Thursday, August 13, 2015

Lilikoi, Take Me Away!

passion fruit cocktail
Lately, I've been dreaming of running off to a tropical Island.  I'm not sure if my wanderlust is due to the waning days of summer, feeling nostalgic for our Hawaiian wedding, or the fact that my kids have been total terrors this week, but whatever the root cause, I've found myself spending an inordinate amount of time Pinning images of abandoned beaches and exotic resorts.  Interestingly enough, none of the images on my internet tourism itinerary feature children, so I think it's entirely possible that what I'm actually lusting after is some time alone.

Lord knows I'm definitely not dreaming of taking a vacation with kids.  That, my friends, is what I like to call a nightmare.

Since we do not have any summer travel plans that involve tropical islands or time without our offspring, I'm having to make due with creating a taste of the tropics here at home.  At the current moment this involves warm evenings lounging on our deck chairs, some time spent soaking in our (blow up) pool, and a few rounds of my favorite summer cocktail, a Lilikoi Cooler.

Despite the fact that I am possibly the whitest girl you really know, I'm an Island girl at heart, and Lilikoi, or passion fruit, is my all time favorite fruit.  You could slap a passion fruit-flavored label on a jar full of raw sewage, and I would most definitely give it a try.  In Hawaii, passion fruit grows wild all over the Islands, and it's not unusual to see locals stopped by the side of the road picking up fallen fruits.  At the tail end of summer here in Los Angeles, when it's almost too hot to be outside, you'll often find passion fruit at local Farmer's Markets.  Whenever I see the wrinkly fruit begin to make an appearance at our neighborhood green market, I snatch up a few baskets, and savor the final few weeks of summer before pumpkins and squash edge out the tropical bounty.

passion fruit cocktail
Passion fruit is ripe when the skin turns purple and wrinkly.  When you're choosing passion fruit, be sure and pick up each fruit to feel the weight. 
passion fruit cocktail
Choose the heavier fruits, as those are the ones with the most seeds, which are the source of the juice and the flavor. 

lilikoi juice
Juice the passion fruit with a citrus juicer, and use the seeds to garnish your tiddly or to add some sweetness to a salad dressing.  

Lilikoi Cooler
2 ounces rum (the Hubs prefers vodka - it works with either)
2 ounces fresh passion fruit juice
1 tsp. agave nectar
club soda

In a small bowl or pitcher, combine the passion fruit juice and agave nectar.  Mix until the agave is incorporated.  If you prefer a sweeter cocktail, feel free to add more agave.

Fill one of those fancy cocktail glasses you got as a wedding gift with ice, add rum (or vodka), and passion fruit juice mixture.  Top with club soda.  

Aloha!
Lilikoi coolers taste infinitely better if enjoyed while children are asleep, and one is fantasizing about laying on a deserted beach.  Alone. 

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