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Cover: Shaken and stirred

Recipes with pineapple juice

24Jun 12

The mai tai, an out of this world drink

Mai TaiThere are certain things about cocktails which I am very fussy about. Usually, if it includes an umbrella, I turn away in disgust. Moreover, if the garnish piles a slice of orange, a lemon twist, a mint sprig and even a straw in the glass, there is no way I am settling for it. At least, this is what I thought until I was presented with a beverage with all the above mentioned overcrowding my glass. Rules do happen to have exceptions, and the mai tai cocktail is mine.

The mai tai is a drink based on rum, Curacao liqueur and lime juice, associated with Polynesian-style settings, also known as tiki bars. According to history, it was first concocted by Victor Bergeron in 1944 at his restaurant in Oakland, California. Vic admitted during an interview that he was actually trying to impress some friends from Tahiti whom, after trying his sweet colourful cocktail, promptly exclaimed “Mai Tai, Roa Ae”, which in Tahitian means “Out of this world, the best”.

The original version included large amounts of both white and dark Jamaican rum. Over the years, the recipe has changed a lot, disguising the rum under layers of fruit. Still, the white and dark give it a unique, scented and strong taste that mixes nicely with the sweetness of the rest of the ingredients. As a friend of mine put it, “a mai tai should taste like a holiday on a tropical island where there is nothing but sun, fun and a good hangover the next day.”

Needed:

  • 3cl white rum
  • 3cl dark rum
  • 1.5cl orange curacao
  • 1.5cl syrup
  • 1cl pineapple juice
  • 1cl lime juice

How to make it:
1.Pour all the ingredients except the dark rum into a shaker with ice cubes and shake for 30 seconds.
2.Strain into an old-fashioned glass with ice.
3.Top with the dark rum.
4.Garnish with one, some or all: orange slice, a lemon slice, a mint spring, a straw and an umbrella!

Time: 5 minutes
Makes: 1 serving

Note: The combination of fruits in this drink reminded me of a recipe that I saw for poached pineapple upside-down cake. It might make a great combination with the mai tai tipple!

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07Jun 12

Piña Colada

Piña coladaOne of Puerto Rico’s notable exports is its music, which is probably the predominant Caribbean rhythm heard in the United States. From the soft rhythm of the Puerto Rican danza, to the latest in reggaeton, they are definitely “in” when it comes to music, as is their national drink: the Piña Colada.

The cocktail was introduced in the summer of 1954 at the Caribe Hilton’s Beachcomber Bar in San Juan, Puerto Rico, by a barman called Ramon “Monchito” Marrero. The story goes that the hotel manager had requested that “Monchito” come up with a brand new drink that would satisfy the palate of a very distinguished clientele. After three months of blending and shaking, using only national beverages and fruits, the first Piña Colada was served.

The main ingredients to a Piña Colada are coconut milk, white rum and pineapple juice. Rum is the main drink in the whole of the Caribbean. It is distilled from sugarcane. The distillate, a clear liquid, is then usually aged in oak barrels.

As time passed, “Monchito” served his famous drink to thousands of hotel guests, including John Wayne and Gloria Swanson. In 1978, Puerto Rico declared the Piña Colada its national drink.

Maybe it’s the extra sweet taste of the cocktail, or maybe it’s the intense aroma of the coconut milk that always reminds people of the Caribbean. In any case, this drink summons images of white sandy beaches of a beautiful place, while the locals dance to the soft rhythm of a Puerto Rican danza.

Needed:

  • 37.5cl chilled pineapple juice
  • 25cl coconut milk
  • 8cl Malibu coconut rum
  • 2 cups crushed ice

How it’s made:

  1. Pour pineapple juice, coconut milk, rum and ice in a blender and blend until combined.
  2. Pour among 4 glasses to serve.
  3. Garnish with a cherry, pineapple slice and umbrella.

 

Time: 5 minutes

Serves: 4 cocktails

Note: If you like fruity tropical drinks without alcohol, try this mango passion. Your designated driver will appreciate it!

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19Apr 12

Sex on the Beach

Sex on the beachThe Sex on the Beach Cocktail (SOTB) is one of the first cocktails I learned how to make. It’s also one of the most popular.

Sex on the Beach is a delicious fruity drink that almost anyone would like. It’s a great tropical highball that is wonderful on hot summer nights or afternoons at the beach. Beginning bartenders should place Sex on the Beach as first on their list of “must-know-how-to-make.” (Another beach favourite is this Tropical Sundown.)

The SOTB is a relatively young and popular cocktail. It was invented approximately at the end of 80’s or beginning of the 90’s in order to promote peach schnapps in Florida. With the influx of tourism for spring break, Republic National Distributor devised a contest that would pay the bar that sold the most peach schnapps a bonus of $1,000. The bartender with the highest sales of schnapps at the winning bar would receive $100 as well. As you can imagine, there was quite a bit of competition!

A bartender named Ted Pizio mixed peach schnapps, vodka, orange juice and grenadine. When Pizio began to sell the sweet and tasty beverage, he was soon asked what it was called. On the spot, Pizio thought about all the partiers that he had seen and the reason why thousands of them came to Florida for spring break and said, “Sex on the Beach”!

There are three types of SOTB. The first one is an International Bartenders’ Association Official Cocktail; it is made from vodka, peach schnapps, orange juice and cranberry juice. This is one of my favourites.

The second type is made with vodka, Chambord, Midori, pineapple juice and cranberry juice. This variation is used by TGI Friday’s and is listed in the Mr. Boston Official Bartender’s Guide.

The third version is mine. Try it and tell me what you think:

Needed:

  • 4.5cl vodka
  • 1.5cl peach schnapps
  • 1cl Chambord (raspberry liqueur)
  • 6cl cranberry juice
  • 6cl pineapple juice
  • crushed ice

How it’s made:
1. Shake all ingredients and strain into highball glass with ice.
2. Garnish with a lime wedge and cherry.

Time: less than 2 minutes
Makes: 1 cocktail

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06Apr 12

Singapore Sling

Singapore SlingWhen I think of extravagant places I have visited, Singapore always pops up in my mind. Although it is as complex and beautiful as the rest of Southeast Asia, there is something about this place that makes it unreal. The same happens whenever I taste the most famous cocktail this tiny country has ever produced: the Singapore Sling.

The drink is said to have originated at Singapore’s Raffles Hotel (named after Sir Stamford Raffles, founder of Modern Singapore as a trading post of the East India Company in 1819) by a bartender called Ngiam Tong Boon sometime in the early 1920’s. When in this country, you will be offered the Singapore Sling, also referred to as “the lion’s drink”. This is due to the fact that Singapore means “lion city” in Malayan.

The key (and often overlooked) ingredient in a Singapore Sling is Benedictine, a French herbal liqueur which boasts over 30 herbs in its mix. According to history, it was originally meant as a woman’s drink, hence the attractive pink colour and sweetness in its taste.

Another component is a dash of Angostura Bitters which adds a nice touch to various tipples, such as a magic flute or champagne cocktail.

This drink is extravagant as it mixes together 8 different beverages. That’s a lot for a country which is one of the 15 smallest in the world! Another enlightening fact is that Singapore has the world’s third highest GDP per capita and has the largest man-made fountain in the world.

Probably the oddest fact about this cocktail is that no one really knows what the original recipe is. The closest, though, is probably the one served at the Raffles Hotel. So if you are ever in Singapore, I highly recommend you visit the place and try this magnificent and extravagant cocktail.

Ingredients:
• 30 ml Gin.
• 15 ml Cherry Brandy.
• 120 ml Pineapple Juice.
• 15 ml Lime Juice.
• 7.5 ml Cointreau.
• 7.5 ml Dom Benedictine.
• 10 ml Grenadine.
• A Dash of Angostura Bitters
• Club soda.

How to prepare it:
1. Put the Gin, Benedictine, Lime juice, Grenadine, Cointreau, Pineapple juice and Bitters in a shaker with cracked ice and shake five times.
2. Pour into a chilled Collins glass.
3. Top off with club soda.
4. Pour Brandy over the back of a spoon into the center.
5. Garnish with a cherry and an umbrella.

Time: between 3 and 5 minutes
Makes: 1 cocktail

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