While coconut is not one of the most common cocktail ingredients, it is essential for making some of the best tropical drinks around, the most iconic of which is the Piña Colada. Cream of coconut and coconut rum are the most popular forms of coconut, but there are a surprising number of new coconut-flavored vodkas available that are fun to experiment with as well.
Coconut Milk, Cream of Coconut, and Coconut Water Cocktails:
Cream of coconut is the most common non-alcoholic mixer that adds the sweet flavor of coconut to mixed drinks. It is preferred because it is sweeter and thicker than coconut milk. Coco Lopez is the most popular brand of cream of coconut and can often be found in liquor stores because it is essential to making a Piña Colada. In rare occurrences, coconut water or syrup is used in drinks. All of these can be found in most grocery stores.
If you are in a pinch and cannot find cream of coconut, here are some substitutions.
- Skim the top layer off an unshaken can of coconut milk. The milk usually separates naturally into two layers while in the can and the thicker top layer is the sweeter of the two.
- Mix sweetened condensed milk with a small amount of coconut extract. 1/2 teaspoon is a good place to start, but adjust to taste.
One last note: Cream of coconut is not the same as creme de coconut, which is a (typically) rum-based liqueur and recipes using that are in the second section below.
- Bushwacker - cream
- Candy Appley - flake
- Candy Corn Oranges Jell-O Shots (shooter) - milk
- Chi-Chi - cream
- Coco Colada (non-alcoholic) - cream
- Coco Light Martini - water
- Coco Margarita - cream
- Coconut Key Lime Momtini (non-alcoholic) - milk
- Coconut Martini - cream
- Holiday Spice - cream
- Irish Encounter - milk
- Kappa Colada - cream
- Painkiller - cream
- PAMA-Tiki - sweetened milk
- Paranormal Activity - milk
- Piña Colada - cream
- (Frozen) Piña Colada - cream
- Toasted Macaroon - milk
- Tropical Cooler - milk
- Virgin Miami Vice (non-alcoholic) - cream
Coconut Liquor Cocktails:
Coconut-flavored liquors come in a few different forms. Coconut rum is probably the best known, with brands like Bacardi and Cruzan including the flavor in their lines. Malibu is the best known coconut rum, though it is technically "Caribbean rum with coconut liqueur," so it can be used in recipes that call for either coconut rum or liqueur.
Coconut vodka has become more popular in recent years and there are a number of brands that produce it, which you can find here: Guide to Flavored Vodka Brands.
Then, we have the more complicated list of coconut-flavored liqueurs, which can be labeled as coconut liqueur or creme de coconut. Popular brands include Bols, DeKuyper, Kalani, Koko Kanu, Mahina Coco Clement, and Marie Brizard. The majority of those are clear liqueurs. Batida de coco is a creamy liqueur that can be used in place of cream of coconut in drinks like the Piña Colada, Mangaroca is a popular brand. There are also a few liqueurs that combine coconut with other tropical flavors and these are typically labeled with 'tropical' in the name.
- About.com Red Ball - rum
- Adjustable Rate - pineapple coconut liqueur
- Aspenlicious - vodka
- Bahama Mama - liqueur
- Blue Hawaiian - liqueur
- Cherry Cobbler - coconut amaretto liqueur
- Coco Light Martini - vodka
- Coconut Martini - rum
- Cool Colada (shooter) - vodka
- Dancing Belly - rum liqueur
- Holiday Spice - vodka
- July 4th Colada - liqueur
- Killer Coco Chai - rum liqueur
- Malibu Storm - rum liqueur
- Mound Bar - rum
- Rock Lobster - rum
- Ski Lift - rum
- Surfer on Acid - rum
- There Will Be Rum - rum liqueur
- Toasted Macaroon - rum
- Triple Espresso Martini - rum
This collection of cocktail recipes is an ongoing project and is updated regularly.