Pineapple is among the most transportive flavors. Just one bite or sip of a food or drink that features it mentally whisks you off to someplace warm and tropical. It’s vibrant and powerful and adds brightness to any drink that calls for it.
Many drinks call for the juice, renowned for its foaming effects, and bartenders also muddle the fruit, use it to infuse spirits or create shrubs and syrups with it. Pineapple is no one-trick pony, which makes it a favorite among bartenders and at-home cocktail makers looking to use it in a variety of ways. These cocktails, from the classic Piña Colada to more creative imaginings, will show you how to put the fruit to best use.
1. Piña Colada
There are two ways to serve this classic vacation drink: blended or shaken and strained over pebble ice. This recipe calls for the latter method, using light rum, lime and pineapple juices, and Coco Lopez cream of coconut. Either way you make it, this drink is so delicious you can do no wrong. Just don’t skimp on the rum. And to truly take it to the next level, make a frozen batch and mix it with a Strawberry Daiquiri to create a Miami Vice, the swirled cocktail of the moment.
2. Grilled Pineapple Mojito
This riff on the classic mint-laced refresher comes from Johnny Swet, the co-owner and head bartender at JIMMY bar at ModernHaus SoHo in New York City. Swet was inspired to create the drink, which is topped with charred chunks of pineapple, after eating tacos al pastor in Mexico. Mint leaves get muddled with agave nectar and lime juice before being joined by pineapple juice, an aged Dominican rum and crushed ice.
3. Surfer on Acid
You may have encountered this drink either as a cocktail or a party shot. It’s a tropical yet bittersweet mixture of coconut rum, the German amaro Jägermeister and pineapple juice. Its unusual combination of flavors make it a polarizing drink but definitely worth a try.
4. Jungle Bird
This mix of rum, Campari, lime and pineapple juices, and demerara syrup is the poster child of bitter Tiki cocktails. It was originally crafted by Jeffrey Ong of the former Kuala Lumpur Hilton’s Aviary Bar in the 1970s, when it was served as a welcome drink to visitors, and then became lost to time until Tiki historian Jeff Berry resurrected it.
5. Ready Fire Aim
In this elevated cocktail, mezcal is shaken with pineapple and lime juices, a pineapple-honey syrup and spicy bitters. It’s served up in a coupe glass and garnished with some pink peppercorns for a fruity-floral aroma and an enticing visual appeal.
6. Island Oasis
This festive cocktail is a simple, light and revitalizing mixture of aged rum and pineapple juice, coconut water and a homemade pineapple shrub. While pineapple drinks like the Piña Colada can have a heaviness due to the cream of coconut used, this drink employs the flavor of coconut but in a much lighter form.
7. Rodriguez Sour
The Margarita gets a twist with the addition of green Chartreuse, pineapple juice and jalapeño syrup. It’s all shaken together and served in a rocks glass over ice, with a long slice of jalapeño pepper providing a spicy aromatic garnish.
8. Chi Chi Organico
Vodka lovers, look no further than this drink, essentially a creamy Piña Colada with vodka instead of rum, to satisfy your tropical-cocktail cravings. The pineapple comes in two forms: dried-pineapple-infused vodka and pineapple puree. Those are then combined with cream of coconut and heavy cream before taking a spin through the blender with ice. It just might be your new frosty favorite.
9. Singapore Sling
One of the few Tiki cocktails that calls for gin, this complex drink is refreshing and delicious. Mix the gin with Benedictine, Grand Marnier, Heering cherry liqueur, lime and pineapple juices, and Angostura bitters, then top it all with club soda for a festive tropical cocktail.
10. Hotel Nacional
The addition of apricot liqueur to the fairly common mix of rum, lime and pineapple juices, and simple syrup spins this Cuban cocktail off in an entirely new direction flavorwise. It’s light, bright and tropical, perfect for sipping under the sun.
It would be easy to call this tropical classic merely a Piña Colada with orange juice, and that wouldn’t be far from the truth. And yet the combination of dark rum, orange and pineapple juices, and cream of coconut, topped with a sprinkle of nutmeg, is a concoction all its own. The only thing easier than shaking one up is drinking it down.