You don’t need an excuse to enjoy a refreshing cocktail, you deserve it! But just in case you still feel the need to justify it, here are some perfectly valid excuses: It’s Spring Break! You survived 2020! This one is full of fruit, making it a Super Food! And of course there’s always the classic standard-it’s five o’clock somewhere! Even the name Mai Tai conjures images of tropical breezes, warm sunshine, and cute pool boys fetching you fruity cocktails. Throw in the exotic island taste of lychees, and my Lychee Mai Tai is practically a vacation in a glass.
The original Mai Tai (which loosely translates to-the best!) was so popular when it was introduced in the 1940’s that it is said to have depleted the world’s rum supply. My version captures that boozy spirit, and the addition of lychees transforms this into a 5 star beach resort worthy cocktail. Be forewarned, this packs a punch!
If you’ve never tried lychees before, you are in for a treat. A little sweet and a little tart, they lend tropical flavor and a slushy texture to this Mai Tai. Luckily I have access to fresh ones grown here in South Florida, but canned ones are so easy to find year round, and also provide the syrup to sweeten this drink.
For the booze, I use both dark and light rum. I also use amaretto-Mai Tai’s traditionally have a creamy almondy flavor, as well as Cointreau. You can use different, less expensive, orange liquors. Just make sure it isn’t an orange brandy blend like Grand Marnier; we want just the sweet orange flavor of Cointreau.
Once all the booze has been added, it’s time for a squeeze of fresh lime juice. I love my citrus squeezer that allows me to juice fresh citrus directly into a glass without worrying about seeds.
Now that your Lychee Mai Tai is shaken, frothy, and chilled, the only thing left to do is strain it into a glass and add some festive garnishes. In a nod to tradition, I like to spear a lychee, add a mint sprig, and float a lime shell, which is supposed to symbolize a floating island. Colorful umbrellas would be at home here too. We’re going for an island, spring break vibe.
And now you are ready to sip and savor your delicious beach cocktail, no sunscreen required. Playing mixologist for a crowd? I give you directions to make a large batch of Lychee Mai Tais in the notes of the recipe. That way there’s some for you, some for your friends, and some for the cute pool boy…
Love Asian inspired cocktails? Try these Ginger Saketinis!
If you make these, please take a moment to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. And show off your amazing mai tai photos by tagging us on insta @funkyasiankitchen.
- 1 oz each dark rum and white rum
- ½ oz each amaretto and cointreau (or orange flavored liqueur like triple sec or orange curacao)
- 3 fl oz lychee juice (from 1 can of lychee fruit)
- 5 pcs lychee fruit (from 1 can of lychee fruit)
- ½ lime
- Handful of ice
- 1 tablespoon simple syrup (optional if you like sweeter drinks)
- Mint for garnish
- Festive toothpicks for garnish
- Combine the lychee fruit and lychee juice in a shaker. Use an immersion blender and blend the lychees so the mixture is smooth (you can also use a regular blender).
- Add the two rums, cointreau, and amaretto. Squeeze the lime into the shaker, saving the squeezed lime for garnish.
- Add the ice and then making sure the top is secure, shake the mixture for a couple of seconds until the drink is cold and frothy. Taste the drink and add a tablespoon of simple syrup if you think it needs it.
- Pour the Mai Tai into a glass. Garnish with a sprig of mint, and then skewer a lychee and the lime shell and float it in the glass next to the mint. Serve immediately.
* To make simple syrup put 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup sugar in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Let cool to room temperature before using. You can make it ahead and store any leftovers as simple syrup lasts forever in the fridge.
*If you’re expecting a crowd, you can also make this ahead of time and store in the fridge in a pitcher:
- 3 cans of lychees
- 9 oz dark rum
- 9 oz white rum
- 4 ½ oz each cointreau and amaretto
- 4 ½ limes, plus extra wedges for garnish
- ½ cup simple syrup (optional for sweeter drinks)
- Mint for garnish
- Festive toothpicks
- Squeeze the limes and set aside.
- Open the cans of lychees and save 10 lychees for garnish. Then put the rest of the lychees with the juice into a blender. Blend for 1 minute until smooth.
- Pour the pureed lychees into a large pitcher and add the lime juice, dark rum, white rum, cointreau, amaretto, and simple syrup (if using).
- Mix the ingredients with a large spoon. Refrigerate until ready to drink.
- You can pour the drinks over ice or serve straight from the fridge. Give the contents a quick stir before pouring.
- Garnish the drinks with a lime wedge, some mint, and extra lychees.
Keywords: drinkies, cocktail, tropical drinks, mai tai, lychee, lychee mai tai