Make The King Of Tiki Drinks At Home.

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The mai tai is the quintessential tiki drink. The classic Trader Vic’s version, upon which this recipe is based, is complex, sophisticated, and a far cry from the overly sweet, cherry-red pre-mix variants that lesser establishments fob off on their customers.

It is relatively simple: It starts with rum blended with those two building blocks of most outstanding rum drinks, lime and sugar. To this is added curaçao (an orange-flavored liqueur) and orgeat (pronounced or-ZHA), an almond-flavored syrup now often found in upscale coffee shops. As in any good cocktail, the quality of the spirit should not be underestimated: Better rums make a better mai tai. Don’t stint.

Mix in a cocktail shaker with ice:

1 ounce heavy rum

1 ounce medium-bodied rum

3/4 ounce fresh lime juice

1/4 ounce simple syrup

3/4 ounce curaçao

1/4 ounce orgeat

Strain into tumbler half-filled with crushed ice. Garnish with fruit and mint.

—W.C.