Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, you say? Notice that it’s only the pursuit of happiness we’re guaranteed, not the finding or attainment.
In the 1940 film The Blue Bird (starring Shirley Temple, speaking of drinks), the bird in question is given as a selfless gift, and then escapes. The moral being that the bluebird of happiness is always to be pursued, not captured. And from the 1934 song,
be like I, hold your head up high,
’til you see a ray of light and cheer
and so remember this, life is no abyss
somewhere there’s a bluebird of happiness
–Bluebird of Happiness, Harmati & Heyman
All this to say, September 24 (that’s this coming Monday) has become known as the National Bluebird of Happiness Day. Now, you can take that as a challenge to always look for the silver lining, to keep optimistic as the days get shorter and the weather turns brisk (which is a plus in my book), or to go out of your way to spread a little happiness for someone else; essentially being a bluebird of happiness yourself!
And if you’re into old movies but not feeling the Shirley Temple vibe, watch Hitchcock’s The Birds, instead. I’m certainly not going to judge what makes you happy.
Part of what makes me happy, of course, is creating fun cocktails for any and all reasons. Historically, there is a cocktail known as the Blue Bird, using either gin or vodka, triple sec (ptoo!) or curacao, and bitters. I suppose gin would make sense for the era (Vodka didn’t get a good foothold in the US until mid-century, after all), but my thought process was veering a bit more tropical, plus I’ve been wanting to use this new Denizen Aged White Rum from Holland (look for a full review forthcoming), so rum and blue curacao (of course) means pineapple isn’t very far behind. Then I decided to try and see what the difference would be between pineapple juice and pineapple soda. Just because.
Pursuit of Happiness
2 oz Pineapple Juice
1 oz Aged White Rum (like Denizen)
3/4 oz Blue Curacao
garnish of a slice of Pineapple with or without a little bluebird pick
Combine the juice, rum, and curacao over ice and shake til you’re feeling happy. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a slice of pineapple.
Making little themed picks from a bird stamp, blue ink, and toothpicks is totally optional but fun!
So, I tried this both ways: with pineapple soda and pineapple juice. No surprise that the juice version won out, really, it’s only to be expected. The soda just didn’t have enough oomph to blend well and stand up to the two alcohols, while the juice gave the drink some body and you really got more pineapple flavor. Now, if you wanted to, I’m sure you could cut it half and half and be fine, but I was feeling more all or nothing last night.
And for those who might wonder if the Cruzan Vanilla Rum I reviewed a while back might not go lovely in this drink, it’s too sweet. I know, is that really possible? But yes. The aged white rum has depth without being harsh, the vanilla would be a bit cloying. That said, if you were inclined to combine the pineapple juice and the pineapple soda and then lace it with a bit of that Cruzan Vanilla Rum, what you would have would be more than a little reminiscent of pineapple upside down cake.
And there’s nothing wrong with that!