I’d never thought of making a warm, mulled cocktail with pineapple juice, but I loved the idea. Tropical fruits are always a good antidote to cold weather, and it was unusually cold here. To start, fresh pineapple was cubed and seasoned with sugar, Aleppo pepper, cinnamon, and salt. Then, it was broiled for a few minutes per side until slightly caramelized. The pineapple was set aside until cool and then skewered on picks. For the drink itself, allspice berries, peppercorns, whole cloves, and cinnamon sticks were warmed in a saucepan before pineapple juice, rum, brandy, and a scraped vanilla bean and seeds were added. It was left to simmer for about 15 minutes before being poured through a sieve for serving.
The mulled juice smelled as lovely while it simmered as it tasted in the mug. Warm spices with sweet pineapple juice mixed well with brandy and rum. And, the spiciness of the caramelized pineapple chunks was a good contrast to the sweet flavors. I served some toasted macadamia nuts with the cocktails and imagined a view of sand and surf and tall, swaying palm trees. Mele Kalikimaka!
Recipe reprinted with publisher's permission from Winter Cocktails.
Though it calls to mind a tropical setting, the pineapple is in fact a winter fruit. It is also an iconic symbol of hospitality. Warm your home and your friends with this mulled pineapple drink that showcases both its sweet and tart flavors.
12 or more (1⁄4-inch) cubes fresh pineapple
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1⁄4 teaspoon Aleppo pepper*
1⁄4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1⁄8 teaspoon salt
Mulled Pineapple Juice
1 tablespoon whole allspice berries
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
4 cups pineapple juice
6 ounces dark rum
2 ounces brandy
1 vanilla bean pod, split in half lengthwise, seeds scraped out
*Piquant and vibrant, Aleppo is a type of crushed red pepper native to Syria. It is available at specialty markets.
For the Pineapple Garnish: Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat broiler. Line a baking sheet with foil and arrange pineapple cubes in a single layer. Combine sugar, Aleppo pepper, ground cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl. Sprinkle pineapple cubes with sugar mixture and toss to coat evenly. Rearrange pineapple in a single layer and broil until caramelized, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer tray to cooling rack. When cool enough to handle, skewer at least 3 pineapple cubes onto each of 4 short skewers or sturdy toothpicks (see page 156 for Sources).
For the Mulled Pineapple Juice: Place allspice, peppercorns, cloves, and cinnamon sticks in a medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add pineapple juice, rum, brandy, and vanilla bean and seeds and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to lowest setting and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and discard solids. To serve, place one pineapple skewer in each of 4 heat-proof cups. Ladle juice into cups.
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