Whether summer has arrived in your neck of the woods or it’s still dragging its lazy feet (we write, staring mournfully out the window at an unending downpour), we are ready to start drinking like it’s summer. With enough warm-weather drinks, perhaps we can all will summer into existence! So we’re starting with a little inspiration from the tropics, in the guise of Clément’s Mahina Coco, a Martinique-made coconut liqueur.
Too often, coconut-flavored booze tastes like, well, sunscreen. Odds are you drank plenty of it in college. (Cough, Malibu.) But this Caribbean liqueur is made from fresh young coconut meat and rhum agricole (a version of rum distilled from sugarcane juice rather than molasses). As a result, its coconut flavor tastes genuine, rather than synthetic and oily; it’s pleasantly sweet and just begs for pineapple juice, or tropical fruits, or a big splash of rum. Try it in these three cocktails and get your summer started off right.
While Coke isn’t a mixer that mixologists often use, there’s a reason that its popularity is so enduring, whether as a Jack & Coke, rum & Coke, you name it; sometimes alcohol kicks in a flavor that works really well with the classic soda. Such is the case with Mahina Coco. Add soda (plus some vodka, to booze it up further) and it ends up tasting like a vanilla-flavored Coke—a good one, not the flavored kind they advertise—with a slight but noticeable coconut edge. Easy and addictive.
Instructions: In a tall glass with ice, stir together 3/4 ounce of Mahina Coco, an ounce of vodka, and 4 ounces of Coca-Cola. Stir briefly and squeeze in a lemon wedge. Serve with a straw.
Intermediate: Coconut & Tequila
Coconut water can work very well in cocktails, lightening them up while contributing a distinct, subtle flavor. Here we find that coconut water + tequila make for a lovely combination, with a bit of lime and a good pour of Mahina Coco in there. A great cocktail for the margarita-drinker, but entirely its own thing.
Instructions: To a cocktail shaker with ice, add an ounce and a half of reposado tequila, 3/4 ounce of Mahina Coco, half an ounce of fresh lime juice, half an ounce of coconut water, and a quarter-ounce of agave syrup (that’s agave dissolved in an equal part of hot water). Shake it all up and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime wheel.
Advanced: Piña Colada
When you’re camped out on a Caribbean beach, it’s only natural to crave a slushy piña colada. But oftentimes, they’re made from mediocre mixes or bottom-shelf rum. We created a piña colada that’s just as likable as the original—pineapple, coconut, and rum shining through—but since we’re swapping coconut liqueur in for coconut milk, it’s much, much lighter. It’s a cocktail that feels like a cocktail, rather than just dessert.
Instructions: To a cocktail shaker with ice, add an ounce and a half of white rum, an ounce of pineapple juice, an ounce of Mahina Coco, half an ounce of fresh lime juice, and 3/4 ounce of demerara syrup (that’s raw sugar dissolved in an equal part of hot water). Shake it all up and strain into a tall glass filled with crushed ice. Dash some Angostura bitters on top. Garnish with lime wheels and a lil’ cocktail umbrella… or plastic monkeys… or whatever you damn well please.