I first encountered this concoction in a Peruvian restaurant in Soho on a Sunday night (as one does). The food was good but the drinks were better, especially when the barman gave me a shot of a mysterious golden syrup to try. It took just a fraction of a second to figure out what it was — sour, sweet and electric on my tastebuds, it was unmistakably pineapple. I was hooked.
Despite being a big fan of the fruit, I always think of it as being a bit of a naff cocktail ingredient, a delicious relic of the 80’s. And yes, I know I’ve been campaigning for a piña colada revival (even after being smirked at by barmen when ordering them), but I somehow don’t think that would get the pineapple back on the cocktail menus of civilised society.
What it needs is a bit of tasteful respectability, which is just what this syrup brings to the party — for it performs magic when it’s mixed in to drinks.
That evening I poured it in fizz (turns it in to posh, tropical juice) and had dashes of it in pisco sours (gives them an extra lively, tart edge). Here I’ve used it to make a sort of fizzy caprioska. It’s lipsmacking to say the least. Pineapple syrup, vodka, mint and cava. A heavenly combination of flavours and I promise, one won’t be enough. Good job then that this recipe makes a litre of pineapple syrup. *hic*
But, if it doesn’t cotton on and you don’t find it in cocktail bars across the land, maybe you’ll end up doing what I did last weekend — sneaking a bottle of it in to the pub to quaff with some bubbles. Bit of a reverse teenage manoeuvre and not quite the respectable reintroduction the pineapple needs, but effective at getting it noticed nonetheless.
For the syrup
- 1 large ripe pineapple, cut in to chunks
- Juice of one juicy lime
- 500g sugar
- 750ml water
- Mix the sugar, pineapple and water together in a saucepan and gradually bring it to a boil, simmer for 20 minutes, and then remove from the heat and leave to cool a little.
- Blend the pineapple using a hand blender (carefully, the hot sugary water will burn if it catches you) and place it back to simmer for 20 minutes.
- Strain the mixture through a fine sieve in to a large bowl, working the mixture in the sieve to allow as much of the syrup as possible to collect underneath in a bowl.
- Place the syrup back into the pan and simmer it for around 30 minutes to reduce it a little, you want to come out with about a litre of the stuff so will need to judge it by eye. Don’t over reduce it as it will be too thick to pour.
- When it’s ready, take it off the heat and stir in the lime juice. Decant in to a clean jar and leave to cool, then keep it in the fridge.