Wander into a health food store and you'll discover a range of products that seek to replace soft drinks. Coconut water is part of that pack. Marketers are hoping to capture the public's attention, especially among consumers looking for a beverage without many unhealthy downsides.
Due to the trace amount of magnesium and potassium coconut water contains, it's touted as nature's sports energy drink. The beverage is now proliferating on the shelves of stores where the hip and the health-conscious gather. When coconuts are sold whole, you have to hack through the fibrous husk to get to the fresh juice suspended in the hollow core. (And something to keep in mind when you're at the store: brown coconuts are generally purchased for their flesh; so-called green coconuts are simply less mature versions, and they are used for making drinks.) The less MacGyverish among us can purchase tall cans and tetra packs of coconut water, ranging in size from 12 ounces to 1 liter. Either version will work with these concoctions.
Take heed, though: coconut water is not coconut milk. The two liquids are very different in texture and in taste. The latter is creamy and much closer in taste to the fruit from which it is it obtained. Coconut water, on the other hand, is a clear sweetish liquid with a nutty flavor. Coconut water lends itself to fruit smoothies and the types of summer cocktails we want to explore.

Kitchen equipment you'll need for each drink

  • Chef's knife or paring knife
  • Blender
  • Cutting board
  • Shot glass
  • Glass jar with lid
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Gin & Coconut Water
A gin and coconut water cocktail
Photos: Enrique Gili
 
A bracingly refreshing, no nonsense drink that's sweet, tart and a little bit spikey.

Total time: 2 minutes

Yields: 2 cocktails

Ingredients

  • 2 oz. dry gin
  • 2 oz. coconut water
  • 1 lime, quartered
  • 1 teaspoon ginger syrup
  • Ice
  • Mint sprigs to garnish (optional)
Mixing directions
  1. Combine gin, coconut water, juice of three lime wedges and ginger syrup in glass jar. Seal and shake vigorously, about 20 seconds. Pour into glass over ice and wedge of lime. Garnish with mint.
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Skinny Coconut Margarita
A coconut water margarita
 
Throwing an all ages party? Cover your bases with fruity drinks for the kids and the adult addition of tequila to make margaritas.

Total time: 5 minutes

Yields: 2 cocktails

Ingredients

  • 2 tbs. sea salt
  • 4 oz. coconut water
  • 2 oz. silver tequila
  • 2 oz. limeade
  • 1 lime, sliced
  • Ice cubes
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper, sliced (optional)
  • Mint sprigs to garnish (optional)
Mixing directions
  1. Rim glass with lime; invert glass over plate of sea salt. Combine coconut water, tequila, limeade, jalapeno and ice cubes in glass jar. Seal and shake vigorously, about 20 seconds. Pour into glass with fresh ice. Garnish with mint.
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Tropical Smoothie
Tropical smoothie with coconut water
 
For a quick breakfast combine tropical fruits in a blender and serve.

Total time: 2 minutes

Yields: 4 small cups

Ingredients

  • 16 oz. coconut water
  • 2 ripe bananas, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup frozen mango + plus extra
  • 1 cup frozen pineapple + plus extra
  • 8 ice cubes
  • Mint sprigs to garnish
Mixing directions
  1. Add coconut water, bananas, mango and pineapple to blender. Process combined ingredients in smoothie mode until creamy, about 1 minute. Add ice cubes to thin and frozen fruit to thicken. Pour into glasses and serve.

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