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From the Jungle to the Cocktail: The Amazing History of the Pineapple


Dean Callan Monkey Shoulder pineapple pic 2

Monkey Shoulder Global Brand Ambassador Dean Callan on his passion for pineapples.

I’m on a mission… to re-instate the pineapple in bars and on cocktail menus across the world.
My quest was inspired by a visit to Cienfuegos, a brilliantly garish Cuban-inspired rum joint hidden away above a sandwich shop in New York’s East Village.

A friend and I ordered the Isle of Manhattan Fizz, a rum and gin punch with coconut, lime, soda and one of my all-time favourite cocktail ingredients – pineapple.

It got me thinking – why don’t we see many pineapples in bars these days? How did this fruit, once considered a symbol of status and hospitality, become so neglected by bartenders?

A few months later, the subject of pineapples came up again in conversation with my good friend, Jake Burger, the man behind the infamous Pina Colada pineapple-inspired Penis Enlarger cocktail. As the drinks flowed, we made a pact – let’s bring the pineapple back.

The next day the words of the great Ernest Hemmingway were ringing round my head – “Always do sober what you said you’d do when drunk” – and our mission to promote pineapples was under way.

Fast-forward to today and we’ll be singing the praises of this wonderful fruit at Hotel Monteleone on the opening day of Tales of The Cocktail.

Since tribesmen first discovered pineapples in the Brazilian jungle thousands of years ago and fermented them to make their own early alcoholic drinks, this tropical fruit has travelled on an amazing journey.

We’ll look at how Columbus first encountered pineapples in the 15th century and how this strange-looking fruit captivated his sailors who would often disappear into the jungle for days to gorge on them.

We’ll explore the little-known fact that, as pineapples were shipped back to Europe and America, this rare tropical fruit became a prized symbol of hospitality and status. And how it gradually slipped from the top of the food chain at the hands of the canned food industry.

There’ll be cocktails too of course – we’ll be creating some classic and new pineapple-inspired drinks to show how to make the best of its flavours.

And if you’ve ever wondered what the story is behind cheese and pineapple on a stick – we’ll tell you all about it (warning: this may involve the use of swords!).

Come and join us on our mission to support the not-so-humble pineapple.

Dean Callan and Jake Burger will present ‘The Pineapple, a Symbol of Hospitality’ at Tales of The Cocktail at the Queen Anne Ballroom, Hotel Monteleone, Wednesday 17th July, 12:30pm-2pm.

Click here to buy a ticket for the event.


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