Delicious and juicy, sweet but not too sweet, this recipe for pineapple-infused rum will give your Mojitos a fresh kick.
With spring blossoms on the trees, my taste for cocktails has turned from the smoky, spicy notes of winter drinks to the lighter spirits and crisp, bright flavors of warmer weather. After so many months on the dark side of drinks, the longer days call for something fresh. What my spring cocktails need is an infusion of real fruit.
No, I’m not thinking of some ill-advised flavored vodka favored by college kids, served in shot glasses. When I think about adding fruit to cocktails, I picture a drink with all the natural flavor of the real thing and only a hint of sweetness. To take the best of a fresh fruit and infuse its essence into a complimentary spirit, all I need is a large jar and a few days of patience while waiting for my fruit of choice to work its magic.
Choosing the Ingredients
The stone fruits and berries of summer are still a couple of months off. Lucky for me, tropical fruits abound at the grocery store this time of year, and pineapples in particular make for excellent home infusions.
The neutrality of vodka lends itself well to this kind of home bartender experiment. But keeping with the tropical theme, I decided to pair the pineapple with rum, the spirit of the Caribbean.
I brought home the ripest smelling pineapple I could find. Cut into spears, I stuffed the pineapple into a large, clean jar. In went the rum up to the edge of the jar and on went the lid. All that was left to do was wait.
Enjoying the Results
Four days later, I unsealed the pineapple-rum infusion — the smell of the islands filled my kitchen. This was one combo destined to become a Mojito.
I minced some of the soaked pineapple and muddled it in a glass with mint, lime juice, sugar, and the infused rum. The sweetness of the fruit had permeated the rum enough that I could cut back on the sugar in traditional Mojito recipe. I filled the glass the rest of the way with ice and topped it off with soda water.
The infused rum was sweet but not cloying. The muddled fruit added texture while the mint gave a shot of color and herbal contrast. One sip and I knew this was a cocktail as much for umbrella-loving drinkers as serious home bartenders — a fruit cocktail infusion made for a new season, as fresh and bright as a spring day.
Pineapple-Infused Rum Mojito
1/2 large pineapple, about 1.25 lbs.
1-1/2 cups white rum
Remove the core from the pineapple, and slice into thin, long spears. Stuff a 1-liter glass jar with upright pineapple spears. Fill the jar the remainder of the way with rum, about 1-1/2 cups or 350 ml. Seal the jar, and let sit at room temperature for at least four days.
Pineapple Mojito Cocktail
(Makes 1 cocktail)
1-1/2 ounces pineapple-infused rum
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1-1/2 ounces soaked pineapple, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
6 mint leaves
Garnish: Mint leaves
To make the Pineapple Mojito, remove two spears from the rum, and cut in a 1/2-inch cubes. Measure out 1-1/2 ounces of the dice, and add to a pint glass along with 1-1/2 ounces of the infused rum, sugar, and 6 mint leaves. Use a muddler or the back of a wooden spoon to crush the ingredients together. Fill the glass the rest of the way with ice, and top with club soda. Garnish with mint leaves, and serve.
If not using immediately, strain off the rum, remove the pineapple, and save for a dessert topping. Return the rum to the jar, and store in the refrigerator for up to a month.