The Mixology Monday Challenge this month is about coconuts, right in the footsteps of a recent pineapple challenge. There is something delicious about a proper Piña Colada made with fresh ingredients that I could not resist. For the coconut element, using fresh coconut water instead of cream preserves the coconut flavor but cut downs considerably on the sweetness, which is a good thing. There is no need to compensate by adding sugar – pineapple is plenty sweet on its own. My pineapple had the right balance of sweetness and acidity and was fine as is, but if it’s very sweet, adding a squeeze of lime juice can help make flavors pop.
Piña Colada | to a blender add | large piece fresh pineapple | 1 oz white rhum agricole | 1 oz fresh coconut water | 1/2 cup crushed ice | blend for about a minute | add more crushed ice as necessary and blend some more | serve in Collins glass with straw and umbrella
For the rhum, it cannot hurt to use a super flavorful rhum agricole. I went with La Favorite white, which happens to have coconut notes in addition to a very grassy nose. The resulting drink has the flavor profile of a typical Piña Colada, without the sickly sticky sweetness. I have to credit Jason Wilson for the idea of using agricole and coconut water in a Piña Colada, as seen in his excellent book Boozehound.
For the second drink, I revisited a creation by David Wondrich and Jim Meehan from the PDT Cocktail Book – the Chien Chaud (i.e., Hot Dog) that also combines coconut water with rhum agricole. They were inspired to make this drink during a trip in Martinique and passing a hot dog stand.
What is remarkable about it is that it tastes remarkably similar to a Ti’ Punch, in a format that is a little more approachable. I used rhum Neisson white which has coconut undertones like La Favorite, while being a bit more subdued. The coconut water and yellow Chartreuse both act as beautiful accents to the fresh cane flavor and herbal notes of the rhum. The bitters add a bit of depth and spice. The drink is refreshing, flavorful and still plenty punchy.
Chien Chaud (PDT) | to a shaker add | 2 oz fresh coconut water | 1.5 oz white rhum agricole | 0.25 oz yellow chartreuse | 2 dashes Angostura bitters | shake with ice | strain onto fresh ice | lime wheel
Thank you Fred for being the ringleader of this wonderful monthly cocktail meetup, and for JFL of Rated R Cocktails for hosting this month’s challenge.