Caribbean Cocktails at Home:  Lime in the Coconut

Caribbean Cocktails at Home: Lime in the Coconut

Well, yesterday was World Coconut Day!  What would we do without these brilliant acts of nature?  No Hawaiian Tropics smells when you open your REEF SAFE sunscreen.  No rich and creamy curry broths.  No natural elixir of electrolytes.  No multi-faceted, cure all oil.  But, most importantly, MANY of our favorite island cocktails would be without that sweet and creamy finish that is attributed to the delicious cream of the coconut.  So, today, to honor the coconuts, I thought we might put a lime in it and “drink ’em bot’ togedder” 🙂

So, I have previously given you the specific history and origin of the drink in question in these posts.  But, for the life of me I haven’t been able to find any “origin” story for the Lime in the Coconut.  I feel as though, as we move away from the more staple drinks of the Virgin Islands, I may have some trouble with giving background on specific cocktails, but I’ll do my best to entertain you with some antics specified to the drink in question 🙂

I DID however find a neat little history about the origin of serving rum drinks in a coconut!  Personal quip…The moment I decided to move to the Caribbean, I had a coconut filled with rum in it in my hand!  I was living in Denver at the time and was asked to stand up in my friends’ wedding on the beautiful island of Vieques.  About three days in, I was sitting next to the pool with that damn coconut in my hand, questioning my life choices.  “I’m doing something wrong.”

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A snapshot in time from Vieques 2012 – My moment of clarity!

Six months later, I arrived on St. John, sight unseen, with a couch to crash on and a job at Asolare.  I didn’t know a soul and arrived with a backpack, a bit under $1000 and a dream to live the next five months on that island.  That was nine years ago next month.  Stuck 🙂

But I digress….Back to the coconuts!  I found this great little history of the coconut as a cocktail vessel to be interesting and wanted to share it with all of you:

But how did the coconut shell become a go-to cocktail vessel? Those who know the difference between a mai tai and a daiquiri probably already know the story of Don the Beachcomber — legal name Donn Beach, birth name Ernest Raymond Beaumont Gantt. Beach was born far from paradise, in Limestone County, Texas. He moved to Hollywood in 1931, working odd jobs ranging from parking cars to bootlegging, in the months before Prohibition ended. In 1933, he opened up a bar called “Don’s Beachcomber,” decorated with pieces of wrecked boats and finds from his South Pacific travels.

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The original Don’s Beachcomber bar

Beach was drafted in World War II and his then-wife Sunny ran the bar in his absence: Her savvy turned the now-named Don the Beachcomber into a lucrative chain. The idea of a “tropical getaway” was officially a part of American pop culture.

Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, a leading tiki expert, saysthat the practice of drinking liquor out of coconuts likely began with 1700s-era sailors who would smuggle liquor aboard ships in the tropics by emptying a coconut and refilling it with alcohol. They’d sip through a hole in the nut, he says, which looked to ship officers as if they innocently drinking coconut water.

But it was Don the Beachcomber who first “began serving his ‘Coconut Rum’ punch in a hollowed-out young coconut shell,” Berry says. “Donn himself probably got the idea from his 1920s travels in the South Pacific and the Caribbean, where he would almost certainly have seen islanders hacking open coconuts and drinking the water.” According to Berry, who owns New Orleans tiki bar Latitude 29, copycat bars across the country started following Beach’s lead by 1937.  – eater.com

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Pretty neat huh?

Well, I know we all have our favorite Lime in the Coconut Recipe from our favorite establishments…But the recipe on this one really doesn’t deviate much from the original from place to place.  Some bars use fresh lime, some use Rose’s Lime Juice.  Some use white rum, some coconut rum and some a mixture of the two.  Some places might even up the game by adding some fresh coconut into the mix!  I’m going to share with you my go to recipe here and give you a few variations that you can play around with at the end.  I think that you will find this recipe a moderately easy one after the complexity of the Bushwhacker last week!

First, your ingredients….

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OF COURSE—Rum! – As I mentioned, some places use white rum and others use coconut.  While some use a combination of the two!  I prefer the combo for my own.  And I obviously prefer to keep it local and use Cruzan for my coconut component and either Lovango Rum or Cruzan for my white rum.  If you can’t find either of these brands at your local liquor store, Bacardi or something equivalent will work just fine.  I DO think that Cruzan’s Coconut rum is the absolute best though…And takes ANY drink up a notch.  So try to at least get your hands on that!

Cream of Coconut- This can be found in the mixer aisle of most large grocery and liquor stores.  The one most commonly used on island is “Coco Lopez” although any sweetened cream of coconut will work.  It’s a pain out of the can, but that’s how it is most widely sold.  Shake it up and pour it into a squeeze bottle for ease of use.  You will need to refrigerate it after opening but it will separate once refrigerated.  Take it out of the fridge, let it defrost a bit and give it a good shake before the “next round.”  In recent years, I have seen it at stateside grocers already IN a squeeze bottle.  If you’re lucky enough to find it, go that route!

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Fresh Lime-  You will want your fresh lime two ways…Grab a few and prep two or three for juicing with a handheld juicer.  If you are prepping for a big group, you may want to pre-squeeze a dozen or so limes.  I LOVE my cheap little Black and Decker juicer that I got on Amazon for tasks like this.  It’s inexpensive, efficient AND easy clean up!  I will warn that you’ll probably want to strain the juice after with a fine strainer.  It gets a bit pulpy…Which isn’t a big deal for a blended drink like this.  But if you’re using it for margaritas or something of the like.  Well, you get it 🙂  If you don’t feel like going the fresh squeezed route, you CAN sub Rose’s Lime Juice or Lime Juice concentrate.  But, I do prefer fresh and you will STILL want some fresh limes for wedges in the recipe.

Take one or two of your limes and cut them into half wheels, like this:

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The chunks of lime not only add some texture to the drink, they also add color and the bitter lime peels cut some of the crazy sweetness!  this, my friends, is the secret ingredient!

Ice- Weirdly…Ice is so important!  You will want to get a bag of ice from the store and make sure it is completely broken up before using it.  The old St. John bar tender trick is to slam the whole bag on the ground over and over until it is a scoop-able consistency 🙂  Larger cubes from your freezer trays won’t give you the consistency you’re looking for.

Club Soda-  The liquid component of this concoction is literally all rum and a bit of lime juice.  To get a better consistency, have some soda water on hand to splash into the mix before blending.  If you have it, LaCroix Coconut is an AWESOME level up on this small component to the drink!

Blender- You may have to upgrade your everyday household blender if frozen drinks will be a stronghold in your at home tiki bar.  You don’t necessarily need to run out and spend $400 on a Vita Mix but the standardized household blender likely won’t blend the ice down to that perfectly milkshake-like consistency.  I have a Ninja at home and it works great.  Basically, any blender that crushes the smoothie game will do the trick!

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Ice makes all the difference!

That’s it for ingredients!  Now, let’s get mixing.

1 ounce Coconut Rum

1 ounce White Rum

1 ounce Cream of Coconut

1 ounce Fresh Lime Juice

2 half wheels of Lime

Splash of Soda

Combine all of the ingredients in your blender.  Add ice until it is piles about a half inch over the liquid in the blender and blend away!  Again, the consistency should be somewhere between a frosty and a milkshake.  Try the straw test with a paper or metal straw…Not plastic!  It should stand upright without assistance.  If your drink is a bit chunky, add a splash more soda water and re-blend.  Watery?  A bit more ice and do the same.

So, I mentioned some variations to play around with.  I will NEVER forget my first frozen coconut mojito at Joe’s Rum Hut back in 2013.  It sounds complicated.  But it’s literally this exact recipe with a few mint leaves thrown into the blender mix!  If you love mojitos and lime in the coconuts, this drink takes things to the next level.  It is my absolute favorite frozen cocktail.

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Frozen Coconut Mojitos are my FAVORITE!

As far as garnishes go, a lot of places will throw a cherry on top and put a half wheel on lime on the glass.  You could grate a little more lime zest on top to elevate that limey flavor.  I LOVE the toasted coconut rim on the lime in the coconut martinis as Lovango Rum Bar but have not tried it on my frozen drinks yet.  If you go the mojito route, try it with a healthy sized sprig of fresh mint on top!

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Lime in the Coconut martinis at Lovango Rum Bar with fresh lime zest and a toasted coconut rim.

Well, I hope that these frozen concoctions help to get your holiday weekend off to a great start!  As always, feedback on your cocktail kitchen experiments is always welcome!  Next week, the Dark and Stormy.  But first, here’s a little cocktail makin’ music by my all time favorite cover band to get you off on the right foot 🙂

6 thoughts on “Caribbean Cocktails at Home: Lime in the Coconut”

  1. I’m saving all the drink recipes you’ve been sharing, and plan on making some, maybe this holiday weekend! They are truly bringing me back to St. John! Thank you!

  2. Excellent as always. Thank you so much for the link to the Eater.com story about Beachbum Berry. That was a wonderful read and now I have a new destination in Latitude 29. After our first trip to St. John (Concordia) years ago, I ordered one of Beachbum Berry’s cocktail recipe books, “Remixed”, which has been my go to for recipes. Until now. Looking forward to the Dark ‘n Stormy — my favorite drink to sip on our front porch in the summer when a storm is rolling in… Wait! Was that thunder?

  3. Thanks! You’ve hit my top 3 island drinks, and I’m loving it! Do you have the recipe for the coconut rum, Sprite and lime juice concoction from Asolare to share?

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