Vodka and pineapple juice are a popular duo in sweet, fruity cocktails, with the vodka providing a potent alcoholic punch while its neutral flavor lets the pineapple's tropical sweetness shine. You can, of course, enjoy a simple mixed drink of just vodka and pineapple juice, playing with the proportions of each to suit your tastes and experimenting with flavored vodkas for some variety.
Bring in another few choice ingredients to turn the simple drink into something more complex and satisfying. Your options are surprisingly diverse, ranging from strong, sophisticated martinis to summery, easily-drinkable spritzers.
Vodka and Pineapple Trios
A trio is just a mixed drink with three ingredients. Take vodka, plain or flavored, and pineapple juice as the first two, and for the third, try something light and refreshing (and low-calorie) such as plain soda water, flavored soda water or unsweetened iced tea. Or try cutting the pineapple juice with regular or diet soda, perhaps ginger ale, cola or lemon-lime flavor. Keep it sweet with other fruit juices, maybe cranberry or grapefruit to add some tartness, freshly squeezed lemon or lime for a sour edge, or a complementary sweet fruit juice like orange, melon or peach.
If you have a juicer or easy access to fresh juices, you might make adult versions of your favorite vegetable or green juice blends, adding cucumber, carrot or celery juices to vodka-spiked pineapple juice. It still counts as a serving of vegetables, right?
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Vodka Pineapple Martinis and More
The French martini, which was really invented in a New York City restaurant, is credited with inspiring the flavored-martini craze of the 1990s. The original recipe calls for 3 parts vodka to 1 part pineapple juice and 1 part Chambord (a black raspberry liqueur and the source of the "French" part of a French martini). Serve the drink in a chilled martini glass. Variations use flavored vodkas – try cranberry, lemon or vanilla – and different liqueurs, such as limoncello, creme de cassis (flavored with black currants) or orange liqueurs such as Cointreau.
The passion star martini is a sweet concoction comprising vanilla vodka, vanilla syrup, passion fruit puree and a muddled slice of pineapple. When it's served with a shot of champagne on the side, the drink combination goes by the attention-grabbing name of porn star martini.
Similar to a martini, but made with a greater proportion of juice and served in a highball glass, is the Pearl Harbor cocktail. It uses melon liqueur along with vodka and pineapple.
Tiki Drinks With Vodka and Pineapple
Pineapple naturally takes vodka to the tropics, where it's a suitable stand-in for the rum more commonly associated with Tiki drinks. For example, try vodka in a pina colada, a classic blend of pineapple juice, freshly squeezed lime juice and coconut cream, which is easily replaced with lighter, lower-fat coconut milk or coconut water.
For a brightly colored blue Hawaiian, add vodka, blue curacao and coconut syrup to an ice-filled highball glass first; then top up the glass with pineapple juice. Don't stir or you'll ruin the eye-catching ombre effect.
A sex on the beach cocktail uses vodka, peach schnapps and both cranberry and pineapple juices, although some recipes call for orange juice instead, along with Chambord or creme de cassis.
Another sweet and colorful Tiki drink using vodka and pineapple is a tropical sunset. Here, it's pineapple- and coconut-flavored vodkas plus pineapple juice and a splash of grenadine.
Joanne Thomas has worked as a writer and editor for print and online publications since 2004. As a specialist in all things food and drink, she has penned pieces for Livestrong, Robert Mondavi and Modern Mom, among other names. She found her first jobs in a series of kitchens before moving on to celebrate food via the written word. Thomas resides in California and holds a bachelor’s degree in politics from the University of Bristol, U.K.