Fassionola is a cocktail syrup made from a blend of tropical fruits. It’s a fairly rare syrup to see today, but it was once a common ingredient in the mixed drinks of tiki bars like Don the Beachcomber.
The tiki genre is known for tropical rum-based cocktails made with unusual syrups, exotic fruits, and ‘secret blend’ mixers.
Passion fruit forward
Because of the mysterious nature of these complex cocktails, it’s not a big surprise that fassionola’s exact ingredient list has been lost to time.
But we do know that it was made with passion fruit, and it was most often bright red in color (although there were green and gold varieties, too).
There are a few fassionola recipes out there, but none that are particularly quick or easy. From long ingredient lists to long prep times, none of the recipes I came across were very accessible, so I decided to make my own.
Easy to make any time of year
After consolidating all of the information I could find on the subject, I took a look at what the fassionola recipes had in common.
From there I made a simplified ingredients list with just a handful of items that are easy to find year round.
The fun thing about this syrup is that because there isn’t one true recipe, you can adjust it based on what’s available or in season at the moment.
As long as it tastes like a tropical fruit punch concentrate when you’re done, you’ve made it correctly!
The original red Hurricane cocktail
With a base flavor of passion fruit, fassionola is known for its role in classic but somewhat forgotten tiki drinks like the Cobra’s Fang, QB Cooler, and the Pi Yi.
Some say that it was used in the original Hurricane, and that would explain why many versions of the simple rum, lemon, and passion fruit drink are bright red.
Simply swap out the passion fruit syrup for fassionola and you have a delicious red Hurricane (and without any artificial colors or flavors). Get the Hurricane recipe.
While classic recipes like the Cobra’s Fang use just a small amount of fassionola to add complexity of flavor, I like to make it the star ingredient in drinks like my Fassionola Daiquiri or a simple non-alcoholic Fassionola Soda.
Fassionola Soda is a fantastic summer drink that everyone can enjoy, and it’s so much healthier than store bought fruit punch or the classic kid’s favorite, Hawaiian Punch.
Because this syrup uses a lot of real passion fruit, it’s both sweet and sour. The tartness offsets all the sweet, making it taste very well-balanced when mixed with just sparkling water.
Easy fassionola ingredients:
- Passion fruit
- Pineapple juice
- Hibiscus flowers tea bag (optional)
Fresh or frozen fruit
I wanted this syrup to be easy to make year round. And the great thing about frozen fruit is that it’s easy to find and will taste great even in the dead of winter (when fresh strawberries and blueberries from the store are sour and not very flavorful).
Passion fruit is the star of this syrup, but it isn’t always easy to find fresh. After a little research, I found that frozen passion fruit pulp is readily available at health food stores like Whole Foods.
I picked up a bag of frozen seedless passion fruit and it made it so easy to get the passion fruit flavor without any work scooping the fruits.
Hibiscus flowers are commonly sold in tea bags and they make a bright red, tart, and slightly sweet tea. If you have them, add a tea bag to the syrup when it’s on the stove.
If you don’t have any, you can skip this ingredient. I made versions with and without it, and it was still very flavorful (and very red) without the hibiscus.
I have found from making other syrups with pineapple that if the syrup is cooked, fresh vs. canned juice doesn’t seem to make a big difference in the end product.
For this reason, I opted to use the very convenient unsweetened Dole canned pineapple juice that I often keep stocked in my pantry. If you have fresh pineapple and can press the juice yourself, go for it.
As long as you use some berries, some real passion fruit, and a tropical fruit like pineapple, you’re going to have a great syrup.
I highly recommend pineapple because it adds dimension to the tropical flavor, but you could also add mango or guava.
Many sources say that fassionola was a variation of, or was inspired by the passion fruit, orange, and guava juice blend popular in Hawaii (“POG” juice).
Guava is an ingredient I can’t get very easily, so I’ve omitted it here. But if you can get it, definitely add some the mix for even more amazing tropical flavor!
This recipe is flexible. The measurements I used are a starting point but not set in stone.
Add some guava or some blackberries or some kiwi – whatever fruits you like. Just avoid melons as they don’t do well with the heat involved in making this syrup.
How to make the syrup
The most important part of making this syrup is to be careful not to scorch it when it’s on the stove top.
Because there’s a lot of fruit and not a lot of water, it should be heated gently so that things come together but nothing starts to burn.
The first time I made this, I didn’t pay close enough attention to how hot the burner was, and I ended up with a burnt pineapple juice flavor.
After that mistake, I kept the heat on low, added a small amount of water, and cut back the amount of pineapple juice a little. This gave me a much better result.
Chop your strawberries and add them to a small saucepan. Add the blueberries and use a muddler or spoon to gently break up some of the berries.
Now add the frozen passion fruit, pineapple juice, and water and set the heat to low.
Once the passion fruit has fully melted, add the sugar and stir frequently until all of the sugar has dissolved. Let the mixture simmer, but do not boil it.
Continue to stir frequently. After 5-10 minutes, or when the berries just begin to break down, remove the syrup from the heat. Allow it to cool fully before straining using a fine mesh strainer.
Store the syrup in a closed container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. You can also add an ounce of vodka or grain alcohol to the syrup to help it last longer.
Drinks that use fassionola:
Fassionola Syrup Recipe
- 1 cup strawberries
- ½ cup blueberries
- ½ cup passion fruit pulp
- ¼ cup pineapple juice
- ¼ cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 hibiscus tea bag (optional)
- Chop the strawberries and add them to a small saucepan. Add the blueberries and use a muddler or spoon to gently break up some of the berries.
- Now add the frozen passion fruit, pineapple juice, and water and set the heat to low. Stir frequently.
- Once the passion fruit has fully melted, add the sugar and continue to stir frequently until all of the sugar has dissolved. Allow the mixture to lightly simmer, but do not let it boil.
- Continue stirring at regular intervals. After 5-10 minutes, when the strawberries just start to soften, remove the syrup from the heat.
- Allow the syrup to cool fully before straining using a fine mesh strainer.
- Store the syrup in a closed container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. You can add an ounce of vodka or grain alcohol to the syrup to help it last longer.