Put the Rum in the Coconut
I blame Men’s Journal for arousing my latest craving; fresh coconut water and booze.
Twice in the magazine’s past twelve issues has an interviewee said that his favorite liquid concoction involves mixing fresh coconut water with alcohol.
First, it was Ozzie Guillen, manager of the Chicago White Sox, who shared that his esteemed drink of choice, in true Caribbean fashion, was made by slashing a coconut with a machete and then pouring the contents straight into a glass of Scotch.
I’m not sure how I feel about Ozzie as a manager (his tactics do make me laugh from time to time), but the thought of him hacking at a coconut with a razor sharp machete- half way through a bottle of single malt Scotch- sure sparked my interest.
Next, it was Jimmy Buffett, the man who the locals claim to hate (but secretly envy- who doesn’t?); and who the chambers of commerce rely on- as he draws tourists to the Keys every year looking to live out a line from one of his songs.
Buffett’s favorite creation of mixology, as he told Men’s Journal, combines coconut water, rum, a squeeze of lime, and glass full of ice- sounds refreshing doesn’t it?
Step 1- Find a coconut.
This is not as easy as you may think- although anyone living up north where there aren’t any coconut palms probably would find this step to be quite difficult to achieve.
Not to fret- if you’re unable to obtain fresh coconuts, coconut water can be purchased in your local grocery store. I haven’t tried it- but at least you know it will be the right flavor (more on that later!)
Usually, I will find coconuts lying on the ground that have recently fallen from my neighbor’s trees. “Usually” pertains to “when I’m not searching for one to crack open and pour into my booze,” so, of course, today there were none to be found.
Thankfully my neighbor, seeing me struggle to whack down a football-sized nut’ with a plastic kayak paddle, lent me her branch cutters- Thanks Sue. I was able to saw down two nice green coconuts filled full of coconut water (I could hear it swishing around as I shook them).
Step 2- Get the booze.
Now, I like Scotch… and I like rum- but seeing as it was 90 degrees with the sun baking down on my flesh the thought of Ozzie’s recipe didn’t quite attract me as much as Buffett’s concoction and the big glass of ice it was to be poured upon.
Rum it is.
Buffett’s recipe clearly states to purchase “good Carribean Rum.”
Define “good” Jimmy. Is it a relative term based on the purchaser’s salary?
If so, then I went above and beyond “good” when I splurged and spent $10 on a bottle of Trader Vic’s Gold Rum at Walgreens (yes our Walgreens sell booze down here).
Step 3- Open the coconut.
My machete needs sharpened; my health insurance doesn’t cover acts of stupidity; and I spent way too much time plucking the coconuts from the tree to spill one drop of water smashing them over a sharp rock. So, I drilled a hole with a power drill. Worked perfectly!
Step 4- Mix and Drink!
Next, I filled the glass with ice, shook the coconut until enough water drizzled out to fill the glass half way- then topped off the glass with rum. I squeezed a couple of lime wedges, garnished with a lime, and then drank…three.
Good. Not great, but good. I may have to try this again very soon as the verdict is still out- possibly tomorrow (for the sake of the blog).
The coconut water was not very sweet and almost bitter tasting in the second coconut I opened.
From what I gather the older the coconut is the more the liquid solidifies and forms the “meat.” Therefore, the younger coconuts are the ones that hold the most water and thus the best ones to use for your drinks.
I’m not sure which color of coconut holds the sweetest, but what I do know is that the green coconuts I had today did not add much life to the drinks I poured, they merely diluted the potency of the booze and added a very subtle hint of sweetness.
In theory, Ozzie’s drink makes more sense as a traditional Scotch and water (replace the water with coconut water) would probably be quite tasty. I think I would enjoy this variation more, and I think it may be research time.
To conclude, if you’re searching for a fruity tropical rum drink to sip on the beach I recommend going straight for the coconut rum (such as Malibu), and skipping all the effort that goes into obtaining fresh coconut water. The coconut water may not add the degree sweetness you’re looking for.
If though, you find yourself searching for a way to entertain your house guests, or just feel like mixing up a genuine Caribbean drink, then by all means, drill away.
Just find something better than a kayak paddle to knock the damn things out of the trees.
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