Piña Colada

Piña Colada post image

Get that stupid song out of your head because we aren’t discussing that abomination in this one. Just get it out of your head, I’ll wait.

Done? Good. Moving on.

The Piña Colada is a tropical drink that lots of people think of when summertime rolls around and starts making everything all warm and toasty. It’s a cool and refreshing blended drink full of coconut and pineapple flavors and – being blended – ice cold and guaranteed to cool you off on a warm beach.

Piña Colada

2 oz White Rum
1.75 oz Coconut Cream
8 1-inch cubes of pineapple
1 cup crushed ice

Build in a blender and blend for 12 seconds. Pour into a goblet and garnish with pineapple and a cherry.

In 1954, the management of the Caribe Hilton in San Juan asked their bartenders at the Beachcomber Bar to create a new signature cocktail. Legend has it that one Ramon “Monchito” Marrero created the drink after a full three months of laboring under the hot sun with rum and ice. That same year, Coco Lopez coconut cream had been created at the University of Puerto Rico, which is one of the reasons that this story is often the accepted myth of the Piña Colada’s birth.

Of course, no story about a classic cocktail can ever by that simple. References can be found to drinks called the “Piña Colada” as far back as 1922. A restaurant in Puerto Rico called Barraachina claims to have invented the drink in 1963. There are even stories about a pirate having invented a drink made from pineapple, coconut, and rum in the early 19th Century.

I’m sure some have noticed that the recipe I’ve posted here is not really an According to Hoyle Piña Colada. The IBA specifies that the drink is made with equal parts rum and coconut milk and three parts pineapple juice. Who the hell wants to drink that? Imbibe Magazine has a recipe that has all equal parts rum, coconut cream, and pineapple juice. Better, but still just sort of “meh.”

The recipe I’ve posted here is pretty much cribbed from notes given to me by Marcos Tello during one of our Tiki Nights at 320 Main. It’s a better flavor and the texture of the blended pineapple is pretty awesome.  Honestly, though, I prefer Marcos’ approach: use 4 chunks of pineapple, cut the coconut cream down to an ounce, and add the juice of a single lime. Marcos had us hand-shaking the drinks. I went back to the blender – BECAUSE I CAN.

Piña Colada – RumDood’s (but mostly Marcos Tello’s) Way

2 oz White Rum
1 oz Coconut Cream
.75 oz Lime
4 1-inch chunks of Pineapple
1 cup Crushed Ice

Mix all in a blender and blend for 12 seconds. Pour into a goblet and garnish with pineapple, cherry, and a feeling of superiority over normal Piña Colada drinkers. 

There are a lot of serious rum drinkers who turn their noses up at the idea of drinking a Piña Colada. There’s no reason to do so. It’s got your two full ounces of rum in it, and if you use fresh pineapple, add a little lime juice, and use a 2:1 ratio of rum to coconut cream, the drink ends up being perfectly balanced and not too sweet.

The traditional recipe calls for pineapple juice, but this typically means most people will use canned juice. You can, of course, juice a pineapple, but who the hell has that kind of time? Just throw four decent sized chunks of pineapple into the blender and let it do all the work.

No blender? NO PROBLEM!

If you happen to be blenderless – either because you work in a bar without a blender or you have some sort of principled disagreement to the idea of using blenders for cocktails – you can still make a damned good Piña Colada. As I’ve already mentioned, Marcos Tello demonstrated that you can use the same proportions as I have listed above without a blender. Throw all of your ingredients in your tin and muddle the pineapple thoroughly. Shake that with crushed ice and then dump into a goblet and fill with fresh crushed ice. VIOLA!

Of course, if you want something a bit more “manly” or even just something more Tiki, it shouldn’t be hard to figure out where to go. Swap out the white rum for some good Navy-style rum, add a little orange juice, and dust the whole thing with cinnamon or nutmeg and you’ve got yourself a Painkiller.


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Dagreb

    July 6, 2012, 16:02


  • Rowen

    July 6, 2012, 21:20


  • Jack

    July 12, 2012, 03:53

    Thanks for the history. I always like to learn…while drinking.

  • Sunny&Rummy

    July 13, 2012, 12:54

    Piña Colada is totally acceptable to this rum drinker. And Coruba Coladas are better still! And the unblended Piña Colada, in the form of a Bahia, is a Trader Vic classic I’ll often opt for if I don’t want to dirty the blender.

    Interesting that I don’t think I have ever added lime juice to a Piña Colada. I’m a big fan of Jeff Berry’s Coconaut though, so of course that lime and coconut combination is certainly a winner.

  • Dave Cote

    July 21, 2012, 21:47

    Hey! I made an app for android that gives drink suggestions based on your bottle:) You actually take a PICTURE of your bottle of booze, and it returns a list of recipes you could make with it:)
    First of it’s kind, thought I’d post here :):)
    It’s here on Google Play:

  • Bridget from Refined Vintage

    July 28, 2012, 07:37

    This sounds like my kind of Pina Colada, I can’t wait to try it out, I like the use of fresh pineapple instead of juice, it sounds delicious. Thanks for sharing!

  • David Herpin

    July 30, 2012, 07:59

    try straining over crushed ice, it keeps it colder, longer, rather than just dumping it out of the tin. The pina colada dates between 1907 – 1911, and was originally a virgin drink. It’s origins are in cuba and it literally translates to cold strained pineapple. Please stop reading wikipedia, wondrich, regan, or haigh blogs, don’t even believe me; research it for yourself. http://www.examiner.com/article/pina-colada

  • Colleen

    August 3, 2012, 00:11

    I don’t have a blender because I’m a thrift-addicted cheapskate who just hasn’t found her $5 Vitamix yet- can’t wait to try this shaken, pineapple chunk version! And, I just really like pineapple bits… I’m going out for coconut milk and a piney first thing tomorrow!

  • Matt Robold

    August 3, 2012, 07:53

    I’d caution against the coconut milk. You really want coconut cream like Coco Lopez or Coco Real. 😉

  • JFL

    August 10, 2012, 05:23

    I tried this last night and I really do love the pineapple chunks. I do recommend a splash of Jamaican dark or amber in the mix, probably 1 oz Cruzan white to 1 oz Appleton V/X.

    Very good though thanks for sharing!