Give Your Piña Colada An Herbal Upgrade With This Vibrant Liqueur

Piña colada with pineapple garnish
Piña colada with pineapple garnish - WS-Studio/Shutterstock

There are all kinds of creative ways to transform and improve the traditional piña colada, but one of the most exciting involves a boozy elixir not typically associated with the tropics. Green Chartreuse, a sweetly herbaceous French liqueur, is the unexpected yet ideal upgrade to the classic island drink.

Popularized by Erick Castro, longtime bartender at Polite Provisions in San Diego, the bold addition was so unwonted that the resulting beverage couldn't remain unnamed. He called his creation the piña verde, which translates to "green pineapple," while his coworkers humorously nicknamed the drink the "Greenya Colada."

Seeking to give the piña colada an herbal kick, Castro attempted to replace the requisite rum with the herbaceous and almost medicinal gin. After years of extensive testing, he finally got rid of the rum and gin altogether, and to the fairly conventional mix of pineapple juice, cream of coconut, and lime juice, he added a shot of green Chartreuse as the base spirit. The piña verde retains the strong fruit and coconut flavors of the inspiration drink while injecting a complex blend of herbs that complements and cuts the sweetness. "If we're being honest, it's maybe [the] cocktail that I'm most proud of for creating. Mostly due to its simplicity," he told Tim McKirdy of the "Cocktail College" podcast, noting that it has just four ingredients and "does so much with so little."

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How To Make An Herby Piña Colada

Pina verde cocktail ingredients
Pina verde cocktail ingredients - tgarcia122603 / Instagram

Although Chartreuse liqueur has nearly dropped off the face of the Earth, if the piña verde takes off, the old-fashioned, brightly-colored alcohol could make a serious comeback. First produced at a French monastery in 1764, the recipe for green Chartreuse remains a guarded secret, with only two monks at any one time aware of the exact proportions of the 130 plants and herbs that are macerated together and then aged in oak casks.

While green Chartreuse is a complex liqueur to make, mixing up a piña verde is quite easy. It is simply a matter of altering the original piña colada recipe and following Erick Castro's herbal spin. All it takes is substituting the rum with green Chartreuse and pouring a shot into a cocktail shaker full of ice along with an equal amount of pineapple juice, ¾ ounce of cream of coconut (Coco Lopez is standard), and the juice from half a lime. After shaking, you'll want to strain the drink into a glass over ice and garnish it (a sprig of mint is traditional). When you take your first sip, you might be surprised to find that it doesn't taste much like a traditional piña colada at all, "which is the coolest thing about the drink," Castro told McKirdy.

Read the original article on The Daily Meal