwide popularity on that fine day in 1944 when he made history by simply creating a concoction for some friends at his Oakland bar. The Mai Tai is everywhere! Even a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes have been called, “Mai Tai”. That will set you back about $895, of course, but we prefer the real thing – sipping an Original Mai Tai® in its original setting, Trader Vic’s.
When you think of a Mai Tai, the iconic Tiki drink, the taste of aloha, Paradise In A Glass®, you assume it must have been invented by some thirsty beachgoer after a warm day on the sands of Hawaii. Beach imagery aside – and yes, you can still envision yourself propped up on a chaise lounge, Mai Tai in hand, relaxing under the tropical sun – the Mai Tai was actually invented in Oakland, California at The Trader’s small restaurant on San Pablo Avenue. The story goes as follows…
“I was at the service bar in my Oakland restaurant. I took down a bottle of 17-year old Jamaican J. Wray Nephew rum, added fresh lime, some Orange Curacao from Holland, a dash of Rock Candy syrup, and a dollop of French Orgeat, for its subtle flavor. A generous amount of shaved ice and a vigorous shaking by hand produced the marriage I was after. Half the lime shell went in for color, I stuck in a branch of fresh mint and gave two of them to Ham and Carrie Guild, friends from Tahiti, who were there that night. Carrie took on sip and said, “Mai Tai – Roa Ae”. In Tahitian this means “Out of this World – The Best”. Well, that was that. I named the drink “Mai Tai” said Mr. Victor J. Bergeron (Founder of Trader Vic’s restaurant).
As Trader Vic’s expanded, so did the popularity of the Mai Tai, reaching Hawaiian shores in 1953 by way of The Matson Steamship Lines when they asked Vic to develop menus for their bars at the Royal Hawaiian, Moana and Surfrider Hotels. When Trader Vic’s became an international brand in the early 1960s, the Mai Tai’s fame spread like wildfire and quickly developed into one of the most ordered drinks throughout the world.
But with the sweet comes the sour. Many imitators popped up attempting to lay claim to Vic’s perfected island creation. Vic was quoted as saying, in his usual gruff manner, “There has been a lot of conversation over the beginning of the Mai Tai, and I want to get the record straight. I originated the Mai Tai, but many others have claimed credit. This aggravates my ulcer completely! Anyone who says I didn’t create the drink is a dirty stinker.”
By 1975, United Airlines began offering Trader Vic’s award-winning cuisine and world-famous Mai Tais in-flight and so becoming one of the first partnerships between an airline and a restaurant. United Airlines began serving Mai Tais again in 2006 and you can still enjoy a Mai Tai on certain flights today.
For more information please contact at;
Trader Vic’s Restaurant at Anantara Bangkok Riverside Resort & Spa
02 476 0022 Ext. 1416