The Pineapple Kingston Negroni is Drink of the Day on June 27 for International Pineapple Day. The pineapple has become a near universal symbol of hospitality, the fruit ambassador of good will. That makes us big fans here at The Drunkard’s Almanac. After all, when there’s hospitality there’s often drinking. Or there should be.
In the annals of time, few fruits have captivated the imagination quite like the pineapple. An enigmatic symbol of both exoticism and the warm embrace of hospitality, this peculiar fruit has traversed continents, leaving a mark on cultures across the globe. So today we’re going back to the Caribbean, where Europeans first encountered the fruit, and mixing the Pineapple Kingston Negroni.
Pineapples, the Symbol of Hospitality
The wild pineapple emerged from the murky depths of river drainages that snaked through the lands between Brazil and Paraguay. Nobody knows who domesticated the beast but by 1200 BC the Mayas and Aztecs were cultivating it. By the late 1400s it was a staple food of Native Americans.
So no surprise the audacious explorer Christopher Columbus found it on his a fateful journey to the Caribbean. There he stumbled upon a peculiar fruit that defied expectation. With its spiky exterior and sweet flesh the pineapple appeared as if conjured from the fevered dreams of madmen. Naturally, he brought it back to Spain.
News of this extraordinary discovery spread like wildfire. Kings and queens wanted this tantalizing fruit, but its cultivation proved elusive on the chilly grounds of the Old World.
Once colonialism took hold, plantations sprung up in the tropical reaches of the colonial powers, from the Caribbean to Hawaii, all the way to India. American colonists imported pineapples from the Caribbean. Europeans sought them from any colonial holding.
But whether to America or Europe the trade routes were slow and perilous. It was considered a significant achievement for a host to procure a ripe pineapple for guests. It became customary for hosts to display a pineapple as the centerpiece of their feasts, a proclamation of their ability to offer lavish and abundant hospitality to their guests.
Soon the pineapple became a token of friendship, a beacon of warmth and open arms. Sailors returning from long voyages would spear a pineapple on their gateposts, signaling to friends and neighbors that they were back and visits were welcomed.
We don’t see a lot of gatepost pineapples today. But the symbolism of hospitality lives on, whether as ornaments on top of hotels, lapel pins or tattoos for bartenders.
Pineapple Kingston Negroni
Celebrating International Pineapple Day opens up a lot of drink possibilities. If you’re feeling whimsical you can use the fruit itself and make a Hard Dole Whip. If you prefer something whiskey based there’s the Dirty Sock cocktail. Feeling extra tropical? Then it’s the Piña Verde to scratch that itch. Or the Bartender on Acid if, well, let’s stop there.
The Pineapple Kingston Negroni fits the bill for something stirred and direct. So we’re celebrating the pineapple with vigor and going that way in naming the Drink of the Day. It’s a member of the large family of Negroni variations.
The Pineapple Kingston Negroni comes from Shelby Allison and Paul McGee, who created it at Lost Lake in Chicago. It’s one of innumerable Negroni variations and descends directly from the Kingston Negroni. The Kingston Negroni, as we know, was created by Joaquín Simó at Death & Co. in 2009. Mr. Simó has also gifted us with the ever-popular Trinidad Sour and Naked & Famous cocktails.
The key change to making a Pineapple Kingston Negroni out of a Kingston Negroni revolves around splitting the base spirit. Rather than using only Jamaican rum it splits the rum component into equal parts of Jamaican and Pineapple rum. Pineapple and rum play very well together, so it’s no surprise people started to make pineapple infused rum. It’s widely available and our Editorial Board recommends the Plantation Stiggins’ Fancy Pineapple Rum from Trinidad and Tobago.
Pineapple Kingston Negroni
- Add all ingredients to your trusty mixing glass.
- Add ice and stir to chill.
- Strain over one large ice cube in an Old Fashioned Glass.
- Express twist over drink and garnish.