Ever since a road trip to Canada seven years ago (because we could legally drink and go clubbing in Canada - thank you, Canada), I've known that gin pairs effortlessly and perfectly with grapefruit juice. It's an easy two-ingredient drink to pick up at a bar that doesn't have it's own cocktail menu and it's a lot more exciting/lower in sugar than your typical vodka + cranberry. In 2015, I discovered another unlikely contender for gin's perfect partner: pineapple juice. The tropical sweetness and light acidity of pineapple juice creates an excellent balance to gin's herbal flavor profile. An additional bonus is that pineapple juice can easily be found without any added sugar in small cans that don't need to be refrigerated (I get mine at TJs). This means less waste, which is always a plus in my book.
The beauty of gin + pineapple is that it can be presented in so many different ways, depending on how fancy you're feeling. This post will cover a more chill option that's easy to make without much planning or when you're over at a friend's house. A later post will offer a more exciting option for when you want to impress.
I was inspired to create this drink while visiting my friend during a recruiting trip at my alma mater, UW-Madison. I had recently given him a bottle of gin and both of us wanted to unwind with a movie and a drink (or two) after a long day. Since I wasn't at my own home, I didn't have access to my usual cocktail arsenal and needed some easy to find and relatively inexpensive ingredients. Enter, pineapple juice and unsweetened black tea. The beauty of this combination is that you can have it on hand in your pantry and whip it up at a moment's notice.
Later, I wanted to recreate the drink at home but didn't have any bottled black tea on hand. A ruined opportunity? Certainly not. Luckily, you can easily cold brew black tea at home if you have just 20-30 minutes of patience (you can also infuse your spirits with tea, but that's for a later post). To do this, simply fill a glass with room temperature filtered water and several tea bags. Drunk the tea bags up and down several times to start the brewing process, then let the tea sit for 20-30 minutes or until it has taken on a rich, dark brown color typical of brewed black tea. After you remove the tea bags, you can store any unused tea in the fridge. Since it doesn't have any added sugar, it should keep for several weeks!
Gin + Pineapple: Level Chill
- 2 oz gin
- 4 oz pineapple juice (it's sold in roughly 8.5 oz cans, making it perfect for two cocktails)
- 3 oz unsweetened black tea (from a bottle or cold brewed)
Pour ingredients into a pint glass over ice and stir. Easy peasy.