Pineapple Express


(Note: this post was originally published on January 21, 2021. The date above reflects migration to the new platform.)

The Story: A Very Stormy Christmas

Looking to change up your cocktail routine? This unique layered cocktail features sweet pineapple juice, luxurious coffee rum, and flavor-packed spiced rum for a very unexpected and show-stopping combination.

There's quite the story behind this cocktail. As many of you know, Dave and I spend time every winter on Kaua'i. This past winter (so, December of 2019) the island got slammed by a giant storm on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We ended up being without power for three days and there was a lot of damage across the island due to flooding.

This storm was a classic "pineapple express", which is a name given to a specific storm track in the Pacific. Pineapple Express systems originate near Hawaii, then rush up to the western US, bringing with them all sorts of heavy rain and high wind.

The Pineapple Express that pounded Kaua'i on Christmas Eve 2019 was the strongest storm we've been on-island for. We ended up heading back to our apartment around lunch time to hunker down for the next 24 hours as the island got battered with major wind and rain. We were a bit sad that it was Christmas Eve and we were hiding inside instead of doing something special.

Enter the rum. We had a pineapple from the farmer's market, some coffee, a bunch of rum, and not a whole lot else because many of the roads were undriveable. But we were able to create some really fun and unique pineapple-rum cocktails out of what we had! This is a slightly more sophisticated version of what we created that evening, but has all the same flavors.

Local Rum

This drink makes use of Koloa Rum, which is distilled on Kaua'i. It unites pineapple juice, coffee rum, and spiced rum for a very complex, unexpected combination of flavors. The pineapple gives the drink a tiki vibe, while the spiced rum pays homage to the fact that we created this drink over Christmas, and the coffee rum wakes all of the flavors up. The name, Pineapple Express, describes both the storm that we invented this drink during and the ingredients (pineapple and coffee)!

Is this a crazy combination? Maybe, but it totally works! And it makes me think of hiding inside during an epic storm on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning with a farmer's market pineapple and an eclectic combination of rum bottles.

Time for Some Layers!

You can see that this is a layered drink. If you're new to layered drinks, don't let them scare you off! They require a little bit of a delicate hand, but are so fun and unique. In this case, the pineapple juice with its high sugar content is densest and stays at the bottom. The coffee rum, which is 68 proof, floats comfortably over the juice because the ethanol is less dense than water. The spiced rum, at 88 proof, is much less dense and floats beautifully on top.

See? It's all just science! Thanks to the different densities of these three liquids, they actually want to layer themselves in this way. You're just helping them out a bit by using a gentle hand.

You can do it!! If you want to see another layered drink before you dive in, check out my Chai Tai. There are also some really good resources on the web for how to make layered drinks, so I suggest some Googling if you're new to them. Layered drinks are just so festive, and any of these would be great holiday drinks.

Let's Talk Ingredients

Here's what you'll need for this cocktail, as well as some thoughts, tips, and possible substitutions. If you make any substitutions, I'd love to hear about it in the comments section below.

  • Pineapple juice
  • Koloa Kaua'i Coffee Rum. I really hope you can find this, it's so special and unique! If you can't, Kahlua will work fine in its place. Or the coffee tequila from Patron!
  • Koloa Kaua'i Spice Rum. Another really special spirit that I recommend highly! If you can't get your hands on some, any high-proof, amber-colored spiced rum will work. Try to find something 85 proof or above to facilitate floating.
  • Fresh pineapple. For garnishing your beautiful creation!

Closing Thoughts

Need some serving suggestions? I think this drink would be a blast at a fancy brunch! Maybe alongside a fruit salad, some tropical waffles, and coffee or spiced muffins? We've also enjoyed it as a happy hour drink, before a "breakfast for dinner" date night with waffles. I generally don't get very excited about after-dinner drinks, but if they're part of your repertoire, then the flavors in this one would be perfect!

Regardless of how you enjoy it, this is a fun one for sure. Although it's a little bit more fun in retrospect, rather than in real-time when we were huddled inside, drinking rum by candlelight, wondering if the windows were going to blow in or get smashed by flying coconuts.

Share It

It makes me so happy to hear from you and see your creations! Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think about this recipe. If you post a photo on Instagram, hashtag #TheRogueBrusselSprout and tag me (@TheRogueBrusselSprout) in the post text so that I'm sure to see it.

Suggested Pairings

Fruity Brunch Salad

Banana Bread Granola

Wired Monkey Oat Flour Muffins

Flourless Coffee Macadamia Blondies

Chocolate Avocado Mousse Cookie Tart

Disclosure: Koloa Rum is a long-term partner and I receive free product. However, all opinions and thoughts are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep The Rogue Brussel Sprout running.

Pineapple Express

An unexpected combination of pineapple, warming spices, and coffee, this surprisingly versatile cocktail is a winner for everything from brunch to after-dinner drinks.



  • 2 oz pineapple juice
  • 1 oz Koloa Kaua'i Coffee Rum
  • 1 oz Koloa Kaua'i Spice Rum
  • Pineapple slice for garnish


  1. Given that there's no ice in this drink, I prefer to chill the glass ahead of time, as well as each of the ingredients (separately). Optional but encouraged!
  2. Pour the pineapple juice into the bottom of your glass, being careful not to splash on the sides.
  3. Very gently, float the coffee rum over the pineapple juice.
  4. Finally, and again very gently, float the spiced rum over the top.
  5. Garnish with a slice of pineapple.

Leave a Comment

Please Share Your Thoughts!

Did you make this recipe? Did you make substitutions? How did you serve it? Any helpful tips? Please share your thoughts, since these insights are really useful to both me and to other readers.

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January 30, 2021
What a combo! We’d rock this for a boozy brunch.