Monkeypod Mai Tai

Jason Vendrell, beverage director/sommelier at Monkeypod Kitchen in Wailea, says, "When we were opening the restaurant, I wanted to do a more classic mai tai, with just one small variation. I was going to incorporate a house-made liliko‘i [passionfruit] syrup, and Chandra Lam [talented mixologist from Southern Wine & Spirits] suggested we make a foam. I think the reason the Monkeypod Mai Tai is so popular is because it is well balanced and refreshingly tart. We also use the best possible ingredients."


tropical mai tai recipeIngredients:

  • 1 oz. Old Lahaina Light Rum
  • 1 oz. Old Lahaina Dark Rum
  • 1/2 oz. macadamia-nut orgeat
  • 1/2 oz. Marie Brizard Orange Curaçao
  • 3/4 oz. fresh lime juice

Honey Liliko‘i Foam

  • 1/2 oz. honey
  • 1 oz. liliko‘i purée
  • 1 oz. simple syrup
  • 1 oz. egg whites
  • 1.5 oz. cold water

Method: Mix foam ingredients well and put in a nitrous-oxide (NO2) infuser* to half capacity. Use 4 charges for a liter-sized infuser. (Or blend ingredients on high speed till foamy.) Add lime juice, orgeat, orange curaçao and Old Lahaina Light Rum to mixing glass. Shake with 1 cup cubed ice about 30 seconds and pour into highball glass. Float dark rum. Top with honey-liliko‘i foam and garnish with pineapple half moon. * Available on Maui at Bargreen Ellingson Restaurant Supplies, 380 Ho‘okahi Street in Wailuku Industrial Park.

Note: Recipe makes enough foam for 4 cocktails. Keeps for a couple of days in canister, refrigerated.


  1. I’ve tried making the foam in a variety of flavors using different purée/syrups (coconut, mango, black cherry, passion fruit, ginger), and I think that the guava was the best with the Mai tai.

  2. Ceci’s pronunciation guide was right. The Japanese word “koi” (carp) IS pronounced as two syllables: KO’I. And for monolingual mainlanders, “Lilly + coy” is plenty close enough.

  3. We got our liliko’e puree on Amazon, reasonable price and tasted good in our Mai Tai. Also we added 1 oz of heavy whipping cream to the infuser and the foam came out thicker.

  4. I went to The Monkeypod on Maui around 5 Pm. I was introduced to their Mai Tai! I’m so sad! It was the best I have ever had bar-none! The absolute Best. The problem: trying to reproduce it in Nacogdoches, Texas! Impossible! On my way back to Maui very soon.

  5. for people who don’t like it so strong, i 1) mix the dark rum and go lighter rather than a float and / or 2) increase the amount of float i put on (or add more after it’s dissapated). I’m not a big lime person but you can add the amount of lime too.

  6. we buy from Old Lahaina rums from Kona Market and have them shipped to the mainland. now that they’ve switched to Kula Rums, i hear that Kula is increasing their presence on the mainland but haven’t had much luck.

  7. Anybody have an idea where to buy the rums or are there more available rums that work as well. Living in the states. Could no find the rums online.

  8. I’ve had no issues making the foam, however, the drink itself using the exact ingredients above tastes way too strong and bitter. It isn’t sweet enough to cut the alcohol taste. Anyone else have this issue or can suggest a solution? The macadamia nut orgeat Im using is Hamakua Coast Premium from Hawaii.

  9. Thanks for this! Really helped! When you mix the ingredients for the foam before you put it in the dispenser, how much do you mix them before putting them in? Im assuming with an electric hand mixer? Thanks!

  10. I got Lilikoi Wai – Passion Fruit Puree online through Amazon. $18, don’t know if that is expensive or not, but I wanted it. Hope this helps!

  11. Monkeypod uses a 1L whipped cream dispenser to the fill/max line with 4x N2O cartridges.

    I am using a .5L/1 Pint whipped cream dispenser to the fill/max line with 2x N2O cartridges. Give it a few good shakes.

    For the .5L/1 Pint dispenser, use 4x foam ingredients, above, and fill to max line with 2 cups of mix.

    Enjoy lots of Monkeypod perfect foam!

    …Monkeypod changed their Mai Tai recipe, they’re now using kula silver and dark rum, and bols orange curaçao

  12. The best way using a mixer is to whip the whites to a slightly thicker consistency than you want, then whip in the other ingredients.

  13. We’ve had great success using passion fruit purée and regular orgeat. ISI whipper works great. Just make sure you look at the size of the canister. We used four charges for a half liter and it got stuck (and borderline dangerous)

    Major hit with everybody I’ve made it for!

  14. Not sure of you ever found it, but a restaurant supply store like cash & carry is probably your best bet on the mainland. Maybe at some expensive grocery stores, or even make it from scratch from passion fruit.

  15. I’ve used both a ICO Whipped Cream Dispenser with N20 which comes out with a smoother cream like texture, and a handheld Powerlik Milk Frother. Both taste the same. The Milk Frother produced a foamier and stiffer texture in my opinion. Hope this helps!

  16. I am not able to get the foam to whip. I’ve tried in the iSi and with a mixer. Neither method will cause it to whip. Any tips?? I’m thinking of using whipping cream instead but really want the creamier results from egg whites instead of actual whip cream…

  17. Are Lilikoi and passion fruit the same thing?

    Yellow Passion Fruit, a.k.a. Passiflora edulis var. flavicarpa, is indeed the same thing as lilikoi. Lilikoi, is the Hawaiian word for passionfruit and it is pronounced like combining the girl’s name Lilly with those big Japanese goldfish, Koi.Aug 31, 2019

  18. We also just returned from Maui and we were belly up at Monkeypod as we were 100 feet away in our hotel. Definately the best Mai Tai ever. The foam is the key. Delish and we can’t wait to see if we can recreate this beautiful drink!!!!!

  19. Angela, where did you read not to have 3? Just curious because I did on my last night and told my husband never again (on the last night haha!) I was obsessed with these while in Maui. In fact I have a separate savings account just for these next year!

  20. These are egg whites. Very important that there is absolutely NO grease/fat residue on anything you are using to whip your whites! Or they won’t whip. If you read up on meringue making it will explain the science behind it!

  21. Any of you have tips on making the orgeat?
    I live in Norway, have been drinking the Monkey Pod Mai Tai for 11 years straight on vacation. Really want to reproduce this at home the rest of the year, but need tips on the orgeat!
    It’s true, DON’T order the 3rd one! Make sure you have a sober significant other to follow you around the whole night if you do!

  22. OK my favorite drink of all time (and the 4th is the one I DON’T REMEMBER drinking). BUT…Liliko‘i purée…anyone have a line / link on some? I found a decent passion fruit puree to use but looking to be a bit more authentic. Also which Macadamia nut Orgeat did you use…or did you make your own?

  23. Just came back from Aulani – Went to Monkeypod multiple times – Bad ass mai tai. Getting the infuser now to make these at home. Def a must have.

  24. THANK YOU!!! I just moved from Kailua, a frequent visitor to Moku Kitchen. Clearly the best Mai Tai in ANY of the 50 states. Now that i’m in Colorado Springs, this is a frequent request from friends. I’ll admit, finding the lilikoi purée was not the easiest but once i had that, this was a done deal! If you are taking to a party, make the purée early, put it in fridge, ok to store in foamer canister. I also make the majority of the cocktail early, leaving out the lime juice to shake at the party and the rum to float as i pour the drink. Quite a hit!!

  25. Absolutely the BEST MAI TAI on ANY of the Hawaiian Islands!!! #808Living
    I’ve lived on Big Island, Kauai, and now Maui….Monkeypod has the Mai Tai down to a science……It’s not a cocktail, it’s a mixologists dream! That drink is what keeps me coming back!!!!!!

  26. Just had my first Monkey Pod mai tai. Probably can’t duplicate it in California so I’ll just have to come back!


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