- 1 Jigger (2 oz, or 60mL) pineapple spears (about 3 thin spears)
- 1 gill (4oz, or 120ml) cantaloupe balls (about 6 large balls)
- 1 gill (4oz, or 120ml) coconut water
- 1 Jigger (2 oz, or 60mL) pineapple juice
- Mint, 1 sprig for garniture as well as several leaves for ice
- At least the night before, take a palmful of mint leaves at a time and clap between hands to open mint oils
- Pack mint leaves into ice mold (preferably 1-oz service ice mold), fill with water and freeze until solid
- Set out a 15oz hurricane goblet
- Trim mint sprig to length so it just reaches the bottom, and remove all leaves except those above glass level
- Alternate stacking pineapple spears, cantaloupe balls and mint ice cubes to top (depending on actual volume of fruit, will take between 3-5 cubes)
- Add coconut water and pineapple juice
- Garnish with mint sprig
When it came to this drink, we were approached with the title “Fruit Groot” and the restriction that it had to be a virgin drink. Now, most of the time we prefer not to design drinks based on a title, but now seems as good a time as any to go through that process and chronicle the experience.
Step 1: What can we work with?
As has been mentioned on the site previously, we can break down most drink ingredients into a few categories: aromatic, sour, sweet, strong, weak, succulent, and thick. Given it’s a virgin drink, anything strong (i.e. alcoholic) is out. Then, with few exceptions, thick and sour don’t really play well together, so it’s best to either choose thick (the milkshake-route) or sour (the juice-type route). The sour gives a little more flexibility in working with fruit for Fruit Groot, so juices it is.
Step 2: Figure out possible theme ingredients, eliminate the incompatible.
Brainstorming we knew we wanted to fill the glass with a full harvest bounty of fruit, so we started thinking of things to go in. Melons, coconuts, berries, herbs, bananas, citrus, stonefruit, those sorts of things. On the other hand, we didn’t want the drink to become too unfocused or cluttered, or have flavors actively clashing in the drink. Our secret, is many-a-cook’s secret: the Flavor Bible. This book has covers plenty of ingredients from A-Z, listing chef-tested compatible flavors. Deciding we wanted a fairly transparent drink, we opted to base the majority off coconut water rather than other juices, and use mint as the aromatic herbal component. We didn’t want to add anything refined for sweetness like sugar or syrups, we decided to go with cut fruit directly in the drink, specifically melon and pineapple. From here, it was trivial to eliminate anything else that wasn’t mutual compatible with everything else. The pineapple was especially helpful for being able to add some sour tartness without requiring extra sweetness the way say citrus, or cranberry might. We also decided a bit of extra pineapple juice wouldn’t hurt the clarity too much, to deliver the tart better than spears alone could.
No one will admit it, but they all have it.
Step 3: Verify we’ve loaded as much flavor as possible
With virgin drinks in particular the concern isn’t making a drink that’s too imbalanced, it’s about packing in enough flavor for the customer to not feel left behind. How can we do that? Make sure that the fruit is as ripe and fresh as possible, so that it can deliver it’s optimal potential sweetness and texture. Second, make sure that the herbs that go in are giving it their all. In some cases, like basil or rosemary, you can do that by muddling the hell out of it, as they have a lot to give without much bad stuff if you treat them too rough. In mint’s case, if you muddle, the drink will a) get a pasty green mush at the bottom that isn’t particularly attractive, and b) get a dose of all of those bitter mint compounds you most likely don’t want. If you don’t think mint has bitter stuff in it, try any amaro named Fernet. That’s what they’re made of. No, in this case, the thing to do is clap or slap the mint, which will press it just enough to get the good oils out of the leaves. This goes for the garnish in the drink, as well as all the leaves going into the ice, so that even as the drink warms and melts the ice, there’s still more flavor coming in, rather than just dilution.
Step 4: Mix and enjoy
As precise as we sometimes sound, virgin juice mixes like this have an astonishing amount of flexibility. Feel free to adjust all proportions to taste, from more pina than pina colada to an infused coconut water, to a fruit salad. Have fun.
**By the way, we just submitted this recipe to Loot Crate for their Marvelus Contest in their “Best Virgin Mixed Drink” category! If you like what we do, please vote for this and our other submissions (tagged Marvelus here and Nerd.Bar) at this link. **