Already schooled in the heart-healthy virtues of pomegranate juice, the antioxidant power of açai berries and the lower glycemic index of agave nectar, mixologists have turned their attention to the next hip super-ingredient: coconut water. Not to be confused with the rich cream of coconut that you’ve enjoyed in a Piña Colada, which is made by adding thickeners and sugar to coconut milk, coconut water comes from young, green coconuts and is actually good for you. A tall, cool glass of it has zero fat and just 60 calories, and is full of electrolytes and potassium, making it the sip du jour among hardbody celebs like Madonna and Demi Moore.
It also works well in cocktails. Todd Thrasher, bartender at Restaurant Eve in Alexandria, Va., discovered coconut water while visiting El Salvador about six years ago. Since then, he has created several original cocktails using the ingredient, even harvesting his own coconut water from green coconuts behind the bar. “The flavor of coconut water is really delicate. It’s something you don’t want to hide,” says Thrasher, who tends to mix it with white spirits. Try his refreshing Tum Yummy Swizzle, which combines coconut water with vodka, ginger liqueur and lemongrass.
While coconut water is just now getting popular in the US, it’s the number-one non-alcoholic beverage in Brazil (other than water), according to Steve Luttmann, founder of Leblon Cachaça. And the South American country’s number-one liquor is, of course, cachaça, making the two perfect partners in an innovative Caipirinha (pictured above).
Few of us can hope to party with Demi Moore and Madonna, but with coconut-water cocktails, at least we can drink like them.
Leblon Coco Caipirinha
Contributed by Leblon Cachaça
- Half a lime, cut into wedges
- 2 tsp. Superfine sugar
- 2 oz Leblon Cachaça
- Vita Coco 100% Pure Coconut Water
- Garnish: Lime wheel
- Glass: Old fashioned
Muddle the lime and sugar in a shaker. Add the Leblon Cachaça, fill with ice and shake well. Pour, unstrained, into an old fashioned glass and top with Vita Coco. Garnish with a lime wheel.
Tum Yummy Swizzle
Contributed by Todd Thrasher
- 1 oz 42Below Vodka
- .5 oz Domaine de Canton
- 3.5 oz Coconut water mix*
- Garnish: Crushed candied ginger
- Glass: Highball
Add all the ingredients to a highball glass filled with crushed ice and swizzle. Garnish with a sprinkle of crushed candied ginger.
*Coconut Water Mix
- 1 quart Coconut water
- 1 cup Coconut milk (unsweetened)
- 4 oz Agave nectar
- .25 cup Grated fresh ginger
- 2 Lemongrass stalks, chopped
- 10 Kaffir lime leaves
Bring the coconut water and milk to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add the agave nectar, stir until dissolved and reduce heat to medium-low. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, allow to cool completely and strain through a fine sieve. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.