This weekend I felt creative and decided to tackle a couple of cocktail projects. In quarantine, I’ve been working my way through recipes and techniques in Death & Co’s two cocktail books. Since they are written by professional bartenders, I have challenged myself to try new things each week. My chemistry degree is handy for conversions, but not so much for technique. Since my husband went to the store for our twice-a-month shopping trip, we had some new ingredients in the house. As I surveyed the books and our house, I decided to make the most of a 5.5 pound pineapple and create some pineapple cocktail recipes. It was an entertaining addition to my time at home.
Figuring out what to do with a pineapple
There are literally hundreds of things you can do with pineapples. From pancakes to sorbets to jam, the list is endless. Since, I had five pounds of pineapple, I figured I could get at least two projects accomplished. One thing that’s been hard about not having people over is that we need to get through whatever I make. Since I normally make a new cocktail every day, for fun, I want to find things that are versatile. I recently made a fresh strawberry syrup and used it in at least five different cocktails. So, I looked through my books, figured out what to do, and got to work. I picked one easy recipe and one that seemed more advanced.
Experiment 1: Pineapple-Infused Rum
I started with the easy recipe. The hardest part was deciding which rum to infuse. I landed on the aged, Cuban rum because it seemed like the best option for multiple drink recipes I had in mind. The process to make the infusion is very simple and starts with skinning and cutting up the pineapple. Since I was planning for two recipes, I started with the one that required the least amount of fruit. I cut the fruit into one-inch squares and measured out two and a half cups.
Luckily, I have two friends with the 850mL Crew Bottles that are perfect for projects like this. I picked them up from their front porches and got to work. (If you need any bottles for your cocktail or cooking projects, you can use COCKTAILS-AWAY for 10% off your order.) I added in the fruit first and then added 400mL of Havana Club 7 Year. The rum is full flavored and rich. Since pineapple has a strong flavor of its own, my hope is that it can handle more flavor without masking the rum.
The infusion takes five days. So, I labeled the bottle with washi tape and put the bottle in the fridge. If you’re making this, you need to shake the bottle once a day, or stir if you have in a different container.
Pineapple Cocktail Recipe #1: Pineapple Mojito
This drink is as easy to make as the pineapple infusion. It’s light and refreshing. The perfect sipper for the summer or beach day.
- 2 oz pineapple-infused dark rum
- 1 oz lime juice
- 0.75 oz simple syrup
- 10 leaves fresh mint
- Add all ingredients to a shaker.
- Muddle mint leaves well with a muddler.
- Add ice and shake.
- Single strain into a glass with ice and garnish with mint sprig.
Experiment #2: Grilled Pineapple Syrup
Since we have a gas grill, and the grilled pineapple syrup recipe calls for wood smoke, my project nearly got derailed when I discovered we’d given away our smoking wood chips. Luckily, we’ve been planning to have a fire in our still-unused fire pit, so my husband had bought a bundle of wood. We found the smallest log, wrapped three sides in tinfoil, and put it on the gas burner. It caught fire pretty fast and I put the pineapple on the top grate. The recipe called for lightly smoked fruit, so I checked it every three minutes. Twelve minutes seemed to do the trick.
After cooling, I cut the pineapple into strips that would fit into my juicer for juicing. The juice came out a nicely singed gray and weighed a little under 600g. Since the recipe is just 1:1 juice to cane sugar with a little bit of citric acid, I used all of it and adjusted the sugar and acid accordingly. You add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. I just tasted for texture.
I made a huge mess filtering the mixture through six layers of ultra fine cheesecloth and a mesh strainer, but it worked. You might find that you need to squeeze the cheesecloth by hand. Because you are dealing with grilled pineapple, you definitely don’t want to skip this step as ash in your cocktail is not ideal. After straining, I poured it into a Crew bottle and refrigerated.
Grilled Pineapple Syrup
- Grill, Juicer, Blender, Scale, Cheesecloth, Metal Strainer
- 1 pineapple peeled & sliced into 3/4" wheels
- 500 g unbleached cane sugar
- 2.5 g citric acid powder
- Grill pineapple wheels over a wood fire until lightly smoked.
- Let cool and run through a juicer.
- Weigh out 500g of the juice and combine in a blender with the sugar and citric acid.
- Blend until smooth and strain through a mesh strainer and cheesecloth.
- Transfer to a container and refrigerate for up to four weeks.
Pineapple Cocktail Recipe #2: Pineapple Old Fashioned
This is just one idea for what you can use the grilled pineapple syrup for. I love an old fashioned but I prefer them balanced. Too often they can be overly sweet. With this riff, I wanted the pineapple to be present, which can be tricky with mezcal. The recipe below is quite delicious.
Pineapple Old Fashioned
- 1.5 oz rye whiskey or bourbon
- 0.5 oz mezcal
- 0.5 oz smoked pineapple syrup
- 2 dashes Crude 'Tiki 500' bitters
- Add ingredients to a mixing glass with ice
- Stir until cold
- Double strain over a large ice cube into a high ball glass
There you have it, my pineapple cocktail recipes! I hope you are finding some time these days to be creative and experimental. Let me know what you’ve been trying lately, I would love to hear from you. Cheers!