Nothing says relaxing on a sunny day quite like a pineapple cocktail. We've recently found our cravings for them rising along with the temperatures, so we decided to put two of our favorites up against each other and see which is the ultimate unwinding drink. We kind of played fast and loose with the rules on this one, so the only qualifications are the use of pineapple and the use of liquor.
In This Corner: Gallo Blanco's Picoso
The Setup: Doug Robson's original Mexican joint inside of the Clarendon Hotel near Osborne and Central Avenue is pretty much a staple for done-up street tacos in Phoenix. The digs are modern, clean, and metallic, but it's still a comfy place to sit around and chow on guacamole and chips.
The Good: Holy guacamole! This little cocktail sure has a kick. The word el picoso literally means spicy. The blend of jalapeño, muddled pineapple, and tequila makes for a hot and tart, yet still refreshing, drink.
The Bad: At $9/drink ($8 if it's happy hour), you can't have too many Picosos. However, our main gripe is the lack of sweetness in the drink. If they added a touch of simple syrup, it'd be perfect. Plus, when the bartender asked us if we'd be drinking outside, we didn't expect a plastic cup transfer. If we're spending $9 on a cocktail, we'd at least like to drink it out of a glass, regardless of where we're sitting. We promise that we can handle it.
In The Other Corner: Hula's Modern Tiki's Hurricane
The Setup: This midcentury Phoenix tiki bar took the CenPho hipster crowd by storm when it opened about four years ago. Since then, it's been serving up rum-heavy island-themed cocktails and a seafood-heavy menu to locals looking to get away, even if it's just for an hour or two.
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The Good: If you like rum and a lot of it, Hula's Hurricane ($8 or $6 at happy hour) is just the drink for you. The drink, which is served in a classic curvy hurricane glass, has a walloping three different rums infused with pineapple juice and vanilla bean, then topped with more juice and rum. The result is a drink layered in color that is irresistibly fun to stir up.
The Bad: The hurricane could help satisfy a sweet tooth, but if you're not in the mood for a super saccharine drink, it would definitely be too sugary. Rum was the main flavor that came through for us, with hints of pineapple and vanilla bean peaking through the aftertaste. We wish there were more tropical flavors and less liquor.
And the winner is... Hula's Hurricane. The flavor of the Hurricane was a little more well rounded, albeit sweet as heck, than the Picoso's strictly spicy and tart taste. If only we could take our drinks to go, we might consider mixing the two to make a great summer punch.