Few things say summer more than a drink made with fresh pineapple juice. And I’m not talking about that stuff in a can, its label festooned with images of a sun-soaked beach and fresh, juicy pineapples literally dripping all over the Photoshopped artwork. That pasteurized crap lends little to a cocktail beyond a pineapple-flavored sweetness with the faint aftertaste of tin can.

Yet, the idea of juicing a pineapple can be daunting to many, so they stick with their inferior product because it’s just easier. But with some basic home kitchen tools and a few minutes of prep time, you can get that precious juice and then enjoy a pineapple-based drink the way the Lord (ok, that may be a stretch) intended. It’s the difference between a good cocktail and a great one.

How to attack this beast of a fruit? I start by lopping off the top and bottom of the pineapple so that it will stay put on my cutting board. Placing one of the cut sides down on my board, I then take my large serrated knife (the Bread Sword, as it’s known in my circle of restaurant friends) and remove the skin. Once I’ve gotten all of the hard skin and tough dark knobs peeled away, I should have nothing left but an orb of juicy, yellow fruit.

Gene Danenhower

Gene Danenhower

I then break the pineapple down into smaller chunks and puree the whole thing in a food processor. Using what I’ve always referred to as the MacGyver Centrifuge Method. This involves nothing more than a simple salad spinner and some cheesecloth. Working in batches, the pureed pineapple is placed in the cheesecloth-lined spinner basket, and then I just get that bad boy going as I usually wood. What ends up in the bowl of the salad spinner is perfect, clear, fresh pineapple juice.

The juice can then be used in any drink that calls for fresh pineapple juice, especially my favorite summer drink, the Piña Colada. Nothing, I mean nothing, says summer like it.


• 3 oz. fresh pineapple juice
• 2 oz. aged rum
• 1 oz. cream of coconut
• 6 oz. crushed ice

Blend ingredients on high in an electric blender until smooth. Pour into a tall, chilled glass and garnish with a wedge of fresh pineapple.


Jeffrey Morgenthaler is the bar manager at Pépé le Moko and Clyde Common, the acclaimed gastropub at the Ace Hotel in Portland, Oregon. He is also author of The Bar Book: Elements of Cocktail Technique.