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How to Make Grilled Pineapple Cocktail Syrup

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How to Make Grilled Pineapple Cocktail Syrup


There aren’t many fruits that I find more suitable for Traeger’s smoky grilled flavor than the pineapple. It’s the perfect grill for dishes like Pork Al Pastor, but smoky, grilled pineapple is also a killer ingredient in cocktails. That sweet and tart pineapple flavor is enhanced even more when imbued with a smoky, grilled flavor. And to get that flavor into my drinks, I need to turn my grilled pineapple into a syrup.

To begin, grab a one-pound pineapple, trim both ends, and discard the ends. I then prepare the pineapple for grilling by cutting it into slices, about 3/4 inch thick. You can probably get about six to eight slices from one pineapple. Don’t worry about the skin, it doesn’t hurt to leave it on, and in fact I find it brings some nice flavors along with it.

From there, it’s up to you to decide how long you want to cook the pineapple on the Traeger. For a smokier, richer flavor, I cook mine over low heat and lots of smoke for about fifteen minutes per side. But if you’re looking for a more charred flavor that comes from caramelizing the fruit sugars, then high heat for about three minutes per side works great.

In the meantime, combine a pound of sugar with a pint of water in a saucepan and place over low heat, stirring constantly, until sugar is dissolved. Pour syrup into a large bowl and set aside.

When your pineapple is done cooking, cut each slice into eight or so wedges and add the wedges to the bowl with the simple syrup, tossing to coat and cover. Leave the mixture to macerate for at least 4 hours (or up to 24) in the refrigerator, stirring from time to time. Strain the syrup into a clean bowl through a fine-mesh strainer and press on the pineapple with a ladle to extract as much liquid as possible. You can bottle and refrigerate the syrup for up to 4 days (plenty to get you through the weekend).

Okay, but then what do you do with your new smoky grilled pineapple syrup? Well, my favorite recipe is San Francisco bartender Erik Adkins’ take on a classic Cuban Daiquiri variation, the Hotel Nacional Special. I can’t think of a better summer pairing with pork.

Grilled Pineapple Cocktail Syrup


  • 1½ oz aged rum
  • ¾ oz fresh lime juice
  • ¾ oz Smoky Grilled Pineapple Syrup
  • ½ oz apricot brandy
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters

Combine the rum, lime juice, pineapple syrup, apricot brandy, and bitters in a cocktail shaker or mixing glass. Fill with ice cubes and shake until cold. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime wheel and serve.

See Jeffrey’s full recipes for Smoked Pineapple Hotel Nacional Cocktail, Bacon Old-Fashioned Cocktail and our recipe for Smoked Cocktail Ice.

For more posts like this, read about the story behind how Jeffrey Morgenthaler created his Bacon Old-Fashioned Cocktail.

Smoked Pineapple Hotel Nacional Cocktail

by Jeffrey Morgenthaler

Prep Time

20 Min

Cook Time

20 Min





Sit back, relax, and stay awhile. This smoked twist on the famous Cuban cocktail is darn good. You won't know what hit you...until it hits you.

Smoked Pineapple Simple Syrup
1 pineapple
1/4 Cupwater
1/4 CupSugar
1 1/2 Ounceaged rum
3/4 Ouncefresh lime juice
1/2 Ounceapricot brandy
1 DashAngostura bitters
Ice, for shaking
1 lime wheel, for garnish
  • 1

    Make the smoked pineapple simple syrup: When ready to cook, set the Traeger temperature to 180℉ and preheat with the lid closed for 15 minutes. For optimal flavor, use Super Smoke, if available.

  • 2

    Trim both ends of the pineapple, then slice into rounds about 3/4 inch thick (leave the skin on).

  • 3

    Place the pineapple rounds directly on the grill grates. Close the lid and smoke for about 15 minutes per side.

  • 4

    While the pineapple is smoking, combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar has dissolved. Pour the syrup into a large bowl.

  • 5

    Remove the pineapple from the grill and cut each round into eight wedges. Transfer the wedges to the bowl with the simple syrup and toss to coat. Cover the bowl, transfer to the refrigerator, and let the pineapple soak in the syrup for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours, stirring occasionally.

  • 6

    Strain the syrup through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean bowl, pressing on the pineapple with the back of a ladle or large spoon to extract as much liquid as possible. If desired, pour the syrup into an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days.

  • 7

    Make the cocktail: In a cocktail shaker, combine the rum, lime juice, 3/4 ounce pineapple syrup, the apricot brandy, and bitters. Fill with ice and shake until cold.

  • 8

    Strain the cocktail into a chilled glass. Garnish with the lime wheel and serve immediately. Enjoy!

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