Piña Colada

This post contains affiliate links. See our disclosure policy here.

Cocktail History

The Piña Colada is a blended tropical cocktail, the creation of which is most often credited to Ramón “Monchito” Marrero of the Caribe Hilton’s bar in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1954. The drink was originally based on a Cuban recipe for a refreshing pineapple slushy called the Piña Fria and, after the addition of coconut, went on to become a staple when it was mentioned in not one but two hit songs in the late 1970s. It has since stayed on many restaurant and bar menus from the “cocktail dark ages” to today.

Cocktail Ingredients

To make this cocktail, you’ll need the following ingredients:

White Rum: This is the base spirit. We used BACARDÍ Superior White Rum for its soft and sweet taste that pairs well with fruity ingredients without overpowering them.

Pineapple Juice: This adds sweet and fruity pineapple flavor. We prefer fresh pineapple juice, but you can substitute canned juice if that’s easier than juicing an entire pineapple.

Cream of Coconut: This is a thick cream made from coconut milk. We used Coco Lopez Cream of Coconut for its rich flavor and silky texture.

Coconut Milk: This is a thin, milky liquid made extracted from the pulp of coconuts. We used So Delicious Dairy Free Coconut Milk for its smooth texture and light taste.

Lime Juice: This adds sour citrus flavors that balance out the other ingredients. We used fresh citrus juice because it’s less bitter than the bottled stuff and tastes better.

Pineapple Wedge: This is the garnish. It adds fresh pineapple aroma and flavor.

Tasting Notes

The classic Piña Colada begins with sweet aromas of coconut and pineapple and leads into a very balanced flavor of both, offset just a bit by the tart lime, before finishing with a slight coconut nuttiness.

Our Opinion of This Cocktail Recipe: Now to answer the ultimate question… Do we, in fact, like Piña Coladas? It’s hard to mess up such a simple combination of good flavors, so yes, we did both enjoy it. But honestly, we were left a bit wanting. After trying so many complex tiki recipes recently, we realized that the Piña Colada is on restaurant menus for a reason: it offers little surprise or nuance. We’d definitely make it again, just probably with some bitters, an aged rum, or even a bourbon or rye split base to dress it up.

Alex’s Take: ⭐⭐
“This quintessential coconut drink certainly does live up to its fame, as the frozen blend of pineapple and coconut flavors is inoffensive and goes down very easily. From a cocktail enthusiast’s perspective though, the drink is pretty uninteresting. It’s easy to see why this is on the drink menu at every Cheesecake Factory, Applebee’s, and Chili’s you can find. I would maybe try spicing it up with other ingredients if we made it again.”

Kendall’s Take: ⭐⭐
“Like Alex said, I understand why this cocktail is on every mid-level chain restaurant’s drink menu now. It tastes like coconut, and that’s about it, which means it’s very likely to appeal to the masses. After trying so many unique tiki cocktails first though, I found the Piña Colada to be surprisingly boring. Maybe if it had been my gateway to tiki like it is for most people I would’ve liked it, but I much prefer Alex’s Greena Colada to this one.

Recipe

This cocktail recipe was adapted from The Essential Cocktail Book: The Complete Guide to Modern Drinks by the editors of PUNCH and Megan Krigbaum.

AuthorThe Essential Cocktail BookPrep Time5 minsRating

Ingredients
 2 oz White Rum
 1 oz Pineapple Juice
 1 oz Cream of Coconut
 1 oz Coconut Milk
 ½ oz Lime Juice
 3 Pineapple Fronds
 1 Pineapple Wedge

Method
1

Add rum, pineapple juice, cream of coconut, coconut milk, lime juice, and ice to a blender.

2

Blend until desired texture.

3

Pour into a hurricane glass.

4

Garnish with pineapple fronds and wedge.

Ingredients

Ingredients
 2 oz White Rum
 1 oz Pineapple Juice
 1 oz Cream of Coconut
 1 oz Coconut Milk
 ½ oz Lime Juice
 3 Pineapple Fronds
 1 Pineapple Wedge

Directions

Method
1

Add rum, pineapple juice, cream of coconut, coconut milk, lime juice, and ice to a blender.

2

Blend until desired texture.

3

Pour into a hurricane glass.

4

Garnish with pineapple fronds and wedge.

Piña Colada

Tools & Glassware We Recommend

More Tropical Cocktails

If you like this tropical cocktail recipe, here are a few others we’ve tried that you may enjoy:

Ginger Inferno: A rum cocktail made with ginger liqueur, velvet falernum liqueur, lime juice, lemon juice, cinnamon syrup, a lime slice, and candied ginger

Staycation: A rum and whiskey cocktail made with lemon juice, coconut cream, apricot liqueur, passion fruit syrup, a lemon slice, and mint

Elusive Dreams: A rum cocktail made with pineapple juice, lime juice, cinnamon syrup, banana liqueur, and a pineapple wedge

Iron Ranger (Variation): A whiskey cocktail made with pineapple juice, lemon juice, velvet falernum liqueur, cinnamon syrup, Angostura aromatic bitters, mint, and a cinnamon stick

Leave a comment