MxMo Pineapple Challenge: the Riviera and the 1956 Zombie

This month, the Mixology Monday Challenge is hosted by Thiago of the Bartending Notes blog, and the theme is Pineapple. Of course one option is to go with pineapple juice as the pineapple component, and we will explore that option with the second cocktail. But unless making fresh juice from scratch, I often feel that the quality of pineapple juice is a bit left to be desired. Infusing the base spirit with pineapple seems like an excellent solution to get a fresh pineapple flavor. Typically pineapple is paired with rum which seems to emphasize its sweetness. But why not highlight the herbaceous nature of pineapple instead, and pair it with gin. So I decided to make a pineapple infusion with Beefeater London dry gin.

After 48 hours, I tasted the gin and it was intensely flavored. It is the main component of Toby Maloney’s creation, the Riviera cocktail. The other elements are Campari for a touch of bitter orange, maraschino liqueur for sweetness and funk, and orange bitters to round everything off. An egg white creates texture.

The Riviera (Toby Moloney)

Riviera Cocktail (adapted from Toby Maloney) | 1 oz pineapple-infused gin (Beefeater) | 3/4 oz lemon juice | 1/2 oz (short) maraschino | 1/4 oz Campari | 1/4 oz simple syrup | egg white | dry shake | shake with ice | strain into chilled coupe | mint leaf and orange bitters garnish (2 dashes Fee’s, 1 dash Regan’s)


In the glass, the Riviera looks like the ultimate girly drink with its incredible cotton-candy color and cloud of egg foam. It evokes a strawberry smoothie because of its texture and color. A guilty pleasure. What I love about it is that it is a grown-up drink despite appearances.  The flavor is very delicate and complex, floral and herbal. It reminds me of the Juliet and Romeo, another one of Toby’s gin-based creations. It’s the kind of drink people may order based on looks alone, but it is so much more. It would make an excellent introduction to Campari for bitter-timid cocktail enthusiasts.

Pineapple-infused gin

For my second cocktail, I used the challenge as an excuse to explore one of the many Zombie variations that Jeff Berry thoroughly researched and documented. The version I make regularly is Don the Beachcomber’s 1934 masterpiece which actually does not contain any pineapple. In its 1956 iteration, pineapple juice and maraschino liqueur take the place of the cinnamon syrup and some of the falernum. The resulting cocktail is a little more straightforward and less spice-heavy than the 1934 version. It tastes like something you would enjoy at Waikiki beach while watching the sunset; it’s tropical and multi-layered, and still incredibly strong with its three-rum combination.

1956 Zombie

1956 Zombie (Don the Beachcomber via Jeff Berry) | to a mixing glass add | 1.25 oz  gold Puerto Rican rum (Plantation 5) | 1 oz dark Jamaican rum (Appleton 12) | 1 oz 151 rum (Lemonhart) | 3/4 oz lime juice | 1/2 oz grapefruit juice | 1.5 oz pineapple juice | 1/4 oz falernum (homemade) | 3/4 oz maraschino liqueur | 1 dash grenadine | 2 dashes Angostura bitters | 6 drops absinthe (St. George) | shake with ice | strain onto fresh crushed ice in a large tiki mug



Thanks to Thiago for hosting the MxMo this month and challenging me to explore an ingredient I rarely use. And thanks to Fred for keeping MxMo alive and well.



  • Here is a video of Toby Maloney himself making a Riviera cocktail.

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