Pineapple is a flawless fruit. Not only is it a tasty snack all on its own, but it's delicious when dipped in chocolate, and plays super well with alcoholic spirits of all kinds. I like to buy them whole and break 'em down myself, but I'm always a little sad to toss out the the bumpy, slightly spiky peels.
Photos by Claire Lower
In my quest to find something to do with the fragrant skin, I stumbled upon pineapple peel tea, which is made by boiling pineapple scraps — including the fibrous core — with a bit of ginger and a stick of cinnamon.
I made some, omitting the cinnamon because I just wasn't feeling it, and thought it was good, but not particularly life-changing. The pineapple flavour was there, but all of that boiling had removed the fresh, zingy quality I love so much, leaving behind a "stewed fruit" kind of taste. I mean, I drank it, and enjoyed it just fine, but didn't feel particularly moved to make it again. It did, however, provide inspiration.
Bombay just happened to be on sale.
"This would be pretty good with some gin," I thought to myself as I sipped. But rather than make more pineapple tea to mix with gin, I decided to streamline the process and chuck those (thoroughly washed) peels directly into a big ol' mason jar with 750mL of London dry gin. (You don't have to use London dry. Grab the cheapest bottle of halfway decent gin and you should be fine. You also don't have to use gin. You could try vodka or rum, though the pineapple might get a little lost in a darker spirit.)
I let everyone hang out for a few days at room temperature, shaking the jar once or twice a day, then poured the golden, tropic-scented booze back into the original gin bottle through a fine mesh sieve. I took a sip, and was very pleased with how much fresh pineapple flavour the peels had provided.
Basically, this is my new comfort spirit, and I foresee us taking many trips to the river together. Since it already has a lot of flavour infused into it, you can simply mix it with a little sparkling water and get to sipping. You can also use it to build some decidedly tropical gin cocktails. I made myself a French 75 knock-off and was thrilled with the results. To make your own, just dissolve a bar spoon of white sugar in about 50mL of gin, then top with some sparkling wine. It makes for a very pleasant brunch beverage, if I do say so myself.