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  • Writer's pictureJarnard Sutton

Behind the Stick | How to make the West Side Mai Tai from West Coast Tavern

West Side Mai Tai


Photo credit Jarnard Sutton

Appleton rum, Gosling's rum, Orjeat, lime juice and garnished with an orange zest and Luxardo cherry.

  • .50 oz. lime juice

  • .25 oz. orjeat

  • .25 oz. Triple Sec

  • 1.50 oz. Ron Zacapa rum

  • Floating Grosling's rum

Garnishes: Orange zest and Luxardo cherry

What’s the origin of the West Side Mai Tai?

The West Side Mai Tai is a variation of the original 1944 Trader Vics Mai Tai. The word "mai tai" is a tahitian colloquialism that roughly translates to the english word "awesome." How would you describe the taste to someone who hasn’t had this before?

The taste of our mai tai is refreshing with almond notes, slight molasses and allspice notes to it. It isn't too sweet or too tart and it has a very "sunny" feeling to it. One of our staff favorites on the menu! What would be the key component in this drink?

We use Orgeat, which is an almond sweetner and I think it gives our mai tai an unique and smooth sweetness that isn't too overpowering. But the key component of this drink is rum, but, the strongest flavor is the orgeat. What reactions do you get from customers when they try this cocktail for the first time?

They usually order a second and then a third! The mai tai is really tasty and easy to drink. It's a perfect drink for the spring time!

Watch as the lead bartender of West Coast Tavern, Cameron Holloway, makes this refreshing mai tai, West Side Mai Tai.

What are some good dishes to pair this drink with?

This drink pairs well with savory items such as pork, bacon, dates and salty cheeses. I love pairing this drink with our Albacore Tostadas or our Green Apple and Walnut salad with Shrimp. Or our customer favorite Bacon Wrapped Nut-Stuffed Dates. Or the Albacore Tuna BLT. All good things!!

About Cameron Holloway

Photo credit Jarnard Sutton

Do you like working at West Coast Tavern?

Like? I LOVE! It really is the greatest bar I've had the privilege of working behind since I've been in this industry. It's the people I work for, the friends I work with and the rad customers and locals who frequent our bar and restaurant daily. And having The Observatory in full swing with shows four ot six times a week ... It's the whole package.

How long have you been bartending?

I've been in this industry since the minute I turned 21 and was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to jump behind the bar just a year-or-so later.

What are some pros and cons to bartending?

I don't personally see any cons. Bartending is fun, social and I'm on my feet and moving. I couldn't ask for a better gig. I have fun every single day I'm at work and there's something to be said for that.

What's the most complicated drink you had to make?

I don't know about complicated, but annoying, yes. The Ramos Gin Fizz is pretty time consuming. Oh, and anything blended!

Have you ever had to cut some one off from drinking?

Oh, Absolutely! That's part of being a bartender. It's our job to be responsible and when others have had a little too much fun, its up to us to reel it in a little bit. My personal favorite is to have a water party at my well. Everyone has to drink a whole glass of water to be a part of it.

Are you planning on creating any new cocktails in the future?

Of course! At West Coast Tavern, we're always changing and reinventing new and exciting drinks for each season while still keeping our most popular staples on the menu. We'll be breaking out some new drinks for the spring time soon, so you'll have to come in and check them out in a few weeks!

West Coast Tavern 2895 University Ave., North Park. (619) 295-1688 or

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