Ever wondered what a Pina Colada would be like, if you could just not add rum ? Enter the Chi Chi, a vodka version of the Pina Colada. Here’s how to make one.
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What is Chi Chi?
Chi Chi is one of the oldest tiki drinks out there, and it’s essentially a Pina Colada with vodka instead of rum. So if you’re any kind of fan of pineapple and coconut, you’ll also love the Chi Chi for its simplicity and full flavor.
There are several variations on the Chi Chi, such as frozen vs shaken, or adding flavored vodka instead of plain. The version I know calls for plain vodka, and I prefer to build mine in the biggest hurricane glass I own.
Shaking will give you more dilution, and more foam from the pineapple juice. Stirring will give you less dilution and a stronger flavor. Building in the glass is a very personal decision, and I do it this way because I see Chi Chi as more of a highball than a complex cocktail.
Chi Chi Cocktail Recipe
A tropical cocktail with a cute name, pineapple and vodka based.
- 1.5 oz vodka
- 4 oz pineapple juice
- 1 oz coconut syrup
- Build in ice-filled hurricane glass.
This can get very sweet, depending on your pineapple and coconut. Cream of coconut is less sweet that coconut syrup. Fresh pineapple juice is less sweet but more acidic than carton pineapple juice.
When is this drink best ?
The Chi Chi is absolutely perfect for summer, on the beach, perhaps while you’re on vacation or at home planning your next vacation. The coconut and pineapple in this are both great ways to relax, unwind, and instantly transport your mind to a tropical paradise.
I could easily see Chi Chi served in casual settings as well as formal ones, and it’s entirely up to you how extra you want to be with the garnishes.
My thoughts on Chi Chi
I loved Chi Chi, almost as much as I loved Pina Colada. There is some merit to vodka for being so inconspicuous in a cocktail that it lets all the other flavors come through. Some like the Chi Chi more than Pina Colada for this exact reason, since it allows you to really taste both the pineapple and the coconut fully.
Chi Chi is a sweet cocktail, with an alcohol burn that’s easy to hide in all that fruity goodness. If you want to up the alcohol double the vodka, but keep in mind this is easy to underestimate.
If you like Chi Chi, you might also like…
Pina Colada – a Chi Chi with rum
Painkiller – a twist on the Pina Colada
Caribeno – a coconut water based cocktail
Notes, substitutes, and tips
The recipe calls for plain vodka, but you can use a flavored version if you want to amp up the flavor. Either pineapple or coconut is fine, but I’m guessing a citrus vodka would also work nicely here.
The sweetness in Chi Chi relies on your cream of coconut (or coconut syrup), and your pineapple juice. If it’s fresh pineapple juice, it will be acidic, not overly sweet, and it will bring some liveliness to coconut. Cream of coconut is sweet, but not as sweet as coconut syrup so keep that in mind when deciding what to use.