Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Missionary's Downfall Cocktail

Missionary's Downfall cocktail

Fresh mint enlivens this Tiki “smoothie”

Want to join the green smoothie craze, but can't stand the taste? Have we got a drink for you!

Smoothies have been around since the electric blender became popular. And so have blender cocktails, like the Frozen Daiquiri. Or the Missionary’s Downfall.

OK, this drink isn’t as healthy as your typical green smoothie. But its color is striking. And it tastes sooo much better.

Besides, fresh mint is good for you. Isn’t it?


Missionary's Downfall cocktail

Recipe: The Missionary’s Downfall Cocktail

This drink was created around 1937 by Tiki impresario Donn Beach (of Don the Beachcomber restaurant fame).

Like many Tiki drinks, the Missionary’s Downfall has a fanciful name. (And a mysterious one – no one really knows how this cocktail got its name.) Unlike many Tiki drinks, however, this one doesn’t contain a great deal of booze. So it’s a “lighter” drink. But don’t worry, it has plenty of flavor.

If you don’t want to use a blender to make this drink, in the Notes we give you an alternate method.

We got our recipe from Beachbum Berry, who is a wonderful source of information for all things Tiki.

This drink takes about 5 minutes to prepare, and serves 1.

Ingredients
  • 1 ounce light rum (may increase to 1½ ounces)
  • ½ ounce peach brandy 
  • 1½ ounces unsweetened pineapple juice
  • ½ ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • ½ to 1 ounce honey simple syrup (to taste; see Notes for instructions on how to make this)
  • ¼ cup mint leaves, tightly packed
  • ¾ cup crushed ice
  • garnish of mint sprig and/or peach slice (optional)
Procedure
  1. Place all ingredients (except garnish) in a blender. Blend at high speed for 20 seconds.
  2. Pour the mixture into a cocktail glass (or a champagne coupe). Garnish, if desired, and serve.
Missionary's Downfall cocktail

Notes
  • Some people prefer to shake this drink. If you want to go that route, here’s how: First, muddle (crush) 12 fresh mint leaves in the bottom of a cocktail shaker (use a muddler or the back of a long spoon). Then add the other ingredients, shake with ice, and strain into a cocktail glass (or a rocks glass filled with crushed ice). 
  • We don’t think this cocktail looks (or tastes) quite as good when shaken, however. Better to use the blender.
  • Instead of using a cocktail glass, you could serve this drink in a champagne coupe (or even a champagne flute).
  • We described how to make honey simple syrup in our post on The Bee’s Knees Cocktail. Here’s a review: Measure out equal quantities of honey and water (say, ½ cup of each). Place the honey in a heat-proof bowl. Heat the water until hot (it doesn’t have to be boiling; a microwave works well for this). Combine the hot water with the honey, and stir until the honey dissolves. Pour the syrup into a squeeze bottle or an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use. 
  • The original recipe for this drink specifies 1 ounce of honey simple syrup. But if you’re using an inexpensive peach brandy (which is all you’ll find at most stores), we suggest starting with ½ ounce – because the cheap peach brandies tend to be really sweet. 
  • We’ve seen recipes that substitute apricot brandy for peach. Sounds worth a try. 
  • The original recipe for this drink specified light Puerto Rican rum (Bacardi is the best known brand). But any light rum will work well. 
  • Some history on blenders: The ancestor of the modern blender was invented in 1922 by Wisconsin engineer Stephen J. Poplawski. His company sold them to drugstores for making malted milks and shakes. 
  • Later, Frederick Osius – also from Wisconsin – came up with an improved design for the blender. Around 1936, he showed his design to Fred Waring (a popular musician and bandleader who had once studied engineering). Waring suggested some refinements to the machine, and began producing it as the Waring Blendor (that’s how he spelled it). Waring, who wasn’t a drinker, at first marketed his blender to health food stores – which used it to invent the smoothie. But Waring soon realized that bars offered an even better market for his product. And so frozen drinks were born. 
  • The blender has actually helped save lives (and not just those of parched bar patrons). Dr. Jonas Salk, who developed a vaccine for polio, used a special Waring blender – the Aseptic Dispersal Blendor – in his research.
Missionary's Downfall cocktail

Smooth Operators

“Love the color!” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “Is this what they mean by going green?”

“Yup, this drink is green as grass, and smooth as glass,” I said. “And not too much booze.”

“Which means we can have more than one,” said Mrs K R. “Without getting green around the gills.”

“So you’re green lighting another round?” I said.

“Absolutely,” said Mrs K R. “Unlike Kermit, I find it’s easy being green.”

You may also enjoy reading about:
Bee's Knees Cocktail
Vicous Virgin Cocktail
Classic Daiquiri
Pusser's Painkiller Cocktail
The Zombie Cocktail
The Fog Cutter Cocktail
Or check out the index for more

102 comments:

  1. Haha, funny name! It sounds wonderful and like such a fun refreshing summer drink! Peach brandy, mint and pineapple sounds like a match made in heaven.

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    1. Hi Chris, this really is a funny name, isn't it? Fun drink, though, and I love its color. Thanks for the comment.

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  2. I love this. Great recipe and the name alone is amazing. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Hi URC, the name is fun, isn't it? Neat drink. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  3. A smoothie cocktail, I like it. And I cannot eb the only one who thinks the name could lead down a dirty road hi hi. I love how Tiki drinks are making a comeback, they are so fun and flavorfull. Time to get some mint out of my garden!

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    1. Hi Evelyne, Tiki drinks are great, aren't they? Some of them are just outstanding. And all of them are fun -- particularly the oddly named ones! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  4. The name must have a story! Guess that's a need to know kind of thing :) Love a green drink and all the ingredients sound great together. Beautiful!

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    1. Hi Tricia, if the name doesn't have a story, it sure needs one! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  5. Gorgeous, and I imagine the smooth taste matches the exquisite color! Lets mix a few of these and work on a spirited story to match the name!

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    1. Hi Deb, after a few of these it might be your downfall! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  6. Ah ha ha! I can imagine these being served up at all the "juicery" places around Los Angeles. That would be pretty funny. Until sometimes decided to drive to a yoga class after imbibing! lol

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    1. Hi GiGi, they're called juice bars, aren't they? :D Thanks for the comment.

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  7. What a great summer drink! I love working with fresh herbs and think they are particularly nice in cocktails. Mint has become one of my favorites lately after trying it a couple of times.

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    1. Hi Laura, isn't mint nice? Love its flavor? And it looks gorgeous in this drink. Thanks for the comment.

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  8. Love the color and name of this cocktail. Tiki drinks are just so much fun. I'd love one or two.

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    1. Hi Karen, Tiki drinks really are fun, aren't they? Can't get enough of them! Well, I can, but you know what I mean. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  9. Fresh herbs elevate most every food that I can think of, love this drink, especially the color. Thanks John!

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    1. Hi Cheri, fresh herbs are wonderful, aren't they? Not used in cocktails as much as they should be! Thanks for the comment.

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  10. Oh my! That drink looks bright, beautiful, and delicious!!!

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    1. Hi Pam, don't you love the color of this? So pretty! Thanks for the comment.

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  11. A stunning colour, and such an interesting back story, John. Many thanks.

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    1. Hi Lizzy, that color is fantastic, isn't it? Love it! Thanks for the comment.

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  12. Mmmmm....I love all the flavors in this cocktail! And the name just cracks me up!! P.S. I'd pick a green cocktail over a green smoothie every time!

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    1. Hi Liz, that's a fun name, isn't it? :-) And I'm with you and preferring a green cocktail to a green smoothie! Thanks for the comment.

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  13. Wow this sounds wonderful and so tasty. I love all the ingredients that go into this. This is one I have to try. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

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    1. Hi Vicki, isn't this fun? And there aren't that many green cocktails out there, so this is rather different. Thanks for the comment.

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  14. With peach and honey one can't never go wrong. Love the name of this cocktail as well.

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    1. Hi Denise, peaches and honey pair so nicely, don't they? And the mint is nice as well! Thanks for the comment.

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  15. Looks like a sweet drink- just the kind I like- as long as I'm not tempted to get into the "missionary position."!

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    1. Hi Fran, LOL! And yes, this is on the sweet side. Thanks for the comment.

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  16. What a beautiful cocktail John, the green is absolutely striking! I love cocktails in a martini glass, it's such an elegant piece of stemware. And that name is wonderful...

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    1. Hi Eva, it's fun to photograph martini glasses! Preferably with something in them. :-) And isn't the name great? Thanks for the comment.

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  17. I don't see how this isn't as healthy as a regular green smoothie: you've got peach, pineapple, honey (always good for allergies!), mint, lime...it's like a superfood, basically. ;)

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    1. Hi Shannon, Superfood! Hadn't thought of it that way, but you're right. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  18. HA...not hard to imagine the reason behind the name! I love the fanciful cocktails that come by way of the islands; they are such fun to drink and always beautiful to behold.

    Now if I start making this for my morning smoothie I'll blame you for the trouble that ensues. :)

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    1. Hi Barb, ya think? :-) The island/Tiki cocktails are so much fun, aren't they? Thanks for the comment.

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  19. John, you make the most beautiful and most intriguing cocktails. And this one is no exception. Love that beautiful color too. What a wonderful way to start weekend! :)

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    1. Hi Anu, that color is amazing, isn't it? Good flavor, too, which is the important part! Thanks for the comment.

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  20. This cocktail looks so pretty and all the flavors in it...peach, honey and fresh mint...what an awesome combination!
    Hope you are having a great week John :)

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    1. Hi Juliana, this really does have fun flavors! Good ones, too. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  21. More rum, and I would love this drink! Love the color of it, and all the good flavors in it! I'm embarrassed to say I've never made a smoothie and probably never will, just not appealing to us, but this little drink definitely is. Thanks for the recipe, John and yes, mint is a healthy thing! Take care

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    1. Hi Pam, you could easily add more rum to this drink -- I don't think it'd throw the balance off at all. Thanks for the comment.

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  22. Oh yes, I love green drinks and food! But, like you, I cannot get on the green smoothie train. I need something that taste good and this will do the trick!

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    1. Hi Ashley, this is better than a green smoothie. I like kale, but not in a drink! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  23. Replies
    1. Hi Carolyn, yup. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  24. You really come up with the best cocktails. I wouldn't mind having one right now. Prost!

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    1. Hi Gerlinde, important to research new cocktails, don't you think? :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  25. Rather pretty with the blended mint floating just below the foamy surface! Love the name! It puts me in mind of those old movies set in the days of the Raj in India.

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    1. Hi Lydia, this really is a pretty drink, isn't it? Love its color! Thanks for the comment.

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  26. Mint is definitely good for you, and with the fruit juices, this is practically health food! Love the color--and any drink with rum.

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    1. Hi Lisa, maybe we should turn this into a health blog. Well, our kind of healthy foods and drinks, that is! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  27. Love the color of that drink - not to mention the ingredients. Pinning.

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    1. Hi Lea Ann, the color of this really is amazing, isn't it? Love it! Thanks for the comment.

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  28. This beats a green smoothie any day of the week! :) I've never heard of a Tiki but after going through the recipe I would says that the 1/4 cup of mint allows this to be called a green smoothie. I think mint is good for you so I'm all in with this cocktail. Thanks for introducing a very interesting and healthy cocktail. :)

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    1. Hi MJ, green smoothies are overrated. This isn't. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  29. This drink has a wonderful color indeed. I think I can tweak it for a non-alcoholic version :). Thanks

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    1. Hi Amira, this would be pretty easy to make without using booze. Maybe add a few slices of peach to the blender so you get a good peach flavor? Thanks for the comment.

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  30. I can just imagine how this tastes. Those ingredients sound amazing together. I adore the name, too.

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    1. Hi Debra, it's a fun combo of ingredients -- interesting flavor. Thanks for the comment.

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  31. Haha, love the name and, as always, chuckled at your fun banter! This is a great colour and the ingredients are very interesting. Imagining the flavour combination definitely caught my attention. Gorgeous shot, too!

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    1. Hi Robyn, fun name, isn't it? And great flavor! Thanks for the comment.

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  32. You're right, not quite as healthy as a green smoothie, but I'm sure every sip is fruity and delicious! Besides, there's health benefits to relaxing now and then, right?

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    1. Hi Kristi, relaxing is good! And very healthy. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  33. Love your fancy named cocktails! This ones got such a lovely colour and I think it would be really easy to make a non alcoholic version. Beautiful!

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    1. Hi Nazneen, this has fabulous color, doesn't it? Love it! And I agree that you could pretty easily make a nonalcoholic version of this one -- it'd be pretty good, I think. Thanks for the comment.

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  34. I'm green with envy seeing this drink. Enjoy!

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    1. Hi Beth, it's a good one! Thanks for the comment.

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  35. Absolutely stunning! What a beautiful looking cocktail. I love all your photos but I think I LOVE your cocktail pics. They are among some of the very best !!

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    1. Hi Ansh, gosh, thanks for such a nice comment!

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  36. Wow, gorgeous drink and the name is hilarious! John, I've never taken moment to think about how important a blender is to modern drink culture or the evolution of smoothies!! I tend to think of smoothies as a modern trend. Love the blender history notes :)

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    1. Hi Marcelle, I was a bit surprised to see how old smoothies were! And the name is great isn't it? As is the drink! Thanks for the comment.

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  37. I agree I cant stand the taste of those green healthy smoothies, I feel like a goat when having them. Definitely this is the green drink for me :)

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    1. Hi Raymund, nothing worse than feeling like a goat! So have one of these instead. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  38. What a great colour. I love fresh mint so this is one for me!

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    1. Hi Caroline, fresh mint is SO nice, isn't it? And you definitely taste it in this drink! Thanks for the comment.

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  39. Fascinating back story about blenders, John. I doubt I'll have prepare this cocktail but do love the name. I wonder if there's a "Nun's Regret" cocktail out there just waiting for the Kitchen Riffs' treatment?

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    1. Hi John, we should probably develop a drink called the Nun's Regret! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  40. Tiki indeed! If I were served this green drink I don't think I would expect those flavors to come across my palate. I definitely wouldn't complain though!

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    1. Hi Mary, you really taste the peach and mint in this drink. Good stuff. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  41. We're out of town (and in the middle of nowhere France). I know I'll never get my hands on peach brandy (not to mention a blender) out here, but this recipe makes me dream anyway. GREG

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    1. Hi Greg, you'll have to wait until you get back! Although I sure wouldn't be in a hurry to come back from France. Thanks for the comment.

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  42. Anything that suggests I buy some peach brandy has got to be good. Love the juices and color in this - and (unfortunately) we are still fairly tropical - so the drink fits in well with the season. I will never look at a Waring blender the same way.

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    1. Hi Claudia, the history of the blender is really interesting, isn't it? Fun stuff! Thanks for the comment.

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  43. Replies
    1. Hi Julie, ours too! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  44. I'm not a smoothie drinker, and I've felt so left out ... but no longer! (I had no idea that one of my fellow countrymen invented the blender!)

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    1. Hi Jeff, we really don't drink many smoothies either. This, though, we do. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  45. Great Post John. Truly it is one tasty cocktail with such a refreshing combination!

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    1. Hi Rahul, isn't this nice? Lovely summer drink. Thanks for the comment.

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  46. Your missionary downfall cocktail sounds so refreshing and delicious. Heck, both peaches and mint..it is practically diet and way better than any green smoothie I have come across. I think this is a great drink for the in between of the season. Thanks so much for your support and well wishes during my absence. Missed you dearly. Pinned! Take care

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    1. Hi Bobbi, practically diet! I like that. And SO happy to see you back. Thanks for the comment.

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  47. Oh my. This could be my downfall too! Sounds totally refreshing, which I could use most any day. Happy to be green!

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    1. Hi Abbe, yup, refreshing is usually sorely needed. And this drink is! Thanks for the comment.

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  48. flavorful and gorgeous drink. Thank you so much for sharing!

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    1. Hi Kushi, isn't this fun? Great drink! Thanks for the comment.

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  49. This drink sounds so refreshing. I love the combination of ingredients.I also think that the color of the drink is very striking.

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    1. Hi Dawn, the color is neat, isn't it? Love the way this looks! And tastes. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  50. I love your cocktails, John! And here's another colorful beauty! I love anything with pineapple juice and rum! Though I love eating my greens, I've never jumped on the drinking my greens bandwagon. But I can get on board with this one! :)

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    1. Hi Anne, I love greens, but don't want to drink them either! Well, except in this cocktail. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  51. I love a tropical cocktail and this looks like the perfect drink!

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    1. Hi Kiran, this is definitely a good one! And we like tropical drinks a bunch, too. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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