The Story Behind The Five-Spiced Mai Tai

The classic Mai Tai always makes me feel like I’m on a beach somewhere. This variation has a tropical twist, made with a five-spice-infused syrup that combines Szechuan pepper, star anise, cinnamon, cloves, and a little fennel seed.

I also use some orange juice in this concoction to add sweetness. I balance it with aromatic bitters on top, in place of dark rum.


  • 1 ½ ounces white rum
  • ½ ounce lime juice
  • ½ ounce orange juice
  • ½ ounce triple sec
  • ½ ounce five-spice syrup
  • ½ ounce aromatic bitters


  1. Combine all ingredients except bitters in a cocktail shaker with ice.
  2. Shake to chill and combine.
  3. Strain over crushed ice into a Highball glass.
  4. Float aromatic bitters on top
  5. Garnish with star anise and rosemary.
  6. Toast with an open flame.

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Updated: 2022-03-07

The Spiced Mai Tai Recipe