Julie Reiner's Pineapple Infused Cocktail
Here's your ultra-simple secret weapon for entertaining this summer: pineapple infused cocktails.
Bartender Julie Reiner knows how to get a party started: As the proprietress of bars including Flatiron Lounge and Clover Club in New York, she's been providing liquid merriment for over a decade. And she's gathered some of her best drinks in her new book, The Craft Cocktail Party ($26), which drops just in time for the summer party and picnic season.
"This is one of the simplest drinks in the book," Reiner says, "and one of the first drinks people gravitate toward when I put it out at a party." Named for Hanalei (pronounced hawn-ah-lay) Bay on the north side of Kauai in Hawaii—Reiner's home state—the Hanalei Sun is a "great first-time infusion experiment," she says, although it does require at least one week's lead time for maximum flavor.
To make three cups' worth (enough for about seven drinks), you'll need one pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into one-inch pieces; one 750-milliliter bottle of vodka or white rum; plus pineapple wedges for garnish. (It's easy to double if you're serving a large group: Just add another bottle and another pineapple to your shopping list.)
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Place the pineapple pieces and the vodka or rum in a large nonreactive metal or glass container with a lid. Cover and let it sit for one week in the refrigerator, stirring it once a day.
At the end of the week, strain the liquid through a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl, allowing the fruit to sit in the strainer for 30 minutes so as to extract all the liquid.
Discard the fruit and funnel the infusion back into the original bottle and label. That's right: Throw that fruit away. Cautions Reiner: "Don't be tempted to snack on the fruit you've used in an infusion. The booze leaches out all the fruit's flavor, leaving only the sharp bite of alcohol in its wake."
The infusion will keep for two weeks in the refrigerator. It's also ideal for tucking into a picnic basket (or other alfresco event—just grab the tightly capped bottles and take them with you).
To serve, pour three and a half ounces of the pineapple infusion into a cocktail shaker, plus ice. Shake until chilled and strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with a pineapple wedge. (cut a small incision into the fruit and perch that on the edge of the glass).
Alternatively, Reiner recommends an orchid for a tropical presentation. We won't tell if you tuck one into your hair or pin one to your lapel, too.
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