Pago Pago Cocktail Recipe

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Pago Pago Cocktail Nutrition Facts






Created by

Nic Polotnianko

I fell in love with the art of mixology 6 years ago. Since then, I've honed my skills, crafting a myriad of cocktail recipes, and sharing my passion with other enthusiasts.

Last Updated: January 16, 2024


The Pago Pago Cocktail is a classic that dates back to at least the 1940s. It's a tropical drink that was likely inspired by the exotic flavors of the South Pacific.

  • Origins: The exact origins are a bit murky, but it's believed to have been created by an American bartender.
  • Popularity: This cocktail might appeal to those who enjoy a balance of sweet and herbal notes, with a touch of chocolate.
  • Evolution: Over the years, the Pago Pago has seen variations in the rum used and the balance of ingredients.

How Pago Pago Cocktail Tastes?

The Pago Pago Cocktail is a delightful mix of flavors. It's sweet from the pineapple and crème de cacao, slightly herbal from the green Chartreuse, and has a refreshing citrus tang from the lime juice. The gold rum provides a smooth, rich base.

Interesting facts about Pago Pago Cocktail

  • The name 'Pago Pago' is derived from the capital of American Samoa, a tropical island in the South Pacific.
  • Green Chartreuse is a French herbal liqueur that's been made by Carthusian Monks since the 1740s.
  • The cocktail is sometimes mistakenly spelled as 'Pogo Pogo'.


  • Gold puerto rican rum: 1.5 oz(45ml)
  • Fresh pineapple: 1 oz(30ml)
  • Fresh lime juice: 0.5 oz(15ml)
  • Green chartreuse: 0.5 oz(15ml)
  • White crème de cacao: 0.25 oz(8ml)

Gold Puerto Rican Rum

The 1.5oz of gold Puerto Rican rum is the soul of the cocktail, providing a smooth and slightly spicy base. If there's too little, you'll miss the party in your mouth; too much, and it's a hangover waiting to happen. If gold rum is scarce, try a dark rum for a deeper taste, but be careful not to let it bully the other ingredients.

Mary Mitkina

Fresh Pineapple

Why 1oz of fresh pineapple? Simple - it's the tropical sunshine in your glass. Any less and you'll be asking where the vacation vibes went; any more and you're in a smoothie bar, not a cocktail lounge. Canned pineapple could pinch-hit, but don't expect the same fresh zip.

Emma Rose

Fresh Lime Juice

With 0.5oz of fresh lime juice, we're adding a citric high-five to balance the sweet. Neglect the lime and it's like going on a beach holiday without sunglasses - something's definitely missing. Bottled juice can fill in, but it's like kissing through a window - you're missing the zesty spark.

Alex Green

Green Chartreuse

0.5oz of green Chartreuse whispers herbal enchantments into the mix. Skip it and your cocktail will feel like it's missing a secret ingredient. No Chartreuse? Consider a dash of another herbal liqueur, but it's like replacing Gandalf with another wizard - similar, but the magic's just not the same.

Mary Mitkina

White crème de cacao

And lastly, 0.25oz of white crème de cacao is just enough to add a hint of vanilla-chocolate without turning your cocktail into a candy bar. More, and you're at Willy Wonka's; less, and why bother? If out of stock, a dash of vanilla extract could sneak in, but it's a soft whisper compared to chocolate's declaration of love.

Emma Rose

Recipe. How to make Pago Pago Cocktail Drink

  1. Muddle the Pineapple: In a cocktail shaker, muddle the fresh pineapple squares to release their juice.
  2. Mix Ingredients: Add the fresh lime juice, green Chartreuse, and white crème de cacao to the shaker.
  3. Add Rum: Pour in the gold Puerto Rican rum.
  4. Shake: Fill the shaker with ice and shake vigorously until well-chilled.
  5. Strain: Strain the mixture into a chilled cocktail glass. For a smoother drink, double-strain through a fine mesh strainer.
  6. Garnish: Optionally, garnish with a pineapple wedge or lime wheel.

Pro Tips

  • Chill Your Glass: Always start with a chilled cocktail glass to keep your drink cool.
  • Fresh Ingredients: Use fresh pineapple and lime juice for the best flavor.
  • Balance: Adjust the sweetness by adding more or less crème de cacao, depending on your taste.

Perfect Pairings

Food Pairings

  • Tropical Fruit Plates: The fresh pineapple in the cocktail will beautifully complement other tropical fruits like mango, papaya, or kiwi.
  • Spicy Appetizers: The sweetness and herby notes of the cocktail can offset the heat in spicy dishes like jalapeño poppers or spicy shrimp.
  • Grilled Chicken or Fish: The rum and pineapple offer a nice counterpart to the smoky flavors of grilled meats and seafood.
  • Cheese Boards: A selection of cheeses, particularly those that are mild and creamy like brie, can provide a nice balance to the cocktail's sweetness.
  • Chocolate Desserts: The hint of crème de cacao in the drink pairs well with chocolate-based desserts, enhancing the cocoa notes.

Drink Pairings

  • Sparkling Water: To cleanse the palate between sips of the cocktail.
  • Iced Green Tea: Its subtle bitterness and aromatic qualities can be a refreshing counterpoint to the cocktail's richness.

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What you could change in Pago Pago Cocktail

  • Rum: If you don't have gold Puerto Rican rum, a good quality aged rum will suffice.
  • Green Chartreuse: There's no perfect substitute for its unique flavor, but in a pinch, you could try a different herbal liqueur.
  • Crème de Cacao: If you don't have white crème de cacao, you can use a dark one, but it will slightly change the color of the cocktail.

Explore all drinks starting with P here

And of course - twists🍹

Pineapple Express Twist

  • Substitute Gold Rum with Coconut Rum: Use 1.5oz of coconut rum for a tropical twist.
  • Recipe Change: Follow the original recipe but expect a creamy coconut breeze to play with the pineapple.
  • Taste Difference: This twist will lead to a more pronounced tropical profile with a velvety coconut finish.

Chartreuse Garden Party

  • Double the Chartreuse: Increase the green Chartreuse to 1oz for a herby kick.
  • Recipe Change: Same as original, just with the Chartreuse turned up.
  • Taste Difference: Your cocktail will now showcase a more botanical and complex herbaceousness, perfect for those who love a green fairy's whisper in their drink.

Chocolate Lovers' Delight

  • Increase crème de cacao: Up to 0.5oz if you're brave and sweet-toothed.
  • Recipe Change: Keep all else the same, and let the chocolate sing louder.
  • Taste Difference: It becomes a dessert cocktail, with the sweet chocolatey notes melding with the rum's warmth, like a cozy blanket on a chilly evening.

In case you forgot basics how to make Pago Pago Cocktail

Add your ingredients to the shaker first, then ice. Fill it up to ¾ of its capacity to ensure enough space for shaking. Hold the shaker with both hands (one on the top and one on the bottom) and shake vigorously. The shake should come from your shoulders, not your wrists.

Learn everything on how to shake

Place your chosen strainer on top of the shaker or mixing glass, ensuring a secure fit. Pour the cocktail into a glass through the strainer, which will catch solid ingredients and ice. If double straining, hold the fine mesh strainer between the shaker and the glass.

Learn everything on how to strain

The key to proper muddling is to crush the ingredients just enough to release their flavors and not overdo it. Over-muddling can result in a bitter taste, especially with herbs.

Learn everything on how to muddle

Garnishing a bar drink depends on the type of garnish and the cocktail. Generally, it involves preparing the garnish (like cutting a citrus wheel or picking a sprig of mint), and then adding it to the drink in a visually appealing way (like perching it on the rim or floating it on top).

Learn everything on garnishing

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Frequently Asked Questions on Pago Pago Cocktail

Can I make the Pago Pago Cocktail in a large batch for a party?

Yes, you can scale up the recipe to serve a crowd. Combine the ingredients in a larger vessel or jug and adjust the quantities proportionally. Make sure to taste and tweak as needed.

Is there a non-alcoholic version of the Pago Pago Cocktail?

For a non-alcoholic 'mocktail' version, omit the rum and green Chartreuse. Use non-alcoholic substitutes like herbal tea or syrups for the herbal notes, and consider a splash of tonic water for some complexity.

How important is the type of ice for shaking cocktails?

The type and quality of ice can impact the dilution and temperature of your cocktail. Generally, large, dense ice cubes are preferred for shaking as they melt slower, cooling the drink adequately while minimizing dilution.

What is the proper way to muddle fruit in a cocktail?

To muddle fruit effectively, press down gently with a muddler and give it a slight twist. You want to release the juices and essential oils without completely pulverizing the fruit, which can lead to bitterness.

How does the quality of rum affect the Pago Pago Cocktail?

The quality of rum can significantly affect the taste. Higher quality rums usually have more depth and smoother flavor profiles, which enhance the overall cocktail experience.

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