Here's How to Make a Mai Tai, the Ultimate Summer Cocktail

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In our book, the Mai Tai is not just a terrific Tiki drink, but also one of the great classic cocktails of all time. Sure, it's more seasonal than, say, a Martini or a Manhattan—you’d feel odd whipping up a Mai Tai in the deep freeze of February—but in terms of balance, flavor, and complexity, it can go toe-to-toe with those classics, as far as we’re concerned.

Some keys to getting it right: Pick rums that will contrast each other well (we go with Jamaican rum Smith & Cross paired with Rhum JM Blanc from Martinique—both easy to find and packed with complex flavors); use a quality orgeat (or make your own); and don’t forget the mint garnish! It adds excellent aroma to each sip.

Here’s the complete recipe:

Ingredients |

  • 1 oz Jamaican rum
  • 1 oz rhum agricole
  • .75 oz fresh lime juice
  • .5 oz orange curaçao
  • .5 oz orgeat
  • Mint sprig, for garnish
  • Lime wedge, for garnish
Method |
  • Add both kinds of rum, lime juice, curaçao, and orgeat to a shaker tin filled with ice.
  • Shake to combine and chill.
  • Strain over crushed ice in a Rocks glass.
  • Garnish with a large mint sprig and a lime wedge.

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