Make Boozy Drinks, or Booze-Free Ones, with This Pineapple-Szechuan Pepper Cordial
There are some flavor combinations that sound awfully enticing on a cocktail menu, but seem more than a little impractical for a home bartender. Cocktails with pineapple and Szechuan peppercorn? Sign us up—as long as we’re not muddling the peppercorns or juicing the fruit for a casual Thursday night drink.
But we’ve been drinking an awful lot of pineapple-Szechaun drinks ever since we tried the Som line of cordials, new to the market. Launched by chef Andy Ricker of Portland, Oregon’s Pok Pok, they’re an evolution of the “drinking vinegars” he released a few years prior. The cordials are each a nice balance of sweet and tart, delivering rich, concentrated flavors, from Ginger to Thai Basil to Tangerine Sea Salt.
Still, it’s that pineapple we keep going back to: bright and juicy with the characteristic tingle of Szechuan peppercorns right at the end. There’s no reason this cordial needs much dressing up—it’s delicious with just ice and soda water—but it’s fun to play around, right? Here are three original cocktails we love, two boozy and one booze-free.
Booze-Free: Pineapple & Coconut
Juice some orange and lemon, add some coconut water and cordial, and you’ve already made this distinctly tropical zero-proof cocktail. Even though there’s coconut water in here—rather than coconut milk—the effect is rich and silky, creamier than you might think.
Definitely shake this one, rather than just pouring all the ingredients into the glass, to get that texture and a little froth. And while a lemongrass garnish is entirely optional—you can use a few paper straws, just the orange slice, or nothing at all—it adds to the tropical vibe (and smells amazing, too).
Instructions: In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine four ounces of coconut water, half an ounce of fresh orange juice, half an ounce of fresh lemon, and an ounce of the pineapple-Szechuan cordial. Shake until very well-chilled, then strain into a tall glass with fresh ice. Garnish with an orange slice and, if you want, a stalk of lemongrass.
Pom & Pineapple
While pineapple’s bright, distinctive flavor can be the star of a cocktail, it can also integrate with other fruits very well; here, pineapple and pomegranate are backed up by vodka. While undeniably fruity, this drink is tart enough to counter the fruit’s natural sweetness. And you can’t beat the color.
Instructions: In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine an ounce and a half of vodka, two ounces of pomegranate juice, and half an ounce of the pineapple-Szechuan cordial. Shake until very well-chilled, then strain into a rocks glass with fresh ice. Garnish with a lemon wedge and, if you want, a few short paper straws.
A classic daiquiri—no blender or mixes, please, just rum, lime, and sugar—is a beautiful drink in its own right, but also a perfect template to showcase other fruit flavors. Swapping out the simple syrup for this pineapple-Szechuan cordial gives you a cocktail that elevates the cordial’s flavors, but on a boozy, snappy backdrop. Way too easy to drink.
Instructions: In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine two ounces of white rum, an ounce of fresh lime juice, and an ounce of the pineapple-Szechuan cordial. Shake until very well-chilled, then strain into a chilled cocktail coupe. Garnish with a lime wheel.