September 26 is the anniversary of an important American cultural milestone: the debut of the TV series Gilligan’s Island. The series ran for 98 episodes over three seasons from 1964 to 1966 and then grew more popular over decades of syndication which continue to this day. Naturally, the debut of Gilligan’s Island calls for something special and today it’s the Piña Verde as Drink of the Day.
For anyone inexplicably unfamiliar, the Gilligan’s Island series followed the exploits of seven characters stranded on an uncharted tropical island after battling a storm during a three-hour boat tour from Honolulu. Viewers watched the strikingly dissimilar Gilligan, the Skipper, the Millionaire and His Wife, the Movie Star, the Professor and Mary Ann go through various travails. Plots typically involved some plan to get off the island, but Gilligan would inevitably mess things up and they’d be stranded until the next episode.
That hardly stretches the limits of realism compared to things like the Professor building a radio out of a few coconut shells while somehow being unable to patch the hull of their boat, the S.S. Minnow. Running gags abounded, such as the visitors that regularly washed up on the island and found a way off, all the while keeping the island “uncharted” and somehow leaving our castaways behind.
The humor was simple, largely slapstick. Noël Coward this was not. Naturally, the Millionaire, Thurston Howell III and his wife Lovey, along with Ginger the Movie Star and Mary Ann the Kansas farm girl had full wardrobes with them on the three-hour tour.
Adding in a bit of trivia, the CBS Studio backlot where lagoon scenes were filmed was adjacent to the Hollywood Freeway. Many scenes had to be shot over and over due to traffic. Mary Ann was also much more popular with men than the glamorous Movie Star, Ginger, and would receive between 3,000 and 5,000 fan letters per week. A lot of those were proposals.
But was there booze on Gilligan’s Island? Well, Thurston Howell III was regularly seen drinking Martinis and it stands to reason that distillation should be part of the Professor’s skill set. Howell even gave a Martini lesson in one episode and frequently sipped tropical drinks out of a bamboo section. But to truly capture the whimsy of the show we’ve got to find the right Drink of the Day.
Coconuts were ubiquitous on the island, so we’ll want to get them involved. The drink must also strain credibility, so we’ll double down on the assumption that The Professor could pull off passable liquor substitutions. Lo and behold, Erick Castro at his bar Polite Provisions created just the right thing: the Piña Verde, a Chartreuse-based take on a Piña Colada. We’re going all-in on Gilligan’s Island by serving in a coconut, but that is not part of the original recipe and entirely optional.
- Shaker or blender
- 1½ oz Green Chartreuse
- 1½ oz Pineapple juice
- ¾ oz Coconut cream
- ½ oz Fresh lime juice
- Garnish: mint sprig
- Add Chartreuse, pineapple juice, coconut cream and lime juice to your trusty blender.
- Add a handful of crushed ice and blend until smooth.
- Strain into vessel of your choice.
- Garnish with mint sprig.
- Alternatively, add ingredients to your trusty shaker, add ice, shake until frosty cold and strain into a glass filled with crushed ice.