Sweet and juicy, tropical fruits are a delicious and healthy way to satisfy hunger and quench thirst.
Of course, like many fruits, one of the most delicious ways to enjoy the bounties of the tropics is with alcohol, and there are many cocktail recipes that make good use of fruit juices from watermelon granita to passion fruit caipirinha. But before you bring out your cocktail glasses and tiki cups, consider using the fruit rind to serve your drinks. Not only will that lend a festive tropical appeal to the cocktails, but they also make for a super easy clean-up. Just throw your empty fruit rind into the trash or your compost pile when finished, and you don’t even need to clean a single glass.
If you wish to serve your drinks in a hollowed out tropical fruit, it helps to have the right fruit on hand. Fruits that have harder shells such as watermelons, coconuts, and pineapples are great choices, but you can also use other fruits such as cantaloupes, papayas, and even oranges and passionfruit.
To start, slice the top of the fruit open. Then using a spoon or knife, carefully excavate the flesh of the fruit without piercing the rind until it contains enough space for drinks – save the pineapple top for the ultimate summer tea. Of course, if you are using coconuts, the inside is already hollow for your convenience, so simply drain the coconut water from the shell and you are all set. For thinner-skinned fruits like cantaloupe or honeydew melons, leave a thin layer of flesh to make sure the resulting cup is sturdy enough to contain cocktails. For smaller fruits such as passion fruit and citrus, you can cut them in half to use as shot glasses. Who wouldn’t like a passion fruit jello shot topped with some boozy whipped cream?
Next, prepare the cocktails using the flesh by making juice or pulp with a blender or a food processor. Pass the processed juice through a cheese-cloth lined colander to remove the fibrous pulp. For some fruit such as passionfruit, you can extract the juice by heating the pulp and passing it through a fine mesh sieve to remove its seeds.
Finally, you can now make cocktails with the prepared juices. For example, blend watermelon juice with lime juice, simple syrup, and vodka for a refreshing treat with some bite. If you have a giant watermelon, you can use the rind as a serving vessel instead of a punch bowl. Pineapples make a fine container for a “pain killer” cocktail famous in the British Virgin Islands, made with rum, pineapple juice, cream of coconut, and orange juice. Honeydew melons make for a lovely round container for a sweet-tart cocktail made with its juice, Midori Japanese melon liquor, vodka, triple sec, and lime juice. A hollowed-out papaya makes for a tall container for a rum punch by blending papaya pulp, orange juice, triple sec, simple syrup, and white rum. Finally, passion fruit shells can be used as a shot glass for mango-passionfruit shots by adding simple syrup and vodka to mango and passionfruit puree.