Macadamia Nut Chi-Chi or, How to Make Your Own Pineapple Juice

by Marleigh on September 9, 2009

pineappleWhen I first volunteered to write up the Macadamia Nut Chi-Chi, I didn’t realize what I was getting myself into. As it turns out, despite many hours of research and consulting some people who know a thing or two about tiki, no one really knows anything about the Chi-Chi. A light, frothy, sweet blender concoction, the Chi-Chi (or Chee Chee, as Trader Vic had it) is essentially a piña colada made with vodka. Though I have learned much about the famed and now-defunct Chi Chi club in Palm Springs, that turned out to be a dead end insofar as any written record of the Chi-Chi cocktail goes. Both Trader Vic and Donn the Beachcomber had recipes for it, but it appears that no one took the credit.

So, being that there isn’t a flashy story to spice this drink up, we turn to something useful: making pineapple juice. Being consumed with researching, I did not realize that I was completely out of pineapple juice. Fortunately I had a fresh pineapple to put into service, so if you follow along with the pictures you too can make some fresh jugo de piña at home.

First, you need to choose a pineapple.


The easiest way to do so is to grab one of the smaller green leaves at the center of the pineapple’s crown and pull. A ripe pineapple will easily yield one of the leaves, telling you that it is ready to eat.


Next, using a sharp knife trim off the pineapple crown and bottom. Pineapples have a slight dimple in the bottom, sort of like an apple. You want to trim off enough that the entire bottom of the pineapple is flush.


Now that your pineapple will stand up on its own, set it on its end and trim off the skin, cutting in long sections down the length of the fruit. (If you have supremed citrus fruit before, this is the same principle as removing the rind and pith.) Continue doing this all the way around until you have removed all the skin. You will be left with some small brown eyes embedded in the flesh—try to cut off as many of these as possible.


Next, you will trim the flesh away from the core of the pineapple in four cuts. Cut parallel to the core, which will leave you with a roughly rectangular piece of pineapple. Turn the fruit and make another cut, which will leave you with a slightly smaller rectangle on the second and third cuts. Finally, make the same cut on the last remaining piece of flesh, which will be about half the size of the first. You should now have four “filets” of pineapple and the woody core, which you can discard.


Trim the four hunks of pineapple into ½” chunks and place them in a blender with ¼ – ½ cup of water. Blend on high speed until all of the chunks are reduced to a thick puree. You may have to do this in batches to blend all the fruit, depending on how large your pineapple was.


Pour your puree into a fine mesh strainer set over a bowl and allow it to drain. If you’re so inclined, you can use a spatula to force juice through the mesh. It should take between thirty minutes and an hour for your puree to release all its juice.


Once you have a strainer full of pulp that is no longer yielding juice when you stir it, you’re ready to decant the juice and start mixing drinks!

Macadamia Nut Chi-Chi
8 oz unsweetened pineapple juice
2 oz coconut cream (Coco Lopez)
4 oz vodka
2½ oz macadamia nut liqueur

Add all ingredients to a blender; fill with ice. Blend until slushy. Serves two to four. If macadamia nuts aren’t your thing, you can simply omit the liqueur and you will have a traditional Chi-Chi.


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How To Make Pineapple Juice :: SLOSHED!
September 9, 2009 at 2:23 pm
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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

erik_flannestad September 9, 2009 at 3:33 pm

Just 4 ounces from one pineapple? I begin to see why Dole has the market cornered!

Marleigh September 9, 2009 at 3:41 pm

Hah! No, I got about sixteen but I was mixing for one so I only measured out four ounces. I have a nice jar of fresh juice in the fridge waiting for more cocktails!

Tiare September 9, 2009 at 4:27 pm

How beautiful Marleigh! the photo on top is lovely and the garnish you made on the drink reminds me of my grilled pineapple delight – but this one is much more beautiful.

I made a chi chi a year ago i think it was but i used agricole, its a nice drink.

Your version with mac nut liqueur sounds deliscious but where to find mac nut liqueur? maybe i could do something with the nuts, just to get some flavour? any suggestion? tincture maybe?

I also like your tutorial pictures on the juicing,thats nice.


blair frodelius September 10, 2009 at 8:16 am


Thanks for the very informative info on how to prepare a pineapple. The photos are a huge help in communicating methodology.

Here’s an alternative Pina Colada recipe that I think far outshines the traditional one.

1 pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into chunks. Set aside 4 small chunks for garnish.
4 oz white rhum agricole
4 oz coconut water
3-4 cups ice

Blend pineapple into puree. Use 12 oz, then freeze rest. Add rhum, coconut water and 3 cups ice. Blend one minute. Add ice as needed. Pour into Collins glasses, garnish with pineapple slice and straw. Makes 4 drinks.


Blair Frodelius

Mr Manhattan September 10, 2009 at 7:43 pm

Intrigued by the fresh pineapple juice. But I have to ask the somewhat obvious question: how much better than tinned 100% juice is the fresh? I know the answer should be “way better” but sometimes these things (fresh vs. canned) can be surprising.



Blair, aka Trader Tiki September 11, 2009 at 10:50 am

I ended up buying a Breville juicer, it works mighty nice, even with the hard stuff. The best part is saving the pineapple rind to make Tepaché.

Mr Manhattan September 11, 2009 at 6:44 pm

Tepaché: had to look that up. Made by Mexican prison inmates as well as housewives…hmmm. Do you have a recipe?


P.S. Still wondering how fresh pineapple juice made this way compares to tinned.

Marleigh September 18, 2009 at 11:37 am

The fresh juice tastes much better on its own, but in a cocktail the difference isn’t noticeable. I gave this a try mostly because I had a pineapple but no juice—definitely something I would repeat if I were going to make, say, a pineapple sorbet, but not something I’d bother with for everyday cocktail mixing.

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