Sunday, September 27, 2009

pineapple milk

This month's Mixology Monday theme, "Dizzy Dairy" (MxMo XLII), was chosen by Chris Amirault who runs the spirits and cocktail forum on eGullet. Chris gave the description as, "Any drink using a dairy product is fair game: milk, cream, eggs, butter, cheese, yogurt, curds, you name it. Given the importance of dairy products in drinks dating back centuries, there are lots of opportunities for digging through vintage receipts for a taste of the past, and as always innovation is highly encouraged."

When I heard the theme, I immediately thought of some milk and cream drinks that I had just read about in Charles H. Baker Jr.'s Jigger, Beaker, and Glass. When I opened the book up to the three Tiger's Milk variants, my eyes were immediately drawn to the other page to the Pineapple Milk a/k/a Leche Preparada Piña. Pineapple Milk was a drink Baker learned about in San Salvador as he was traveling down the Central American coastline. He described it as a "grand hot weather potation, and has been known to cause chronic invalids to take up their--and other--beds and walk." His recipe (with some of my wording) is as follows:

• 1 Pineapple
• 2 inch long piece of Vanilla Bean or 1 tsp Extract
• 1/2 cup or so of Brandy or White Bacardi
• 3 cup Milk
• Brown Sugar to taste (White is ok)

Remove top and bottom of pineapple. Pare off skin, cut into thick rings, and remove core. Blend everything together and let sit for 2 hours in the refrigerator. Garnish with orange and pineapple slices, sprigs of mint, or maraschino cherries. Makes 4 servings.
We made some adaptations to the recipe. For one, we assumed that pineapples of today, just like citrus fruits, are larger than they were in the early 1900s due to improved agricultural practices. Therefore, we used around two-thirds of a large pineapple to simulate what a 1930s pineapple might have been like. Secondly, since the drink appeared to make 4 servings (text gives no description itself of serving size, just a recipe), we upped the 1/2 cup (4 oz) of liquor to 1 cup (8 oz) to give the potion a little more kick. For spirit, we chose to go the rum route over brandy. While we could or should have used some Central American rum for authenticity's sake, our new bottle of Prichard's crystal rum called out to us so we obeyed its desire. For sweetening, we added 5 tablespoons (2 1/2 oz) of unpacked brown sugar before we reached the desired level of sweetness. Our total volume at the end was around 6 1/2 cups.

The end result was quite tasty. On the sip, the pineapple hit the tongue early with the vanilla notes in the middle, and the burn of the rum at the end of the swallow. The drink was not Piña Colada-y as first suspected. Unlike coconut which has a stronger flavor, the milk functioned to smooth over the flavors in the drink. The brown sugar also helped to neutralize some of the sharper flavors of the alcohol as well as give the drink a darker hue. After a few sips, the alcohol burn diminished greatly and we could instantly imagine drinking 5 or 6 of these on a hot day. As for liquor choice, perhaps a smoother alcohol such as a Cognac might be delightful. Other spirits that came to mind as working well with the mix were pisco and perhaps cachaça.

So thank you to Chris and the rest of the eGullet crew for hosting this Mixology Monday!


The Drink Well said...

Damn if that doesn't sound wonderful

Matthew Rowley said...

Tasty, Frederic. But 6.5 cups? You can go ahead and mail any extra to the Whiskey Forge...