PINEAPPLE AND COCONUT INFUSED RUM

Rum aficionados around the world tend to look down upon the renowned Pina Colada. While I don’t consider myself a rum connoisseur I do subscribe to their views on the Pina Coloda. It’s probably the creamy texture that is to blame more than anything else as far as I am concerned. That being said, I cannot deny that I do love the combination of coconut and pineapple. The sweet and sour aromas and notes of the pineapple works like a charm with the sweet and nutty richness of the coconut. It’s just the creamy base of the cocktail that doesn’t cut ice with me. So I figured that I wanted to play with the tropical flavours of pineapple and coconut. Of course I ensured that the cream had absolutely no part to play in my drink. This is my second infusion experiment with Old Monk rum. If you haven’t had a chance to read the previous one yet you can find it here: http://eatsiprepeat.com/pumpkin-and-spice-infused-dark-rum/.

A juicy pineapple and a big ripe coconut are not at all difficult to come by in a typical fruit seller’s stall and Old Monk rum does have a pride of presence in my bar cabinet more often than not. I cut the pineapple in half and chopped it up in rough bite sized pieces. It is important that you taste the pineapple before the next step. The pineapple I used was not as sweet as I would have liked but it did have a nice and tangy tartness to it. So I put the pineapple on a plate and sprinkled about one teaspoon of caster sugar on it, covered it and let it rest. After a few hours the pineapple got a bit mushier and browner than it was. At this point I tasted another small piece of the fruit and was happy to note that it met with my expected degree of sweetness.

Pineapple bathing in caster sugar. Be sure to check the sweetness before sprinkling the sugar.

I then cracked open the coconut and cut it’s beautiful flesh into long and narrow pieces. On a baking tray I placed the coconut pieces evenly atop a sheet of parchment paper. In an oven preheated to 180c or 350F, I roasted the coconut at 180c for 15 minutes. This should brown the coconut a bit around the edges tasted deliciously toasty. And now it was time for the real fun to begin.

Toasted coconut slices.

In my glass infusion bottle I poured in the rum and then gradually introduced the pineapple followed by the coconuts. I don’t think the order in which you put the fruits in matters to any extent as the rum will be left alone to take on the flavours of the pineapple and roasted coconut. Once I had all elements together in the bottle I sealed it shut and gave it a good shake for about half a minute.

The next day I gave it another shake and let it rest in my bar cabinet. This went on for three days. On the fourth day I decided to give the rum a taste. The rum had now taken on the aromas of both the pineapple and coconut. The latter however, was a bit faint in comparison to the former. Upon tasting my olfactory senses were proved right and the coconut did seem fainter in comparison to the pineapple. A good method of judging whether a flavour has been infused to its optimal point is to take a small piece of it out of the bottle and taste it. If the element still retains some of its original flavours then it still has a bit of a job to do but if it tastes of nothing but the spirit then its purpose has been served to the fullest. My taste test was in conjunction with my previous conclusions and I discovered that the pineapple had done its bit and the coconut could contribute some more to the drink. So I took out all the pineapple chunks from the bottle and left the coconut in, gave it a shake and left it to rest again. On the sixth day I found that the coconut had finally done its bit too. Now my Pina Colada inspired coconut and pineapple rum was ready. Glasses, ice cubes and good company were all that were required in order to enjoy the drink.

My infusion bottle. Infusion work in progress.

Ingredients:
1. Old Monk Very Old Vatted Rum 750 ml – 1 bottle.
2. Half a pineapple.
3. Medium sized ripe coconut – 1.
4. Caster sugar – 1 teaspoon or more. Whether or not the caster sugar will be needed will completely depend on how sweet you would like your end drink to be. If the pineapple itself is juicy and sweet then the sugar may not be needed at all. On the other hand if the pineapple is not too sweet then more than one teaspoon maybe required to sweeten your drink.
5. Freshly squeezed and strained pineapple juice of half a pineapple.
6. Green/ tender coconut water (preferably fresh) – 1 or 2 coconuts depending upon how much water each holds.
7. Glass bottle (preferably 1 l) – It is definitely advisable to use a glass bottle since it is one of the most non-reactive substances known.

Directions:
1. Chop up the pineapple into bit sized pieces. Check for sweetness.
2. If the pineapple is not very sweet sprinkle the caster sugar atop it. Otherwise, skip this step.
3. Break open the coconut and cut its flesh into long strips.
4. Preheat an oven to 180C or 350F. Place the chopped coconut on a parchment paper lined baking tray and roast it at 180C for 15 minutes.
5. Now pour the rum into the glass bottle. By now the pineapple would have become sweet and mushy. Gradually put the pineapple and coconut pieces into the rum filled bottle.
6. Once the bottle is sealed give it a good shake and let it rest in a cool and dark place.
7. Make sure that you taste the drink after at least three days. The rum might get saturated with the flavours of the pineapple within four days. Take out the pieces of pineapple to prevent the rum from getting oversaturated with the pineapple. The coconut might probably need a couple of days more to impart all its flavours into the rum. After about 5-6 days the rum should be ready.
8. Fill a highball glass with ice cubes to its halfway mark. Pour 2 fl. Oz or 60 ml rum and top up with two parts each of green/ tender coconut water and freshly squeezed and strained pineapple juice.

The sweetness of the rum, the tangy sweetness of the pineapple and the nuttiness of the coconut. All in one glass. Bliss!

Now you can put your feet up, let your hair down and enjoy your own Pina Colada inspired pineapple and coconut rum in the confines of your living room. Cheers!

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