Do you remember your first Pina Colada? Your second? The third?
If they were consumed all on the same night, then somewhere between two and three you may have become a tad fuzzy. The standard pina colada recipe has two problems. First, it’s booze heavy. The ratio of pineapple juice to rum to cream of coconut is 1:1:1.
Second, besides the high rum level, the amount of coconut cream can lend a “just too much” flavor to the drink. If you want to drink coconut, buy a coconut. In a pina colada, the coconut should complement the pineapple juice, not overpower it.
Which is why in my Faux Colada, the ratio is 2:1:1. Double the pineapple juice. The result is a lighter drink, easier to drink and less impacting on your mental capacities.
With a lower alcohol level, you’ll also find this beverage works more comfortably with food. It can be a starting cocktail of course or be used to carry you through an entire meal. Based on personal experience, this is a drink to mate with a grilled steak.
What did you eat with that first pina colada of yours? Don’t remember? I’m not surprised.
Brian’s Faux Colada
Yield: 2 cocktails
6 ounces pineapple juice [or one of those mini cans]
3 ounces rum [ideally mango flavored]
3 ounces cream of coconut
Place all the ingredients in the blender. Add 2-4 cups of ice, depending on how thick you like your frozen beverage. Process until smooth. Drink. Relax. Make more.
Source: Brian O’Rourke
Photo Information Canon T2i, EFS 60 mm Macro Lens, F/5 for 1/40th second at ISO‑3200
Bars can be expensive. Not that hotel bar you eye occasionally, the one with the $15 drinks. No, I’m talking about your home bar.
If you love cocktails and cocktails books — which I do — then it is possible to have stack of “gotta make” recipes. Taken together, all those recipes can demand that your home bar be extensively stocked. And there’s the rub.
I collect the Food and Wine Cocktails books, one published each year. The 2013 edition is easily the best, flush with wonderful beverage ideas. I recommend the ideas and the book.
One idea called for both tequila and mescal. Tequila I have in abundance. Of Mescal, not a drop. I know enough to know that all tequilas are a subset of mescal so, I assumed, the larger collection of mescals had to include some bottles with modest price tags. My first nearby liquor store want $54. I passed, heading for my corner store which always has a good selection at modest prices. $120 and $80. I now began my mantra of “Curse you, Red Baron.”
Back home I examined the recipe. It wanted agave, which I believe, based on the prices in Whole Foods, is as outrageously priced as certain liquors that are based on plants related to asparagus. [Oh, you thought agave used to be considered a cactus but is really a lily. There’s been a little update and it has been reclassified again as a cousin to asparagus. That should give tequila drinkers both pause and smug satisfaction: it is, too, healthy.]
I felt confused and cheap. I rethought the whole concept for this cocktail and I revised it. A lot. It’s now my concoction.
What had caught my eye initially was the heat. This drink begins by muddling poblanos, along with jalapenos the most popular of hot peppers. I imagined a meal of stuffed poblanos consumed with a fork accompanied by muddled poblanos consumed sip by sip.
To fight the poblano heat, the muddling includes fresh pineapple chunks. Then tequila, and lemon juice and that backbone ingredient of most cocktails: a simple sugar syrup. All that resonates in my brain like a mariachi band.
Once made, the drink is pretty to look at that I waited, perhaps, a full three seconds before imbibing. Frankly, my dear, I don’t think mescal would have made a damn difference.
As a hint of things to come, I have been experimenting with hot sugar syrups, spicy hot. In place of the simple syrup, you could use a habanero sugar syrup here for a refined blast of fire. More about that as spring evolves.
Muddled Heat and Sweet
Yield: 1 cocktail
- 4 ¼ inch thick rings of poblano + 1 more for garnish
- 4 1-inch cubes of fresh pineapple
- 2 ounces of silver tequila
- 1 ounce of freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 ounce simple syrup
In a cocktail shaker, muddle 4 of the poblano chile rings with the pineapple. Add the tequila, lemon juice and simple syrup. Fill the shaker with ice, and shake vigorously. Pour into a chilled cocktail class filled with crush ice. Garnish, if you wish, with a poblano ring or a citrus round.
Source: Brian O’Rourke with inspiration from Food and Wine Cocktails 2013 [the Pablo Escabar]
Photo Information: Canon T2i, EFS 60MM Macro Lens, F/5.6, 1/100th second, ISO-1600