One day in 1944, Vic "The Trader" Bergeron was hanging around at the service bar in his Oakland restaurant and began talking about creating a new cocktail. With his typical confidence, he declared it would be the finest rum drink in the world.
He grabbed a bottle of seventeen-year-old J. Wray & Nephew Jamaican rum off the shelf. With his hallmark light touch he added freshly squeezed lime, Dutch orange curaçao, a splash of rock candy syrup and a dash of French orgeat. He poured the ingredients over cracked ice and shook it well.
Vic was just about to taste his concoction when his friends from Tahiti, Ham and Carrie Guild, showed up. He invited them to be the first to try the new drink. Everyone took a sip. Vic said nothing. Thereupon Carrie exclaimed, “It’s mai tai! It’s mai tai roa ae!” Tahitian for "out of this world- the best!"
“That’s the name of the drink” Vic declared, “It’s a Mai Tai.”
From its extemporaneous origins to today, the Mai Tai is known the world over for embodying the spirit of the islands; it's paradise in a glass.