Summertime is cocktail time. It’s also a time for fundraisers that feature signature cocktails. This year, I offered two helping hands to my friend Carolyne of The Fraiche Kitchen as she prepared a Hawaiian luau-themed dinner to feed one hundred people. Carolyne’s one of the women alongside Rocky Turner, MFFO Founder, as she continues to raise money to support the education and wellbeing of girls at Saint Monica’s Children Home in Nairobi, Kenya through her non-profit organization, Mothers Fighting for Others. MFFO’s Second Annual West Coast Calendar Luau took place last weekend, and the event was another reminder that “it takes a village”, no matter where you live in this world.
Fundraisers rely on generous sponsors, and we were lucky to have Dole Packaged Foods on our side. When you think of a Hawaiian-esque cocktail, pineapple should be the first thing that comes to mind. The friendly folks at Dole provided gallons of pineapple juice that formed the basis of the evening’s signature drink. Carolyne put a twist on the traditional Cuban mojito by using fresh ginger simple syrup, and the essence of coconut, along with pineapple juice, to create a winning cocktail. It was dubbed the MFFO-jito, which may be hard to pronounce, but it’s too easy to drink. The sweet pineapple juice carries a smooth rum with ease, and we all know coconut and ginger are best buddies with the golden fruit. This is a mojito that screams summer.
Along with batches of mojitos, we cooked and served Carolyne’s tropical-inspired dishes, including Roast Pulled Pork, Lime Ginger Shrimp Skewers, Coconut and Macadamia Nut Rice Pilaf and Cole Slaw. The Cole Slaw was a colorful mix of crunchy green and red cabbage shreds, fresh cilantro, toasted peanuts and sweet Mandarin oranges tossed in a seasoned vinaigrette comprised of orange juice, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil and canola oil. Labor Day is on the way, so use the weekend as an opportunity to try either one, or both, of these ideas at your next party.
A big thank you to Dole for joining the list of sponsors. Visit the Mothers Fighting for Others website if you would like to learn more about the organization or donate to the girls at Saint Monica’s Children Home. Visit the Facebook page for more photos from the recent fundraiser.
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 ounce fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced or chopped
- Fresh mint leaves, plus more for garnish
- 4 ounces pineapple juice
- 3/4 ounce coconut rum
- 3/4 ounce white rum
- 1/2 ounce ginger simple syrup
- 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
- 1 ounce sparkling mineral water
- Lime wedges, for garnish
- For the ginger simple syrup, combine the sugar, water and ginger in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, stirring occasionally.
- Once the sugar dissolves completely, remove from heat and cool completely. Strain through a sieve to remove the ginger. Use as desired, and store the rest in the refrigerator.
- For the cocktail, toss a few mint leaves in a tall glass, and muddle to break up the pieces and release their essential oils. Add ice.
- Fill a cocktail shaker with a bit of ice as well. Pour the pineapple juice, both rums, ginger simple syrup, and lime juice into the canister, and shake well. Pour into the glass, then top with mineral water. Garnish with lime and mint.
Disclaimer: Dole provided product for this event, but no monetary compensation was received for sharing this post or recipe. All opinions are my own.