Crafting Coconut Water Cocktails

Refresh Cocktail with coconut water

Making any drinks with coconut water? Why not?

Today, coconut water is nearly a billion-dollar industry. Global demand for coconut water grew by 168% from 2010 to 2013 and the number of new products has skyrocketed, increasing 540% between 2008 and 2012.

A few bartenders, especially those with a tropical inclination, have experimented with using coconut water in drinks, to good effect. Rum, obviously, makes a natural match, as do drinks using tropical juices or flavors. But interestingly, coconut water is still mostly a rarity in bars and restaurants, whether sold alone, in non-alcohol mixtures or in cocktails.

The overall reputation of coconut water as healthful and refreshing has made it a must have in health food stores and convenience stores, and these days, the brands are everywhere.

Vita Coco, the leader in the US, is credited as the creator of the market. The independently owned brand originated in Brooklyn a decade ago, when co-founders Ira Lira and Michael Kirban struck up a conversation with two Brazilian women in a bar. Soon after they launched Vita Coco in its Tetra packs in New York; last year the brand sold almost $270 million worth, nearly 300 times what it did in 2004 the year the brand was introduced. It now controls about 60% of the market

Zico is the second largest US brand, owned by Coca-Cola, which says sales doubled last year to $87 million. Together with third ranked, Pepsi-owned O.N.E., these three players have majority control over the market which has grown from virtually zero sales in 2004 to almost $400 million in the US alone.

Coconut water, by the way, isn’t coconut milk or cream, both manufactured products. It’s the clear liquid located inside a young, green coconut. A cup of coconut water has only 46 calories and is fat free as well as cholesterol free. Along with being low in calories and fat, coconut water provides other minerals that are beneficial, with one cup providing about 10% of daily magnesium values and 6% of calcium. It’s also a good source of potassium - 12 to 14% of daily value, and fairly low in sodium. Along with the fact that coconut water is low in sugar, it’s easy to see why coconut water is considered a healthy beverage alternative to soft drinks and even fruit juices.

Looking for a chance to be on-trend without making a major commitment? Seems like the way coconut water is growing, your customers probably already want it. Now it’s up to you to just sell it to them.

Try one of these coconut water cocktail.

Courtesy of Clink at The Liberty Hotel, Boston

2 ounces VeeV Açai Spirit
2 ounces Vita Coco Coconut Water 
1 ounce Passion Fruit Purée
1 Orange Slice for Garnish

Combine VeeV, coconut water and passion fruit pure, shake with ice and strain into martini glass. Garnish with orange slice.

Refresh Cocktail with Coconut Water


Coco Light Martini 
Courtesy of Ciroc

1 1/2 ounces Unsweetened Coconut Water 
1 1/2 ounces Ciroc Coconut Vodka 
1 ounce Pineapple Juice 
1/4 ounce Fresh Lime Juice 
Lemon Twist for Garnish 

Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes. Shake well. Strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Ciroc Coco Light Martini with Coconut Water