Coctel Noz de Coco Tropical

This creamy-cherry-cognac cocktail comes from the pages of Charles H. Baker Jr.’s 1951 classic The South American Gentleman’s Companion. It was served to Baker at the Fabulous Rio Jockey Club in Brazil, and its long name means simply “Tropical Coconut Cocktail” in Portuguese.

We went into this expecting a more-or-less standard-issue sweet creamy coconut cocktail – but in reality, the sweetness is quite restrained, taking a backseat to funky cherry and fragrant cognac (or brandy) notes. Cherry bitters weren’t around when Baker wrote his tome, but we’ve found them to be an excellent substitute for Angostura in this recipe.

Originally, the Coctel Noz de Coco Tropical was served as a blended, frappe-style cocktail. You can make it this way – but we actually prefer it shaken, with the cherries muddled in the shaker beforehand, for a flavor less muted by cold ice. Baker’s original recipe called for coconut cream, which makes for quite a thick drink, especially when blended. It’s tasty that way, but you can use coconut milk if you prefer.

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This drink can be served blended or shaken. If you’re blending, simply add all the ingredients to a blender along with about a half-cupful of ice and blend on high speed.

If you prefer it shaken, first muddle the cherries in a shaker, and then add the remaining ingredients and ice. Shake very well, and strain into an ice-filled tall glass. You can double-strain through a fine mesh strainer, but we typically only use the strainer of our cobbler shaker, or a Hawthorne strainer.

Garnish with a brandied cherry, and perhaps an edible tropical flower or some shaved fresh coconut.

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