Cocktail #15: Lei Lani Volcano

I don't know why, but I had a hankering to try using a real coconut as my drink vessel this week. So, off to the grocery store I went, and found a Thai (young) coconut (which I read were easier to get into than the brown, hairy kind). I then found a cocktail in Jeff Berry's trusty Intoxica!  that involved serving the drink in either a ceramic coconut mug or an actual coconut and came across the Lei Lani Volcano. Berry doesn't give much of a backstory to this cocktail other than: "From the Polynesian Village Resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida, circa 1970s."

Now, forgive me, but unlike many folks in the tiki and vintage scene, I just don't have a soft spot for Disney. That being said, this drink is really delicious. Here's the setup:

3.00 oz. guava nectar (check the international foods section of your grocery store)
1.50 oz. unsweetened pineapple juice
0.75 oz. fresh lime juice
0.25 oz. rock candy syrup
2.50 oz coconut rum (Cruzan or Malibu)*

I garnished with a cocktail umbrella, slice of lime, and a flower from our backyard.

* Since I didn't have any coconut rum on hand, instead I used regular old Bacardi Gold, and added a teaspoon of Coco Lopez cream of coconut, as well as about a half ounce of the coconut water that came out of the coconut. 

Now that I've used a real coconut, I won't be doing that again any time soon. These things are really hard to get into - unless you have a coco jack tool, which I recently read about in Martin Cate's Smuggler's Cove book. Not keen to purchase another single-purpose tool for the kitchen, I decided to try it myself, using what ended up being an assortment of tools:

Note: If you decide to try using a real coconut, be extremely careful, and don't try to use knives! Seriously - you could injure yourself badly. Don't be stupid!

It was the hammer that finally did it, showering me with a coconut water spray as I pierced it. I emptied out the water, which was about two cups worth. I wish I could say it was lovely looking and smelled fresh and wonderful, but it was sort of dark and smelled almost overwhelmingly strong. I used a half ounce of the stuff in the cocktail, and I wish I didn't because even though it adds a little coconut flavor, it also leaves behind a slightly unpleasant aftertaste.

Because I was only able to produce a nickel sized hole (and didn't want to risk a trip to Urgent Care trying to make a larger hole with a different, more dangerous implement of destruction), I had to shove, almost piece by piece, ice into the coconut to make sure the cocktail stayed cold. I also had to use a funnel to get the drink inside the thing! So, no, I do not recommend using a real coconut if you've been thinking about it.

Anyway, aftertaste aside, this is really a pleasant drink.

I've never had guava nectar before, and it added a nice note to this drink. I was worried that the relatively large amount of guava and pineapple would overwhelm the rum, and to an extent it is a little on the fruity side, but the rum still does come through nicely. Next time I might dial back the pineapple juice by a quarter or half of an ounce. Like many exotic cocktails, it goes down easy.

For your listening pleasure this week, I give you exotica legend Arthur Lyman's 1965 Polynesia record in full:


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