Despite having a great love of fruit in just about any form (raw, juiced, canned, frozen, sometimes, depending on the fruit, cooked), particularly exotic fruit, it was not until last year that I tasted the delight of the simple combination of coconut and pineapple juice mixed together. And I fell in love. The vague memory from childhood of an artificial, soft drink concoction going by the euphemistic name of piña colada had not prepared me at all for what this drink could taste like when made with real juice, and when I made that discovery it was only social pressure and not wanting to disgrace myself too much in front of a room mostly full of strangers, as well as an awareness that the inclusion of coconut probably meant that it had about four times as many calories as most other drinks, that prevented me from downing too many glasses. They were of the non-alcoholic variety so that didn’t have to factor into my calculation of the maximum number of glasses I could drink whilst still maintaining a semblance of non-greedy dignity. I don’t really know why it took me over six months to make my own version – most likely the fact that winter banished all thoughts of cold drinks from my mind, whilst the appearance of a sunny spring in the last month is having the opposite effect on me. In an ideal world, I would know something about mixology (like whether this should be shaken, stirred or something else) prior to sharing a cocktail recipe, and I should probably also include ice (which I don’t like as I hate tooth-freeze from drinks) in the recipe. So with apologies to any experts who may read this, here is my make-with-what-I-have-at-home version (including limited knowledge of how to make cocktails), without ice (but feel free to chuck some in with the pineapple juice), and a primary concern with the fact that I’m not really sure I like the word mocktail (which this will be if you ignore step 3 below and don’t add the rum). This makes between about 4 and 6 drinks, depending on the size of the glass you use when serving.
What you’ll need:
250 ml carton coconut cream
1 litre pineapple juice
White rum (optional if you want to turn this from a mocktail into a cocktail)
What to do:
1. Tip the coconut cream into a large jug.
2. Add the pineapple juice to the jug with the coconut cream and whisk together. If the coconut cream has separated, add the pineapple juice little by little, whisking slowly to bring the coconut milk back together. If you add the pineapple juice all in one go, it may look like the whole mixture has separated, but fear not and whisk on – all will come right. The separation looks particularly bad in my photo below because the coconut cream had separated, but I did not slowly mix in the pineapple juice as I should have done (and did do the next time I made this, but unfortunately did not get any photos…).
3. If you’re going for the cocktail rather than the mocktail, fill the coconut cream carton to between 1/4 and 1/2 full with white rum (as you may guess if you read this blog regularly, I’m much more into saving on washing up than accurate measurements) and whisk the rum with the coconut cream and pineapple juice in the jug.
4. Pour into a glass, decorate with a piece of pineapple, if you have one (which I did), add a straw or two to drink from, if you have them (which I did not), and go sit outside and enjoy a moment in the sunshine with a good book (or share with friends and/or your spouse, if you have to…).