Chinola plus Tajin can spice up your summer brew. | Credit: Matt Kettmann

Tart yet sweet, tropical yet citrusy, floral yet fruity, passionfruit is one of the more complex fruit flavors out there — and let’s not mention debates about how best to enjoy one. (Personally, I bite the end off like a hand grenade and suck out the innards.) 

First released in 2015 but launched nationally less than a year ago, Chinola captures that complexity in a sippable liqueur, excellent just over ice or as an addition to margaritas, bubby, or even beer. The name, pronounced “chee-noh-lah, is what the fruit is called in the Dominican Republic, the Caribbean island country that grows everything used in the liqueur. Each bottle contains six large passionfruits, specifically a unique hybrid variety crossed from California and Honduras cuttings. They’re all grown by individual farmers on the Samaná peninsula along the northern edge of the country, and then the juice is rounded out with sugar cane and rum also grown in the D.R.

We’ve been enjoying it on the rocks, but I recently decided to try a sort of fruity West Coast michelada. I salted the rim of a pint glass with Tajin, cracked open a Topa Topa Dos Topas Lager, poured it over ice, tossed in a slug of Chinola, and stirred. It went down a little too fast. That’s my only Chinola complaint — it should come in a bigger bottle. 


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