With its sweet charm and tropical roots, most of us have a thirst for rum in the sun and caning it with the best can give a new lease of life to this holiday tipple, and some seasonal cocktails.
Whether it’s blended with pineapple juice or muddled with mint and lime, celebrating National Pina Colada Day (July 10) and National Mojito Day (July 11) is a great excuse to imbibe island life and toast the spirit of summer.
There are plenty of variations on Puerto Rico’s official drink, but if you’re looking for an easy pina colada recipe then Koko Kanu is a full strength Jamaican rum (as opposed to other flavoured white rums) blended with coconut flavour, so you don’t need the coconut cream or milk.
Here’s a Koko Kalada recipe created by rum legend Ian Burrell (known as the global ambassador for rum) that’s made with equal parts Koku Kanu and fresh pineapple juice – a cream-free version that’s crying out to be served in a hollowed-out pineapple.
50ml Koko Kanu, 50ml pineapple juice
Shake ingredients over ice, strain into a chilled coupe glass and garnish with a sprinkle of nutmeg
Alternatively, a nice touch is to bring some golden rum to the party and a measure of white and dark will add an extra kick to your simple mix of coconut cream and pineapple juice. Try Matugga Gold Rum which is complex enough to sip on its own. Rich with notes of toffee, caramel, spice and vanilla, lent by time spent in wood, it’s made using sugar cane molasses from East Africa and matured in English oak casks.
50ml Sailor Jerry, 6 raspberries, pinch of chilli flakes, 25ml cranberry juice, 12.5ml sugar syrup, 4 dashes of balsamic vinegar
Muddle the raspberries and chilli together in a cocktail shaker. Add Sailor Jerry, cranberry juice and sugar syrup. Shake well and double strain over crushed ice in a rocks glass. Cap with crushed ice and the balsamic vinegar.
60ml Ron Pampero, 8 mint leaves (torn in half), half a lime freshly squeezed, 15ml sugar syrup, soda water
A Cuban classic, the mojito combines sweet and sour notes and the refreshing citrus, mint and rum can’t help but put you in a carnival mood.
To capture the balmy, tropical beaches of Venezuela, try Ron Pampero Blanco which is a versatile cocktail rum with a variety of vanilla, cocoa and spicy notes that’s big on flavour and won’t drown under crushed ice.
Muddle the mint and lime with sugar syrup in a cocktail shaker. Add a scoop of ice, then the rum. Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled tumbler and top with soda water.
40ml Calvados Boulard Grand Solage, 1 0ml sugar cane syrup, half a lime, mint leaves, 60ml ginger ale soda
For a twist on the classic, and if rum doesn’t float your boat, the fruity appeal of an apple brandy such as Calvados Boulard Grand Solage makes a refreshing change, served in a high ball.
Following the trend for innovative cocktails and fermented ingredients such as eau-de-vie, Grand Solage is made from a variety of 120 apples from the Pays d’Auge region in north western France. Aromatic and a great basis for cocktails, here’s their Boulard Mojito for a crafty take on the original.
Add sugar syrup with lime and cover with mint and press. Add the calvados, a dash of ginger ale and stir. Garnish with mint or lime.