DragonFruit Syrup

Posted by TraderTiki on August 29th, 2007 — Posted in Concoctioneering, Rum, Tasting

What a nightmare. A beautiful, delicious nightmare.

Here’s some basic information on DragonFruit, also known as Pitaya. It is the fruit of a cactus, and is native to South America, but commonly planted in SouthEast Asia. There are three colors, white flesh with pink skin, red(magenta) flesh with pink skin, and white flesh with yellow skin. You can read plenty more on them at the Wikipedia Dragonfruit page.

I picked up a few of these expensive (10.99 per lb.) fruit at New Seasons, a local chain with lots of great selection on organic, tropical, and niche ingredients. This was after the produce manager gave me the whole sample fruit to eat, as it was near closing time and as of yet untouched. I couldn’t say no to such a bright colored and expensive gift. The flavor of the unmodified fruit is sweet, with almost a pear and apple flavor to it. For its looks, the taste is not very exotic. But, in hopes of experimentation, and lending its beautiful color to drinks, I absolutely had to have a few to take home.

DragonFruit and Tools

Getting the juice from this thing wasn’t difficult at all. It’s very juicy. As well, it’s also pulpy, with lots of tiny seeds. So, I cut out the flesh, stuck it in my strainer by 1/8 pieces, and muddled. Well, really crushing it to strain, but involving the same motion. The juice comes out quick, but a lot of the seeds and pulp made it through the strainer. So, into the coffee filter it went, and then began the waiting… and waiting… and waiting…. and refill, and wait, and change the filter, and wait and…. yeah, at this point the idea of a juicer, once fended off as another useless gadget, seemed to me the apex of civilization. But so, I waited, with great patience, until the last drip had dropped.

DragonFruit GutsI decided to mix it into a syrup, as I am wont to do. The flavor of the juice wasn’t punchy enough to bring itself to a drink, so I mixed it in equal parts with cane sugar and water, boiled, reduced, cooled, and refrigerated, with just a dash of Cruzan light as a preservative. The color of the syrup itself is a beautiful magenta, not quite as electric as the raw fruit, but certainly something lovely.

Of course, now the true test, the drink! The taste is not to sweet, and actually had a mild hint of citrus to it, almost like a candy orange. As well, I did not whatsoever want to disturb the color. Still, cocktail above all. So, the challenge was set. Bring out the flavors, don’t block the color. I decided to go with a bit of rum because, damnit, that’s what I do. I used Pyrat Blanco, as it is very light, and won’t burn through the flavor. I used a quarter ounce of lime to give it some kick, Parfait Amour to complement the color and the sweet flavors, and just a dash of St. Germain for some perfume.

The Pyrat Blanco, sadly, is the first of three bottles before it’s gone forever. Somewhere in California I know a few who stashed the bottles away when they were 6.99 at BevMo. So, while not wholly irreplaceable, the Blanco is no longer being produced. The good news is that by dropping the Blanco, the XO is still being made. Still, tiny rum soaked tear drops.

I enjoyed it, but the biggest test was getting it to pass the wife test. Whereas I can drink 5 rums mixed together (two of which being 151s) and call it light and crisp, she has a much more delicate palate. The verdict? “Make me one!”. Success, indeed. Perhaps if I make a few more, I can convince her a juicer is a good idea. Any product recommendations are of course invited.

Kiss of the Dragon

  • 1 oz. DragonFruit Syrup
  • 1 oz. Pyrat Blanco (sub Cruzan Light)
  • 1/4 oz. Fresh Lime
  • 1/4 oz. Parfait Amour
  • dash St. Germain

Shake with crushed ice and strain into cocktail glass.

Kiss of the Dragon

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Comment by Rick

Wow. This sounds amazing. Great pictures too. Was this a first attempt at quantities?

Posted on August 30, 2007 at 5:32 am

Comment by Dr. Bamboo

I’ll try anything with the word “dragon” in the name…I’m such a sucker for anything exotic-sounding.

Also, I love the galley tour from the previous post- you’ve realy got a top-shelf sanctuary happening. Every tiki enthusiast should have sonething like that in in his/her basement.

Posted on August 30, 2007 at 6:51 am

Comment by Rick

I have to second Dr. Bamboo’s comments on your galley. The whole time I was thinking, “I wonder if I can convince the missus that our basement needs to look like this …”

Posted on August 30, 2007 at 7:27 am

Comment by TraderTiki

Thanks for the kind words on the Galley!

I played with the quantities a bit, the recipe is about the third, after adding the St. Germain and reducing the lime juice. The DragonFruit flavor is very delicate, and it doesn’t take much to overpower it.

I’ve got about half a pint left of the syrup, so there’s not much play room, and I’m not sure when I’m going to see the Pitaya in a local market again. Though I understand for items like this, it’s best to hit the Mercados and Asian markets, as what I might consider exotic might be common to others.

Posted on August 30, 2007 at 8:29 am

Comment by erik_flannestad


I’ve tried Dragonfruit in the past, but, wasn’t really very impressed. It was a white fleshed variety which tasted kind of like a cross between a kiwi and a jicama.

Well, really, mostly like jicama. Not much flavor at all. Pleasant and refreshing, though.

I think you get a lot more bang for your buck with prickly pear fruit.

Posted on August 30, 2007 at 10:16 am

Comment by Ouroboros

Nice picture– what a gorgeous hue!

(also, I brought a bottle of St.Germain back from a recent trip to California, do keep us appraised of how you use it)

Posted on August 30, 2007 at 9:09 pm

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