Last week, it struck me that while I rail against the Piña Colada, I had never made one myself. I’d been casting about for something good to do with pineapple juice and had allowed my preconceptions of the Piña Colada to rule it out — to rule out what must be the most widely-enjoyed pineapple-based drink on earth. A gross oversight. After all, shouldn’t one of the guiding principles of domestic mixology be that a thoughtfully-crafted potable, mixed purely for pleasure, will reveal complexities and dimensions which none but the most fastidious professional can match? I say yea, it should be so.
In consequence of this, it must be assumed that the Piña Colada is not necessarily a foully chemical concoction, but is merely a drink suffering from long, cruel abuse at the hands of the service industry. There must be an Ur Piña Colada which contains within its frothy matrix the flavor sensation that captured a generation’s palates and went on to inspire so many imitators.
So, I mixed-up the CocktailDB’s Piña Colada recipe. It’s the simplest there is, and may be the original, though unfortunately they don’t cite sources. Verdict: Blah. Flat, uninteresting and bland. If this was the drink that started it all, I’m surprised at its survival. However, it was a far cry from the others I’ve had, whose origins were likely in a bottle of pre-mix. Pineapple and Coconut did seem to be a worthwhile pairing, and so I tinkered. Continue reading I have found a truly wonderful proof…
3 oz. cachaça
1/2 lime (large)
1 Tbsp. sugar
Cut lime into quarters
Place in bottom of 6 – 8 oz. glass with sugar and muddle well.
Fill with crushed ice, followed by cachaça. Stir.
Cachaça is very much its own beverage — distilled from fermented fresh sugar cane juice, it’s related to rum, but often called a brandy. There is a wide range of qualities — in Brazil, cachaça has historically been a proletarian drink, but a premium market is the rise. Perhaps the most commonly available brand in the US is Pirassununga Cachaça 51, a middle-of-the-road industrially produced cachaça. I wouldn’t care to drink it neat, but it has a peppery, tequila-like quality that makes Brazil’s gift to cocktails, the caipirinha, more like a margarita than its rummy relative, the daiquiri.
Caipirinhas are quite the trendy tipple these days, and they’re fast becoming a favorite of mine as well. Citric, icy-cold and spicy-sweet, they’re not particularly suited to drizzly 50°F March evenings, but I’ll be laying in a respectable supply of cachaça and limes come summertime. There’s a fairly broad variation in recipes … most call for a whole lime, which I find excessive if you’re using large, lemon-sized fruit. The volumes of sugar, cachaça and ice vary as well. The inference one should draw from this is that cachaça is delicious when served on the rocks with lime and sugar.
(For a Party of 10)
Into a small Punch bowl pour:
1 pint Orgeat Syrup.
2 jiggers Jamaica Rum.
2 jiggers Maraschino.
2½ jiggers Brandy.
2 tablespoonfuls Bar Sugar.
1 quart Champagne.
1 quart Plain Soda.
Stir well; pack the bowl in Fine Ice, and when cold serve in fancy Stem glasses.
Fill large Bar glass ½ full Shaved Ice.
1 teaspoonful Bar Sugar.
¾ jigger Brandy.
½ jigger Jamaica Rum.
Fill up with Milk; shake thoroughly; strain into tall, thin glass and serve with little Nutmeg grated on top.
1 teaspoonful Bar Sugar in large Bar glass.
2 dashes Lemon Juice with the Skin of Two Slices.
Fill glass ¾ full Shaved Ice.
1 dash Seltzer Water.
2 dashes Jamaica Rum.
Fill up with Claret or Burgundy; shake; ornament with Fruit and serve with Straws.