Nothing says “vacation” like stretching out by the pool and ordering a frosty, exotic cocktail. And nothing says “staycation” like stretching out on the couch with a homemade version of that far-flung cocktail. There’s room in your fruit bowl for more than just lemons and limes, and grocery stores now readily stock produce once only available overseas—all of which is just waiting to be boozed-up with a splash of rum or mezcal. To fuel your next liquid getaway, we asked some of our favorite bartenders to whip up some tropical cocktails with fruits like guava, lychee and passionfruit instead of the usual suspects. Sure, these drinks are great to sip seaside on a hot, sunny day, but they’ll bring the heat to your home bar anytime of year.
These Exotic Fruit Cocktails Are an Instant Getaway
If a strawberry and a pear had a baby, you would get a guava. Sweet and tropical, the fruit is a perfect match for the earthy, vegetal funk of rhum agricole. “This cocktail is inspired by my travels on the island of Martinique where the rhum is made with 100-percent pressed sugar cane and there’s an abundance of fresh, local fruit,” says Dan McClary, bar manager of The Cannibal LA. “The addition of a dry sparkling wine simply lifts up the guava and brightens the cocktail.” Drier than it is sweet, this libation makes a perfect aperitif anytime of day.
pink guava purée
Though sweet-tart passion fruit pulp does make its way into some classics, like tiki mainstay the Hurricane, it’s not an ingredient you often see peppered throughout a cocktail menu. But Chad Solomon, head bartender at Midnight Rambler in Dallas, sees the fruit’s versatility. In this cocktail, Solomon takes passion fruit out of its familiar tiki zone, pairing it with smoky mezcal instead of the usual rum. “I took a cue from the structure of the vintage 20th Century cocktail (gin, lemon, Lillet, cacao), but I wanted to push the drink much further,” Solomon says. So he swapped out the gin for mezcal, the lemon for passion fruit, and the Lillet for amontillado sherry. “The result is something with greater width—it’s brighter, funkier and earthier,” he says. His lip-smacking combination of earthy mezcal, rich chocolate liqueur and zesty passion fruit puree is so satisfying, it’s difficult to have just one.
Passion fruit Puree
Oftentimes a spirit serves as the inspiration for a cocktail, which is exactly how Julia Momose—head bartender of GreenRiver in Chicago—came up with the brightly hued Cyclamen. “When tasting the Copper & Kings Immature Brandy, I caught notes of walnut, apple and grapes—such as you would taste in a Waldorf Salad,” Momose says. “I wanted to introduce some tropical fruit to the mix, and lychee has the perfect levels of floral, fruity and milky tang to compliment the brandy.” A dry pink port rounds out the cocktail, bringing out the brandy’s grape notes, while manzanilla sherry adds a subtle, nutty saltiness for one of the most balanced drinks we’ve had in awhile.