Summer Survival Kit Essential #3: Rum & Coconut Water

No, not milk–coconut water.

This pleasing little cooler is a recent addition to my summer arsenal, thanks to a posting by David Wondrich on eGullet’s Fine Spirits & Cocktails forum.

Rum & Coconut Water
Fill a tall glass with ice; add 2 ounces rum–amber, aged rums are best–and top with coconut water. Relaaaaaax.

Without getting too detailed about something that I really know very little about, coconut water is the juice from a green coconut, and the flavor and appearance of this liquid are nothing at all like those of the more-familiar coconut milk.

The taste of this drink barely hints at coconut, so banish any prejudices against that flavor immediately. Instead, the water has a bright fragrance and a slightly sweet (depending on the brand) and ever-so-slightly salty taste to it. When paired with a nice aged rum–I’ve had excellent luck using Appleton V/X, Appleton Extra, and Mount Gay Eclipse–the effect on the palate is that of a nice, sweet, woody spirit reclining in a hammock. It’s so damn refreshing, and so damn easy, that my only regret is I didn’t know of it sooner.

The only challenge to this drink is finding the coconut water. Plan A, of course, is to find your own green coconut, grab a machete, then roll up your sleeves and get to work.

Fortunately, packaged varieties are available, but tracking it down may require some exploration of your nearby ethnic food stores (Mexican, Caribbean and Asian markets are good sources for this). Posters on the eGullet forum mentioned that Goya offers coconut water, and apparently a Brazilian company packages juice boxes of the stuff.

Of the two brands I’ve tried, I far preferred the Asian version, the name of which I of course can’t recall, but which was obtained at Uwajimaya, Seattle’s Asian food megamarket (it was in a blue can, if that helps). Another brand, that I’ve had more luck finding, is a Mexican brand called Del Valle. This version works ok, but it has more sugar added to it than did the Asian brand, and the chunks of coconut flesh they put in the can tend to clog up the straw in a most frustrating manner, so it’s necessary to strain the coconut water as you make the drink.

There are drinks I’m okay with, there are drinks I like, and then there are drinks I’m downright evangelical about. On certain late-summer days, when the thermometer creeps upward and I want to do nothing more than kick back and lower my internal thermostat, Rum & Coconut Water falls into the bartender’s bible-thumping category.

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10 Responses to Summer Survival Kit Essential #3: Rum & Coconut Water

  1. […] I’ve been meaning to try this for some time, having seen mention of it in an eGullet thread back in June. I bought the coconut water, but it promptly went into hiding at the back of the refrigerator, having migrated behind the infrequently-used tubs of curry paste, mango pickle and assorted whatnots. A late-August Cocktail Chronicles post on the subject reminded me that I had the stuff somewhere, which I then excavated, but again, didn’t do anything with. Today, as October wanes, I have at long last consumed a Rum and Coconut Water. Did I say the hardest part was finding coconut water? Obviously for some of us, the hardest part is getting around to making the damned thing. […]

  2. Zico Pure Coconut Water’s naturally high potassium content makes it the perfect addition to mixed drinks because it adds a mildly sweet flavor and helps to fight hang-overs.

    I like to put a Zico in the freezer for about 90 minutes and then take it out to add to a drink. Since it is vacuum packed for freshness, the liquid coconut water will turn to a slush once you peel the lid. Take that thick slush and add it to some rum and coke for a great tasting drink. Even if the drink sits for a while, you don’t get that diluted watery taste at the end but a mildly sweet flavor instead, much better in my opinion.

    Additionally, for you cooks out there, you can substitute Zico for nearly any recipe that calls for water to add a mildly sweet, unique flavor. It was the hit of the weekend at this year’s Cook Eat Drink Live event in Manhattan. Cook Franklin Becker of Brasserie called it “the find of the weekend” at the gourmet food event.

    Zico Operations Manager

  3. Zico Pure Coconut Water makes the perfect addition to mixed drinks because it adds a mildly sweet flavor, a bolder consistency and helps to fight hang-overs due to its high electrolyte content; some call it Nature’s Hangover Cure. I’ve used Zico’s pure coconut water at bachelor parties and I know this to be true from first-hand experience.

    I also like to make ICE CUBES out of coconut water and add them to drinks for an exotic note. Even if the drink sits for a while, you don’t get that diluted watery taste at the end but a mildly sweet flavor instead, much better in my opinion. Try rum on some Zico rocks.

    John R. Ferrell
    Zico Operations Manager

  4. …and that’s gonna be it for the free advertising in the comments section, guys. If you’ve got something to sell, buy an ad.

    Really, John, two near-identical comments in one month, pitching your company’s product. Unless Zico sidelines in spam, it’s time to knock it off.

  5. Can I also say I would never buy anyone who closes with “namaste” unless it’s an actual yoga class they are ending.

  6. Sam-do you even know what namaste means? become a little more culturally diverse. Namaste is a sign of respect used by many people other than a yoga class.

    Thanks John Ross Ferrell for the free ad space! What a knob.

    I did try your coconut water concoction and it is pretty delicious. I even tried it with mint leaves, limes, and rum to make a mohitio, but with coconut water. I don’t know what to call it, but it’s pretty damn good.

  7. Hahaha I love how the Zico guys are commenting. DUDE YOUR STUFF IS MADE FROM CONCENTRATE. I don’t mean to plug a product here, but Vita Coco is alot better than Zico and isn’t owned by a huge soda company….maybe like Coke and Zico…?

  8. I live in the caribbean and the first option is easiest for me. Machette and the rum bottle in hand.

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