Makes approximately 1.5 liters

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For the tea:

3 cinnamon sticks

5 star anise pods

2 teaspoons whole cloves

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground allspice

1 17-ounce can coconut water (e.g. Vita Coco)

For the coquito:

1 can coconut milk

1 can cream of coconut (e.g. Coco Lopez or Goya)

1 can evaporated milk

1 can condensed milk

White rum, to taste (optional: dark rum)

3 tablespoons spice tea (recipe above)

Whole cinnamon and nutmeg, for grating

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For the tea: In a small saucepan over high heat, combine spices and coconut water. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer 15-20 minutes, until liquid has reduced by about half. Once reduced, remove saucepan from heat, allowing it to cool; strain out spices and set aside.

For the coquito: In a blender, combine coconut milk, cream of coconut, evaporated milk, and condensed milk with a handful of ice cubes and rum to taste. (Not sure how much rum to add? Start conservatively and work your way up, tasting along the way.)

Add 3 tablespoons of the concentrated spice tea, plus some freshly grated cinnamon and nutmeg, and blend until smooth. Taste frequently along the way and adjust spice and alcohol levels to your liking.

Once you're satisfied, funnel the coquito into a plastic or glass bottle with a tight cap or stopper and refrigerate. Allow it to chill for a minimum of 24 hours before serving.

Make sure you shake it well before serving to reincorporate the coconut solids that may have separated during refrigeration.EndText