Perchance I was a bit mean last week with the Americano. It really is a nice drink . . . once you get to know the thing. At work, it was easy to tell who'd experienced Campari's unique astringent bitterness for the first time: Those people's eyebrows did funny things when they tasted the Americano. If you're one of those folks, you'll find this week's drink much more up your alley. While I love Americanos for myself, my favorite drink to make for a big summer party is the shamelessly retro Lei Lani Volcano.
I was introduced to the Lei Lani Volcano through the book Beachbum Berry's Intoxica! by Tiki historian extraordinare Jeff Berry. The Volcano was created at Disney's Polynesian Resort in Walt Disney World back in the 1970s. As befits a resort libation, it's a textbook faux-Polynesian umbrella cocktail: An extra-long, head-turning pink drink made from guava nectar and pineapple juice. Low-proof coconut rum provides just the right amount of social lubrication for a summer soirée. Most umbrella drinks are cloyingly sweet; a healthy dose of lime juice saves the Lei Lani Volcano from that fate. Add it all up, and you have a well-balanced, crowd-pleasing summer quencher. And a bonus: It's really easy to scale up for large gatherings.
Lei Lani Volcano If your guava nectar is white and you want a pink drink, substitute grenadine for the simple syrup, or cheat with a couple of drops of red food coloring. ¾ ounce fresh-squeezed lime juice ¼ ounce simple syrup 3 ounces guava nectar 1 ½ ounces pineapple juice 2 ½ ounces coconut rum (Cruzan tastes better; Malibu is easy to find. Your call.)
Shake everything together well with ice. Pour into a large wine glass or your favorite tiki mug. Garnish with a maraschino cherry speared to an orange slice, or with a simple sprig of mint.
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Lei Lani Volcano for 10 1 cup lime juice ⅓ cup simple syrup 1 quart guava nectar 1 pint pineapple juice 1 750-ml bottle coconut rum
Mix everything together in a punch bowl with a block of ice. Serve over ice in vessels of your choosing.
That was Last Call, in which JK Grence, bartender at Shady's, serves up booze advice. Have a question for JK? Leave it in the comments below.