The Story Behind The Piña Verde
“I first started with the move of floating green Chartreuse over Piña Coladas,” according to San Diego bartender and the cocktail’s inventor Erick Castro. When Castro became a brand ambassador for Beefeater Gin in 2010, he started swapping out rum for gin in Piña Coladas. However, his eureka moment came when he realized that what he really liked about his experiments was the interplay between Green Chartreuse and coconut, so he took out the gin altogether.
The Piña Verde’s rise to modern classic status was a slow burn. It debuted on the menu at Polite Provisions in San Diego in 2012, though it didn’t achieve cocktail stardom until it showed up on the East Coast at NYC’s now-shuttered Boilermaker. There, it quickly gained traction with industry types, and initially became known simply as “that Green Chartreuse drink.” Castro attributes the drink’s success to the fact that it “bridges the divide between speakeasy and tiki.”
Chartreuse is rarely the sole spirit in a cocktail, but the Piña Verde showcases its potential as such. Pineapple juice, lime juice, and coconut cream balance out the spirit’s medicinal qualities, and make for a rich cocktail with vibrant notes of tropical fruit, basil, and mint.