In honor of the Midwest’s frigid February, Ohio-based blogger Doug Winship is pulling out all the stops with an onslaught of exotic drink recipes and features on anything and everything in today’s wacky world of Tiki. So great is this tidal wave of rum-soaked madness, it’s taken over the Feb. 20 edition of Mixology Monday, the (sometimes) monthly online cocktail party that rounds up bloggers to post in harmony on a single theme.
All of this did not go unnoticed at The Atomic Grog. We’re joining today’s party with a few tips on how to turn that most Tiki of all fruits into a viable drinking vessel. And, of course, we’re including a few recipes for the perfect drinks to fill the void. Now, pass that pineapple!
Step 1: Assemble your tools
Unlike the daunting coconut, which requires a machete and steel nerves to chop open and fashion into a Tiki drink, the pineapple is quite simple and will not put you at risk of losing a limb. It's easy to find a cheap pineapple slicer that removes the core and retains the juice in the pineapple, keeping the shell intact. The only other tools required are a cutting board, and paring and chef’s knives.
Step 2: Behead the pineapple
Slice off the stem, plus an inch or two of the top of the fruit, with the chef’s knife. This will become a fancy removable top for the drink.
Step 3: Minor surgery on the top
Use the paring knife to cut a small “V” on the lip of the pineapple top for a straw to fit.
Step 4: Remove the guts
Follow the instructions on the pineapple slicer to remove the core. It usually requires a screw-like device that you simply twist until it digs deep into the core, then pull straight out to remove the rings of fruit.
Step 5: Clean out the core
Use the paring knife to remove any fruit the slicer leaves behind. Typically there will be a round center piece. You can also salvage the juice, a surprisingly small amount (around 3 ounces).
Step 6: Voila, one pineapple drinking vessel
My favorite Tiki cocktails served in pineapples are available at two iconic Florida bars. The Pina Passion at The Mai-Kai in Fort Lauderdale and the Lapu Lapu at the Tambu Lounge in Walt Disney World’s Polynesian Resort will both be explored in depth in future features on this blog. For the purposes of this exercise, we turn to our vast library of Tiki cocktail tomes from Jeff “Beachbum” Berry.
Berry’s dogged research uncovered such mid-century classics as the Boo Loo (Grog Log and Remixed), Pina Paradise (Sippin’ Safari), and Pi-Yi (Intoxica). But our favorite might be this simple ditty from Intoxica …
(From the Hawaiian Room in the Hotel Lexington, New York City)
* 4 ounces unsweetened pineapple juice
* 1 ounce fresh lime juice
* 1 ounce peach brandy
* 1 1/2 ounces Demerara rum
* 1 ounce light Puerto Rican rum
* 1 teaspoon sugar
Dissolve sugar in lime juice, then shake everything with a scoop of crushed ice. Pour into a hollowed-out pineapple. Add ice cubes to fill.
Also highly recommended is this little-known Don the Beachcomber gem, which you can find in Hawai’i – Tropical Rum Drinks & Cuisine, the lavishly illustrated book penned by the Tiki cocktail pioneer Donn Beach’s widow, Phoebe …
* 1 1/4 ounces Appleton Special gold Jamaican rum
* 1/2 ounce Lemon Hart 151 Demerara rum
* 1/4 ounce Southern Comfort
* 1/4 ounce triple sec
* 2 ounces fresh pineapple juice
* 1 teaspoon sugar
* 3 chunks fresh pineapple
* 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
Pour into a blender with 1 cup shaved ice. Blend to a creamy texture and pour into a scooped-out pineapple and serve with straws.
One caveat on these cocktails, which pose a danger beyond the healthy dose of rums and liquors: If you don’t have access to extra long straws, beware the pointy spikes on the top. It may look cool, but it’s not worth losing an eye. Just take the safe route and remove the top before imbibing. We sure don’t want to encourage any casualties with nine more days of Tiki Month still to come.