Monkey's Mother's Milk

My calendar yesterday had a recipe, in honor of the anniversary of the last episode of Gilligan's Island broadcast on this date, calling for coconut milk - and for some reason I had a can in my cupboard that I'd bought at time unknown - Malibu rum, and Goldschlaeger, with cinnamon sprinkled on top.

Not too bad: this is a clever use of Goldschlaeger with its cinnamony taste. Cinnamon is one of my least favorite spices for some reason, not that I dislike it; I'd probably skip the sprinkle if I was making it just for me.

So what is the difference between coconut milk (big can) and coconut cream (little blue can)? you ask. According to wikipedia, coconut cream contains less water than coconut cream and has a paste-like consistency, whereas coconut milk is a liquid (unless you put it in the fridge, then it starts to firm up - personal experience). According to CocktailDB, which I've started consulting a lot because it's a great site with lots of info on ingredients and very well designed, coconut milk is "Generic for the liquid made by twice steeping & twice straining the combination of coconut water, found inside the coconut fruit, grated coconut meat (the white, mealy interior of this hard-husked fruit of the coconut palm) in hot water or scalded milk." There will be a test.

Now I have an opened can of coconut milk, and you have to keep it cold, and my fridge is quite cluttered already without that too. This means I have to make drinks with it to use up the damn stuff.

I just received a nice little book I'd ordered with recipes and anecdotes from the bar at the Paris Ritz. One day soon I'll post a picture of the cover, and I'll be making some of the recipes when I'm bored with the ones in my calendar.

Its recipe for a pina colada calls for white rum (I used Cruzan citron for a little more citrus kick), cream (half and half - not that my arteries are opposed to using cream, just that I don't have any on hand), coconut milk, and pineapple juice (one little 6 oz can hiding in the back of the fridge).

This book's recipes call for everything in 1/10's of a drink, which is a real pain. What I've done is just figure that 1/10 is half an ounce (which is what, ladies and gents? right, a tablespoon) and go from there. That seems to work pretty well and makes adequate size drinks.

So, their pina colada is, well, just ok. The pineapple juice flavor comes through as if I'd put a few dashes of worcestershire sauce in it. Maybe Malibu rum would have subdued the wild pineapple better. I'm not a big Tiki drink with paper umbrella fan, as I've blathered on before, and this recipe goes in my list that I won't shake up again real soon.

I tried two more drinks later. One was equal parts dark rum and coconut milk on ice, topped with soda water. I took two drinks and tossed it out. Maybe I used too much soda - I don't think so - but it tasted like an unpleasantly watery mess. I tried adding a little more rum, but that didn't help.

The second was equal parts coconut milk and Galliano, shaken on ice, and strained. This wasn't half bad, an herbal smoothie. I wonder how it'd be with some yogurt or ice cream in it, maybe some fruit.

And the rest of the can of coconut milk went into the garbage. Enough for one weekend.