The original Puerto Rican mid century Piña Colada has hints of pineapple, coconut and rum. It's light and refreshing without being overly sweet.
The Original Piña Colada is Still the Best
This drink is often included in Tiki drinks lists, and with good reason. The coconut cream and pineapple juice give it a wonderful, tropical taste. It is one of my personal favorites -- when made properly. Unfortunately, this drink became a victim of bottled mixes, and the quality of the drink dropped as its popularity soared at party hotspots in 1970's.
The name Piña Colada is Spanish for 'strained pineapple.' Legend has it that a Caribbean pirate mixed coconut, pineapple and rum for his crew to drink in between raids. After his capture and death, the recipe was lost.
With the invention of an easy way to extract the creamy syrup from coconuts in the early 1950's, the stage was set for this drink's (re)invention. In 1954, the Caribe Hilton in San Juan was looking for a signature cocktail, and tasked one it's barmen, Ramon 'Monchito' Marrero, to experiment with local ingredients. As a result, he created the drink we know today. And in 1978, It was declared the official drink of Puerto Rico!
This cocktail became very popular in the '50's and '60's, but became a victim of its own success by the '70's and was often made using a sickly sweet mix. Then came the Rupert Holmes song, Escape (The Piña Colada Song) which turned it into an overexposed party drink. It fell out of favor by the '80's, but has made a comeback lately as have Tiki drinks in general. I prefer the original recipe because it's simple and clean and not overly sweet.
4 Simple Ingredients
Like a lot of Tiki drinks, this is easy to make while looking very impressive. Aside from ice, all you need is:
- Light rum
- Cream of coconut
- Pineapple juice
- Heavy whipping cream
And that's it! (Although if you're serving it to guests, you may want to add a slice of pineapple and a cherry to the rim for a stunning presentation.)
Tips for a Successful Piña Colada
Keep these things in mind for this frozen treat:
- Use fresh juice whenever possible. The pineapple juice is naturally sweet and compliments the light rum nicely.
- Mix with a white or light rum, because the naturally sweet finish helps balance the acidity in the pineapple juice.
- If you prefer to skip the alcohol, leave out the rum and you'll have a Virgin Colada. So go ahead and try one any time of day -- there's no excuse not to, now!
Frequently Asked Questions
Light rum is the main spirit used to make a Piña Colada.
There are a few origin stories for this drink, but most agree that it was made in San Juan, Puerto Rico at the Caribe Hilton in the early 1950's.
Not necessarily. Many folks like to use a shaker rather than a blender, which is fine. Just remember to shake for at least 30 seconds to ensure it is properly chilled and aerated.
This drink is so celebrated that has it's own holiday! The United States celebrates National Piña Colada Day on July 10, so mark your calendar. But you don't need to wait for a special occasion to have one!
If you're having a Tiki themed night, you need to try this baked coconut shrimp which can be served as an appetizer or main course. And here are some other tropical cocktails to go along with it:
E hele kāua!Print
This tropical 1950's original recipe never needed any 'improvements'. It is a perfect blend of rum and coconut sweetness without any of the syrup-y taste of the mixes.
2 cups fresh ice
2 ounces white rum
1 ounce coconut cream
1 ounce heavy whipping cream
6 ounces fresh pineapple juice
- Place all ingredients in a blender and pulse or mix until evenly blended
- Pour into a hurricane glass
- Add a wedge of fresh pineapple and cherry for garnish
If you prefer to skip the alcohol, leave out the rum and serve as a Virgin Colada
If you don't feel like blending, you can use a cocktail shaker to mix this drink--just remember to shake for at least 30 seconds to ensure it is properly chilled and aerated
Keywords: tiki cocktails, pina colada, rum drinks, Puerto Rican drinks, 1950's cocktails, pineapple cocktails, coconut cocktails, virgin colada