During a recent visit to New Orleans, I had the opportunity to visit one of the city’s best bars – The Empire Bar at Broussard’s where I was able to enjoy the amazing cocktails from bartender Paul Gustings. In addition to sampling his classic concoctions, Paul shared a recipe for a Piña Colada. Recently I tried out the recipe and am ready to share my impression and share best tips.
This cocktail is not for the faint of heart – it has many steps and makes a very large amount. The amounts listed below are ideal for a party of 10-15. If you are ready to take on the challenge, read on…..
NOLA Piña Colada
1 Pineapple (medium)
8oz White sugar
2oz Brown sugar
8oz Champagne (I recommend using brut)
32oz Coconut flakes
32oz Half and half
Bottle of white wine (I recommend a sweet riesling)
Bottle of gold rum
Two medium and one large cylindrical, clear plastic containers (at least 2 & 3 quarts respectively)
This cocktail is made in two stages – in the first stage, you’ll create pineapple and coconut mixes that need to be infused for 7 days. Below are the steps for the pineapple and coconut infusions that should be prepared 7 days before you’d like to enjoy this cocktail.
- Make simple syrup by mixing water and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Set aside.
- Peel, core and rinse pineapple. Take rinsed pineapple and cut into thick slices.
- Take brown sugar and cover each slice with a thin layer of sugar.
- Place pineapple slices in medium plastic container and add the simple syrup, bottle of white wine and champagne. Mix well and refrigerate for 7 days.
- Pre-heat oven to 325°F.
- Place coconut on a baking sheet in a thin layer.
- Toast for 5-10 minutes until golden brown. (remember to keep and eye on the coconut to prevent burning)
- Place toasted coconut in a medium plastic container and add half and half. Mix well and refrigerate for 7 days.
After seven days you’ll be ready to make the cocktail using the directions below.
Making the Cocktail:
- Using a large strainer, strain the pineapple infusion and set aside. Save the pineapple slices to use as garnish.
- Strain the coconut infusion. Make sure to press down on the soaked coconut flakes to release the infusion.
- Place the pineapple and coconut infusion in the large container and add a bottle of rum. Mix well and serve in a cold glass.
Tips & Recommendations
- The recipe calls for a bottle of rum but it may be better if you add a smaller amount of rum, mix and taste. This way you can calibrate how strong the drink will be.
- Make sure you have enough utensils and containers. I ran into a slight problem when I was straining the infusions because I needed a temporary place to hold the strained infusions.
- My kitchen is small and at times I had a hard time finding places to set aside ingredients. If you have a large kitchen you will not run into this problem but if you do try to clear as much space as possible.
- You can refrigerate the Piña Colada mixture for up to a week. Make sure to still well whenever you are preparing a cocktail.
The NOLA Piña Colada is sweet, strong, complex and surprisingly refreshing. It’s the kind of drink that reveals each flavor at different times – make sure to enjoy each sip of this cocktail. Although it is a little complicated to make, this is a great recipe for a casual, summer party.