Mango & Rum Tropical Sunrise Cocktail
July 13, 2021
It’s been a few years since I’ve visited a tropical island, or even laid out by a pool in the sun catching some rays. But my tropical cocktail game is on point despite all that. This sweet and refreshing drink takes advantage of fresh mango season, combining puree with coconut and white rum, for a cocktail that looks like a gorgeous island sunrise, and tastes like watching one.
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Mangos might be my favorite tropical fruit. It’s tough to beat that sweet golden flesh. If you’ve never tried one before, you can think of the flavor as something similar to a pineapple or apricot, with a texture that can range from fibrous to pulpy. You can enjoy them diced, or in this case pureed.
Mango pairs well with coconut, and is commonly served alongside coconut sticky rice in Thai cuisine. That’s how I first tried it. But in this recipe, I also combine it with a little bit of acidic lime juice and sweet pomegranate grenadine to create a balanced cocktail. Rum was the natural liquor of choice for this tropical-inspired drink.
What You Need to Get Started
You can easily find all of the ingredients for this mango rum tropical sunrise at your grocery store:
- Produce: Mango, Lime, Cherries (or cocktail cherries)
- From the Bar: White rum, Coconut rum
- Optional From the Bar: Rich simple syrup, Cherry bitters, Grenadine
- Optional Pantry: Sugar, Pomegranate Juice
- Equipment: Blender or masticating juicer, Mesh strainer, Cocktail shaker, Flexible spatula, Cocktail skewer
How to Make Mango Puree
To get started, you will want to make sure you have a nice, ripe mango. These fruits are generally picked underripe for shipment, and then continue to ripen off the plant. However, if you can get your hands on freshly picked mangos locally, they will have the best taste.
Don’t rely on the color of the skin to determine ripeness, as mangos can range from green to yellow to red. Instead, give the mango a gentle squeeze. It should have some give, similar to a ripe peach or avocado.
To cut the mango, stand it upright on your cutting board, and use a large knife to cut from the top, along one of the flatter sides, around the large pit in the middle. Repeat on the other flat side. Then cut off the side edges from the pit as well. Use the tip of the knife to carefully slice chunks into the larger pieces, then peel with a spoon.
Discard the skins and the pit, and then add the mango chunks into a blender. If you have one, you can also use a masticating juicer to puree the mango. However, a centrifugal juicer will not work well. The flesh needs to be shredded into small pieces to release the juice.
If you are blending, pulse on high until the large chunks are all broken down and you have a smooth puree. Then, work the mango pulp through a fine mesh strainer to eliminate any fibrous pieces and smooth out any clumps. It’s easiest to use a flexible silicone spatula to help guide the pulp through the strainer.
Let’s Make a Mango & Rum Tropical Sunrise
Set the bowl of mango puree aside while you gather the remaining ingredients for this cocktail. I include instructions below for how to make the rich simple syrup and grenadine. However, I suggest keeping both of these on hand in your fridge if you are a frequent cocktail maker.
You will also need a cocktail shaker, the juice of half a lime, white rum, coconut rum, and cherry bitters.
Lime juice is another ingredient you can prepare ahead of time. It will store for a couple days in the fridge. But if you are making a large batch of these cocktails, you may want to juice a bunch of limes at once and add the juice to a squeeze bottle.
The cherry bitters are optional. I like the little extra flavor a couple dashes add to this drink. However, cherry bitters can be difficult to track down, and are not a common ingredient to have on hand. If you’d like to pick up a bottle, it can be a fun flavor to add to many drinks.
For rum, I knew I wanted to use coconut rum since that flavor is such a natural complement to mango. We have a homemade version, made using lightly toasted coconut-infused white rum. In fact, it’s the same Bacardi Superior that I use as the white rum in this recipe.
Fill the cocktails shaker halfway with ice, and then add in all of the ingredients except the grenadine. Once you have added all the ingredients, close the shaker to seal it, and shake it vigorously until very cold, about thirty seconds or so.
Shaking a cocktail with ice serves a couple purposes. First, it helps to chill all of the ingredients, especially since most alcohol is kept at room temperature. It also helps to dilute the drink by adding water. In this case, it helps thin out the thick mango puree, as well.
Pour the grenadine into the bottom of a chilled martini glass. A quick way to chill your glasses is to fill them with ice water while you are preparing the cocktail in the shaker. Then simply dump out the water before serving up the drink.
I suggest using old fashioned pomegranate grenadine in this recipe, and in most cocktail recipes that call for grenadine. It’s a rich and sweet syrup, but not the saccharine bright red cherry-flavored corn syrup you may picture. It’s easy to make, and there are also premade versions you can buy.
Pour the rest of the cocktail from the shaker on top of the grenadine. It will begin to mix slightly as you pour, but the heavier grenadine will mostly settle, creating a lovely sunrise effect. The bold, marigold color of the mango puree contrasts against the dark purply-red grenadine.
Finally, add a couple cocktail cherries or pitted fresh black cherries onto a skewer, and place it across the top of the glass. Little bits of cherry juice will continue to drop into the cocktail, adding even more of that gradient, sunrise effect.
Feeling tropical? You will be once you take a sip of this sweet and refreshing Mango & Rum Sunrise cocktail!
How to Serve Mango Sunrise Cocktails
These cocktails taste best when shaken and then served immediately, but many of the ingredients can be prepared in advance to make things a little bit easier, especially if serving to a crowd.
This cocktail is perfect for sipping out by the pool or on the porch during a hot summer day. You can pair it with an afternoon snack, like lemon curd sandwich cookies or sour cherry cheesecake napoleons for something a little bit fancier.
For brunch, play up the mango flavor by serving these with a savory huevos rancheros with mango-corn salsa. If you are looking for something a little sweeter, try complementing this pretty drink with a fresh cherry cobbler.
Use Up Leftover Ingredients
- Pomegranate grenadine is paired with chocolate in a decadent iced mocha latte.
- Use white rum in a fun and refreshing raspberry lemon mojito.
- Cool down with your extra mangos in a mango peach iced tea spritzer.
- Cherry bitters add a sweet flavor to a chocolate old fashioned cocktail, and garnish with some cherries as well.
Mango & Rum Tropical Sunrise Cocktail
- 1 Mango
Mango Rum Tropical Sunrise
- 1 oz White rum
- 1 oz Coconut rum
- 2 Tbsp Mango Puree
- ¼ oz Rich simple syrup see below
- 1 oz Lime Juice about half a standard lime
- 2 Dashes Cherry Bitters optional
- ½ oz Grenadine see below
- 3 Cherries optional, for garnish
Rich Simple Syrup
- 1 Cup Water
- 2 Cups Sugar
- 1 Cup Pomegranate Juice
- 1 Cup Sugar
- Halve, pit, and remove the skin from the mango, and dice it into large pieces.
- Add the mango chunks into a blender or masticating juicer, and process until smooth. If blending, press the puree through a mesh strainer using a flexible spatula until it has all gone through. Set the puree aside.
Mango Rum Tropical Sunrise
- Fill a shaker halfway with ice. Add in all ingredients except the grenadine. Shake until very cold.
- Add the grenadine into the bottom of a chilled martini glass. Strain the mango mixture on top of the grenadine, creating a layered effect.
- Garnish with three cocktail or fresh cherries on a skewer, and serve.
Syrup & Grenadine
- Prepare the rich simple syrup: Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Heat over medium-high, stirring until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is clear. Transfer to a jar or squeeze bottle and refrigerate until cold.
- Prepare the pomegranate grenadine: In a small saucepan, combine the pomegranate juice and sugar, and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Once boiling, lower heat, cover the pot, and simmer for 10 minutes. Then uncover and simmer for an additional 5 minutes, until slightly thickened. Transfer the pomegranate grenadine to a jar and loosely cover until slightly cooled, then refrigerate until cold.
- Make ahead tips:
- The rich simple syrup and grenadine can be made in advance and stored for up to three weeks in sealed containers in the fridge. You can also use store bought versions of rich simple syrup and traditional grenadine.
- Mango puree can be stored in the fridge for 3-4 days, or frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw before using.
- The cocktail itself should be made just before serving.
- Make it zero-proof: Replace the coconut rum with coconut water or a NA coconut rum, and the white rum with water.