Refreshing Pineapple and Coconut Drink from Uganda

It was a baking hot day in a town called Jinja, Uganda. We were coming to an end of our fantastic trip to Uganda and Rwanda (visiting mountain gorilla, white water rafting, going on wild game safaris and more). We had a group of people and we were all pretty exhausted in the heat, being from Iceland we are not used to that sort of heat and humidity you experience on a hot day in Africa! We were at this place called Ginger, just at the source of Nile (where Lake Victoria becomes the river Nile). The food we ate was great and everyone tucked in, hungry after a long drive. We knew we had to fill up since we were on our way to Entebbe via Kampala to catch our flight back home. I noticed something on the menu called Tropical Cooler and being so sweaty and hot I decided to go for it. As soon as my drink arrived, the others at the table ordered one too, it looked so refreshing and cool and indeed it was. The Tropical Cooler contained crushed ice, pineapple (in Uganda you get the best pineapple in the world) and coconut water. The drink is very healthy since coconut water is a natural isotonic beverage, with the same level of electrolytic balance as we have in our blood! It is more nutritious than whole milk, has less fat and no cholesterol. Coconut water also contains more potassium (at about 294 mg) than most sports drinks (117 mg) and most energy drinks. You can understand why I was so refreshed from drinking the Tropical much so that my fellow travellers had to have one too! The pineapple is also wonderfully healthy and is particularly good for your digestive system.

The drink is slightly thicker than juice although not as thick as a smoothie. It is very important that you use a very ripe pineapple for this drink although if it is not sufficiently ripe you can add a little agave nectar or honey.

This drink reminds me so much of a very hot and sweaty day in Uganda

This recipe is:

  • Egg free
  • Gluten free
  • Lactose (dairy) free
  • Nut free
  • Vegan

Refreshing Pineapple and Coconut Drink from Uganda

Serves 2 people


  • 100 grams pineapple, very ripe
  • 330 millilitres coconut water
  • A large handful of ice cubes
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar


  1. Place the large handful of ice cubes in a blender or food processor.
  2. Pour 50 millilitres of the coconut water on top of the ice cubes.
  3. Next peel the pineapple. Place it base side down and carefully slice off the skin, carving out any remaining hard "eyes" with the tip of your knife. Then cut the pineapple into quarters, remove the core (hard part in the middle) and cut the 100 grams pineapple into large chunks.
  4. Transfer the pineapple to the blender along with 100 millilitres coconut water. Blend for 10 seconds.
  5. Add the remaining 180 millilitres coconut water and the 1 tablespoon agave nectar. Blend for 10 seconds.
  6. Add more agave nectar if you prefer a sweeter smoothie.
  7. Serve immediately.
  8. Add more ice cubes if preferred.


  •  You can use maple syrup or acacia honey instead of the agave nectar.
  • You will find the coconut water (from young coconuts) in most health food stores and even in larger supermarkets. They are usually packed in juice boxes.
  • You can use tinned pineapple, just make sure it is organic and in it's own juice (not syrup).
  • If you prefer to leave out the pineapple bits you can run the pineapple through a juicer.