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A tiki cocktail has never tasted so good
Forget the beach vacation and sip on this tropical two-serving Chi Chi Cocktail instead. Made with pineapple juice, cream of coconut, and vodka, the smooth and slushy texture goes down easy and is so refreshing on a sunny day.
Just like our frozen Mango Margarita and blended Dirty Banana Cocktail, I’ve added frozen fruit to this blended cocktail to give it a smooth and creamy texture. It’s made with almost all of the same ingredients as a pina colada but swaps the rum for vodka. This allows for the pineapple and refreshing flavors to come through in each sip.
This is an easy chi chi recipe you can blend together in seconds and even prepare ahead of time. It’s perfect for lounging by the pool or beach days along with other frozen cocktail recipes!
What is a chi chi cocktail?
If you love the creamy and coconutty texture of a piña colada, then you’re going to love this 5-ingredient chi chi drink just as much. The distinct difference between the two is in the liquor: a chi chi is a frozen blended cocktail with vodka and a pina colada with rum. You might as well call them cousins and add them both to your list of frozen vodka cocktails for summer!
The chi chi cocktail history is a little unclear, however, it’s often credited to “Don the Beachcomber” who founded many tiki bars during the 40s and 50s. The “tiki culture” unfortunately comes from a place of cultural appropriation. Don and his employees took ingredients from various countries, used them to create cocktail recipes with interesting names (just like the slang-derived chi chi), and sold the “culture” to Americans looking for a fake island getaway.
An authentic chi chi cocktail is a frozen cocktail topped with plenty of garnishes, like pineapple slices and maraschino cherries. Serve it in a hollowed-out pineapple for an awesome presentation!
Cream of coconut vs coconut cream
Cream of coconut and coconut cream sound so similar, but they are not the same thing!
Cream of coconut is an unsweetened thick mixture of coconut and water while coconut cream is sweetened and made from coconuts, water, and sugar. If you chill and do not shake a can of coconut milk, the layer of thick coconut on top of the liquid is cream of coconut. It's delicious and fatty, in the best possible way, but not what you're looking for when making most tropical cocktails.
Coconut cream is syrupy and is used to make not only this easy frozen Chi Chi but also Piña Colada cocktails. My favorite brand to use is Coco López which supposedly was used too make the first Piña Colada. If you have a difficult time finding Coco López or an alternative in stores, try out this three-ingredient recipe for homemade coconut cream.
- Any bloomy rind cheese that is a whole wheel will work great for this recipe! Feel free to experiment with other cheeses!
Ingredients you need
This all-out vodka cocktail for summer is made with a lot of fresh ingredients. Made in a blender with vodka and ice, you end up with a tropical slush that is almost too easy to drink.
Pineapple juice can make or break your cocktail. The best flavors will come from fresh-pressed juice but if you don’t have access to it (which we don't!), canned juice will work just as well. Don’t use juice from leftover cans or bottles because it has the tendency to spoil quickly when it’s exposed to air.
Vodka is what separates the chi chi recipe from a pina colada. You can’t taste the booze in this recipe, which means you can get away with using a low to mid-priced vodka if you'd like.
Using vodka instead of rum in this cocktail means the flavor is more pineapple-forward. You can barely taste the vodka even though each glass has 1.5 ounces each! Make sure you sip slowly and only go up to 2 ounces of vodka per glass if you want to increase the alcohol.
Cream of coconut
While it’s similar to coconut cream, cream of coconut is a much sweeter alternative. It’s a staple in many tropical cocktails, helping them taste rich and indulgent. You can buy cream of coconut online or at liquor stores.
Lime juice and frozen pineapple
These untraditional ingredients really bump up the flavor in a chi chi drink. The lime adds balance while the frozen pineapple chunks add a burst of fresh flavors and make it even more smooth and slushy. You can buy frozen pineapple in grocery stores or freeze a fresh pineapple yourself and serve the finished cocktail inside the hollowed fruit!
To freeze fresh pineapple, chop and freeze the fruit pieces on a parchment-lined baking sheet. They’ll fully freeze overnight and will be ready to use the next day.
As always, freshly made ice is best!
Nothing makes a cocktail more fun than a cute and easy garnish! For this easy tropical cocktail, you can go all out or keep it simple with some of these ideas:
- Cherries - maraschinos are a great classic addition, luxardo cherries will make the drink fancy, and fresh are great when they are in season.
- Pineapple - cut cute wedges of fresh pineapple, grill some slices if you're already grilling, or try some of these pretty dehydrated dried pineapple slices.
- Lime - since lime is an ingredient in this creamy cocktail, a wedge or wheel of fresh lime would also be a great garnish!
How to make a chi chi cocktail
Grab your high-powered blender (we love the Vitamix!) and let’s get started! Making this frozen cocktail is easy:
Step 1: Add all of the ingredients to a high powered blender.
Step 2: Blend until smooth. Pour in a glass, top with a pineapple wedge and a cherry, and enjoy!
There are only a few tips you should know when making this frozen cocktail:
Is a chi chi a frozen cocktail?
Yes! The chi chi is a frozen cocktail. For this version, I blend it up with frozen chunks of pineapple and ice to make it a delish frozen summer drink.
Can I make it ahead of time?
Yes! Simply blend it all together and store the mixture in an airtight container in the freezer. Just let it thaw slightly and give it a quick stir before serving.
Can it be made into a virgin drink?
Easily! Just omit the vodka from this recipe and blend away. No need to substitute any other ingredients.
What's the best cocktail blender?
While I do not think there is one single best blender to use for cocktails, I do recommend using a high-speed blender like a Vitamix. Having that extra power for frozen cocktails helps make the drink super smooth since it easily blends up the frozen components.
Ultimately, you'll want to use whatever you have on hand, but if you want to purchase a new high-speed blender, I highly recommend anything from the Vitamix line. All of their products are super powerful. They are an investment that is well worth it. I've had mine for eight-plus years, and it still runs like it is brand new!
🎉 It's time to cook! 🎉
Alright, friend! It's your turn to make this delish recipe for your next get-together.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ When you do, please leave a comment and star rating below so we can hear what you think! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
5 Minute Chi Chi Frozen Cocktail
- Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender.
- Blend until smooth and serve in chilled cocktail glasses.
- To make a pitcher version of this frozen summer drink, increase the recipe to 12 servings!