The coconut is crazy versatile. Chefs use coconut as oil, butter, milk, water, cream, sugar, flakes, even flour, but this shape-shifting utility isn’t limited to the kitchen—it’s just as great behind the bar. Making a cocktail with coconut is an easy way to give a drink a Caribbean twist and a sweet, oily, salivation-inducing complexity. Here are nine of the best coconut cocktails for those of you who are coocoo for coconuts.
Crack Into These 9 Great Coconut Cocktails
There’s no coconut drink more distinctive than the Piña Colada, a relaxing island vacation in a cocktail. Throw the rum, coconut, pineapple juice and ice in a blender, and let the fresh smells tickle your nostrils. Close your eyes and allow the sounds of the blender wash over you like gentle waves lapping at your eardrums. Feel the Puerto Rican sand between your toes, open your eyes and see—your boring old kitchen. But hey, at least you have a refreshing Piña Colada now.
Inside the nearly impenetrable shell of a coconut lies a rich reward of surprisingly fatty goodness in the form of delicious coconut cream—a staple ingredient to the Painkiller. This tiki masterpiece utilizes decadent Coco Lopez to make a thick restorative drink with dark rum, pineapple and orange juice. Even if you opt for our relatively dry version, the drink could still qualify as a dessert (aka bad day medicine).
Cream of Coconut
Upon your first sip of Coco Punch, you’ll likely encounter tastes of banana, dark syrupy rum, nutmeg and, of course, coconut. But you’ll also detect something funky sneaking around your palate—the cornsilk infused into the coconut milk. This infusion conjures the grainy, grassy taste of the Midwest, bundled like an herbal gift in tiki wrapping paper (think luau torches and tiki totems). It’s like eating boozy Corn Flakes on the beach.
Aloe isn’t just for soothing your skin after overindulging on a hot summer day—it’s also for soothing your insides. With a cool melon popsicle for garnish, the Melt Away combines coconut, cachaça, lime and aloe vera for a flavor that is sure to melt away your sunburned embarrassment in no time.
If you’ve ever had curry based on coconut milk, you already know how happily spice and coco can live together in a dish, and the same is true of the cocktail glass. While this Colada swaps Indian and Thai spices for Mexican chipotle, the smoky heat that bursts from the tequila swirls around salty-sweet coconut in a pleasing tingle of spice. Combine that with bittersweet amaro and tart lime, and you have a recipe for a complex layer of flavors to rival any curry.
Salted Coco Syrup
True coconut lovers will never be dissuaded from their Samoas, and the Samoa Rumtini embodies all that this dedicated group could want from their beloved Girl Scout Cookie and more. Coconut cream, caramely rum and chocolate bitters work together to mimic the cookie’s signature taste. And if that’s not enough for you, the doughnut-shaped cookie itself is easily sliced and perched as a garnish on the rim of your cocktail.
If you habitually drink Eggnog every holiday season and find yourself pining for the winter in the heart of July, the Coquito is the drink for you. The common Nog recipe calls for evaporated milk and condensed milk, but our version of the Puerto Rican variant includes coconut cream and coconut milk, as well as two kinds of rum and a spice cabinet worth of winter flavors. It’s a tropical upgrade worthy of an entirely new tradition.
It’s hard to get past Jäger’s reputation for shots and bombs, but if you start to consider the spirit’s herbal complexities, a lot of strange, exciting cocktails begin to emerge, like the Scissors Over Comb. Before Brian Means of San Francisco’s Dirty Habit experimented with the German liqueur, we’d have never considered pairing Jägermeister with Cognac or coconut cream, but somehow all those diverse ingredients crammed into this clown car of a drink ultimately make for a surprisingly delicious cocktail.
A spa day is a great way to thoroughly rinse yourself of the accumulated dirt of everyday life, but sometimes our favorite spirits need some relaxation as well. Give your vodka a spa day by washing it in light, silky coconut oil, and then throw the renewed spirit into the Konomi. With pineapple syrup, a sesame-infused aperitif and matcha, this cocktail will surely rejuvenate your soul as well as your body.
sesame-infused Cocchi Americano