Rescue Your Rinds

A simple technique turns spent pineapple peels into a rich cordial, ideal for tropical sours, highballs and more.

Once a pineapple has been juiced for a Piña Colada or Jungle Bird and its fronds have been deployed as a crowning garnish, the spiky remnants of the rind are often discarded—but there’s still plenty of fruit left behind. Those green odds and ends, typically considered waste, present an opportunity to create an entirely new cocktail ingredient ideal for upgrading sours, highballs and more.

“People think pineapple rinds are not very usable in terms of drinks,” says Kelsey Ramage, of the sustainability-minded cocktail collective Trash Tiki. Her Green Pineapple Cordial, however, proves otherwise. Blended with just water, sugar and basil, the result is a bright, verdant sweetener that squeezes out the last bits of life in your pineapple and adds a dose of the tropics to just about any drink.

“It has a pretty different flavor profile than straight pineapple, depending on how you sliced the pineapple and how much flesh you’ve left on there,” explains Ramage. More flesh yields a flavor akin to the fruit’s typical sweet-tart character, whereas less flesh brings out the rind’s grassy, slightly vegetal side. Even the cordial’s color—bright green from the chlorophyll in the rinds and the basil stems (which are packed with even more flavor than the leaves)—offers a new perspective on the typically golden-hued pineapple.

Though it doesn’t function as an exact one-for-one swap for fresh pineapple juice, the tropical stock certainly has its place in the canon of escapist drinks. Substituted in place of simple syrup or demerara syrup, it easily amps up a run-of-the-mill Jungle Bird or Ti’ Punch. Playing up the cordial’s grassy side, Ramage pairs it with two ounces of a rhum agricole in her own drink, the Chairs Up Daiq, alongside lemon juice and orange bitters.

Ramage points out that cocktails with a sour element—Daiquiris, Pisco Sours, Caipirinhas—would complement the cordial’s inherently sweet notes, while terroir-driven spirits like rhum agricole and cachaça are a great match for the cordial’s greener notes.

“It’d make a really cool margarita with some mezcal or tequila, and you could even add some to a little bit of Aperol,” she says. For something even simpler and at a lower-ABV, Ramage has another suggestion: “You could add a bit of sherry in there and make yourself an afternoon spritz.”

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Tagged: tropical drinks