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Yes, Your 'Tropical' Mai Tai Was Invented Here in Oakland

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The Mai Tai may have a tropical sounding name, but it's origins are right here in the Bay Area.  (Courtesy of Trader Vics.)

You’re sitting on the beach, sand between your toes, sunglasses on. What else could make this picture complete? How about a Mai Tai?

This rum cocktail makes many of us think of the tropics.

“I always thought the Mai Tai came from Hawaii,” says Bay Curious listener Terese O’Malley from Oakland. “But then I noticed a few tiki bars in the Oakland area claiming the invention of the Mai Tai. I thought, ‘could this be real? Or is this a myth?”

She asked Bay Curious to get to the bottom of it. And so … we did!

Read the full web version of this episode: An Island Drink With California Roots: The Mai Tai Turns 75


This story is part of our series Golden State Plate, produced in collaboration with The California Report Magazine.

Be sure to catch our other episodes about the Bay Area’s cocktail creations:

Reported by Suzie Racho.

Bay Curious is made by Olivia Allen-Price, Jessica Placzek, Robert Speight, Paul Lancour and Ryan Levi. Additional support from Julie Caine, Suzie Racho, Victoria Mauleon, Ceil Mueller, Sasha Khokha, Ethan Lindsey, Pat Yollin and David Weir.

Theme music by Pat Mesiti-Miller.

Ask us a question or sign up for our Bay Curious newsletter.

Follow Olivia Allen-Price on Twitter @oallenprice.

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