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DIY Pineapple Liqueur with Zero Added Sugar!

Hello Friends of Cocktails. Who doesn’t love pineapple? And when you’re having pineapple in cocktails you know it’s always a fun time. That’s why today I’ll show you how you can make Homemade Pineapple Liqueur with just 3 ingredients, full of natural flavor and aroma - and zero added sugar! We’ll then use it to make two delicious cocktails, a sour and a swizzle, while even using some pineapple flavored-ice, as you know I like to use ingredients for more than just one purpose.

Before making the liqueur though, you may be thinking about why we’re going with Pineapple. Yes, Pineapple Liqueur might not be a staple on the shelves of cocktail bars, unlike the more popular Allspice Dram or Falernum. Still, there are a few commercial options out there from the usual suspects, Malibu, De Kuyper & Giffard, which actually comes in a non-alcoholic version as well. But pineapple is a versatile fruit that can be used in many ways, so why not try to make the best pineapple liqueur?

To make it you’ll only need pineapple, grain alcohol, and a little ascorbic acid, or vitamin C, for a prolonged shelf life. Again, no added sugar is needed because we’ll increase the sweetness of the pineapple with cryo-concentration. This was perfected by Iain McPherson from Panda&Sons, alongside other cool cocktail techniques, but in short we’ll freeze out some of the water content, increasing the pineapple flavor and sweetness - but we’ll also use flavored ice we create in the process!

So get ready a container and your juicer, it’s Cocktail Time!

DIY Pineapple Liqueur

● 1008g Pineapple Juice

● 176mL 96% ABV Grain Alcohol

● 1.22g Vitamin C

Begin by juicing a pineapple, remembering to keep the pineapple leaves for garnishes, then weigh the juice and measure how sweet it is with a refractometer. This one came out at 14 BRIX, meaning every 100 grams of juice contains 14 grams of sugar, which is quite sweet as far as pineapples go. Remember to always use the refractometer on a room-temp liquid, for the most accurate results, but if you don’t have one yet just replicate the process and you’ll get similar results!

Now place the pineapple juice in the freezer for long enough to freeze all the way through. You may remember this step from the time we made DIY Midori, which means the next step is to place the frozen juice on a sieve and let it melt until you have around 55% by weight of your original juice amount. For my case, this left me with 554g of Pineapple Juice with a BRIX level of 19. If you want it sweeter, let the ice melt for less time, but I think 55% is a good rule of thumb for a well ripe pineapple.

Once that’s done, the leftover pineapple flavored ice will go back in the freezer to be used in a swizzle later, and measure the volume of your pineapple juice, as we’ll add 34.5mL of grain alcohol for every 100mL of concentrated juice. To make it easier for you to get the amount right in case you have a grain alcohol with a lower ABV, I added a Pineapple Liqueur calculator here, which will also give you the amount of Vitamin C you’ll need to add.

Calculate 0.24% the volume of our cryo-concentrated juice to get the grams of ascorbic acid you’ll add, giving me 1.22g. This will help with a prolonged shelf-life but with ¾ of the liqueur being concentrated juice, I’d suggest keeping it in the fridge and using it within a few months. And the reason we don’t have to add extra sugar is that with 19 BRIX pineapple juice we’ll get to around 150 g of sugar per liter of liqueur. At 25% ABV, or 50 proof, that’s the sweet spot I’m aiming for with most liqueurs.

You can now bottle your liqueur, and if you want it to be clearer just wait a day or two for sediment to form at the bottom of the bottle that you can strain through a coffee filter. Label the bottle, and as mentioned, store it in the fridge. If you really want to crank up the pineapple flavor you could infuse the alcohol with some dried pineapple before mixing it in, but while I don’t think that’s necessary I always love to hear about your experiments and results in the comments of the episode on YouTube.

Now let’s make our two cocktails, the Pineapple Express Sour and the Jungle Bird Swizzle.

Pineapple Express Sour

● 60mL · 2oz DIY Pineapple Liqueur

● 30mL · 1oz White Rum

● 22.5mL · 0.75oz Lime Super Juice

● 2 drops 20% Saline Solution

Start by chilling the shaker, while you of course already placed a coupe glass in the freezer. Then add your ingredients, drain the ice, add the cocktail, and shake well to chill, dilute and aerate the cocktail. Then grab the chilled coupe glass, double strain the cocktail into it, and marvel at the frothy head that our Pineapple Liqueur added. For garnish I’m clipping a piece of a pineapple leaf on the side of the glass, for a beautiful presentation. Let’s give it a try, cheers!

As expected, pineapple shines as the star of the drink. It dominates in aroma, flavor, and finish, while the rum provides the backbone of the cocktail. I’m happy that even without added sugar the sweetness of the liqueur is enough to balance the cocktail, but if you have a sweeter tooth, I recommend adding a bar spoon of pineapple or simple syrup. Now, everyone knows pineapple pairs well with rum, but when you add Campari and make a Jungle Bird, people are often surprised.

We’re making it a little different today of course, and we’ll also use the ice leftover from the cryo-concentration.

Jungle Bird Swizzle

● 45mL · 1.5oz DIY Pineapple Liqueur

● 22.5mL · 0.75oz Campari

● 15mL · 0.5oz Dark Overproof Rum

● 7.5mL · 0.25oz Lime Juice

● 2 drops 20% Saline Solution

● Pineapple Ice

Start by filling a high tumbler glass 3/4 up with crushed pineapple ice, then add your ingredients on top of it. Now grab a swizzle stick, or even a bar spoon, and swizzle the cocktail, up and down through the ice. You’ll see the glass get nice and frosty as the cocktail gets diluted, then add more crushed ice, even regular one if you run out of our pineapple ice. Finally, to garnish a pair of pineapple leaves, and a maraschino cherry. We’ll need a straw as well, and we’re ready to say cheers!

You’ll have no problem getting to the Bottom of The Glass, with the wonderful balance of sweet and bitter flavors, highlighted by the tropical mix of pineapple and rum, with Campari hanging around from start to finish. So since you made it all the way here, today I’ll let you know how to make a tropical cocktail if you don’t have fresh pineapple, or Pineapple Liqueur.

All you need is to get a bottle of pineapple syrup. I recommend Liber & Co.’s Pineapple Gum Syrup because it is made with the juice from ripe, cold-pressed pineapples, cane sugar, and all-natural gum arabic, which gives the syrup a unique richness and viscosity. And yes, they have a recipe for their version of the Jungle Bird as well, but if you’d like to see another Jungle Bird variation, I made one with Campari Dust before that you can also check out. Until next time, cheers, Friends of Cocktails!


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