The Cocoanut Grove is a recipe I’ve had for years now, but never made until last night. Frankly, it looks just a bit boring when you peruse the ingredients, especially the coconut. We in the post-Piña Colada era are trained to see coconut in a cocktail and think bland and thick. But I decided to try it for a couple of reasons. First, I’ve really come to enjoy the whole blender drink in a cocktail glass subset of Tiki libations. They look (and photograph) great. And they seem to often be on the lighter alcohol content side, which I have learned from past Tiki Months is a handy set of cocktails to have in the tool belt when you voyage in the land of Zombies, Jet Pilots, and Scorpion Bowls.
- 1 part light rum (Mount Gay Eclipse Silver for me)
- 1/2 part fresh lime juice
- 1/4 part Cointreau
- 1/4 part coconut creme
- 4 parts small ice
Combine in a blender, with one ounce for each drink equaling one part. Blend until roughly smooth. Serve in a cocktail glass and garnish appropriately.
The rum isn’t the star of the show here, but use a nice middle-brow one here. You won’t taste the premium in an expensive rum, but you would sense the lame in a cheap one. The coconut creme is only a quarter part, but you still get a strong sense of it. The clear flavor is an indication of how easy it is for this ingredient to overwhelm a drink, and what a shame it is that so many recipes let it. As with any good Tiki drink, flavors not readily apparent in any individual ingredient show up in the finished cocktail. Here the surprise guest is just a hint of chocolate.
The weird spelling of the name Cocoanut Grove comes from the venue of its invention, the Cocoanut Grove club in the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.
The palm tree exotic decor was actually put in place pre-Tiki. They were set pieces from Rudolph Valentino’s The Sheik. I’m betting they sold a ton of Blood and Sands there, back in the day, but it is pretty clear how it would have become a joint that produces interesting Tiki drinks once the movement arrived. The kitchens there were where RFK was shot.
I adopted the recipe from Beachbum Berry’s Intoxica!, which doesn’t have a picture of the drink itself, unless you count the ones being held by a pair of rather smashing looking patrons….